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Illinois Priest Who Was Set To Become A Citizen Faces Possible Deportation For Illegal Voting

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Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter
  • A retired Illinois priest faces possible deportation after officials found he illegally voted in 2006.
  • Rev. David Boase had met the requirements to become a citizen, but had not yet taken the oath.
  • Over $5,000 has been raised to assist Boase with legal fees.

A retired Illinois priest who thought he was going to be a U.S. citizen faces possible deportation after U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) found the man had illegally voted in 2006.

Rev. David Boase, 69, legally immigrated to Illinois in 2004 to serve Episcopal churches, according to The Kansas City Star Thursday. Boase claimed he was directed by a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) supervisor to register to vote.

“After showing his UK passport as proof of identification, David was asked by a well-meaning DMV agent if he would want to register to vote,” a GoFundMe account for Boase that has raised over $5,000 to support legal fees stated. “It’s an obvious flaw in the system. David recalls being surprised, but signed the card without thinking too much about it. Later, he received a post card alerting him of his polling place. A local referendum on the ballot that year inspired him to cast that fateful vote. It wasn’t until the next day while discussing the election with a parishioner that David learned of his mistake.”

The GoFundMe page, made by friend Gordon Robertson, added that after the initial mistake, Boase “never attempted to vote again.”

He had no offenses listed in Illinois criminal records, The Star reported.

Boase held a green card and answered citizenship application questions honestly, including the fact that he voted in 2006 thinking it was fine to mention, according to Boase’s lawyer David Cox, The Star reported.

“They would need to affirmatively speak that they were U.S. citizens and 18 years old for us to pass that material along to the local registration authority,” Office of Illinois Secretary of State spokesman David Druker told The Daily Caller News Foundation over the phone.

Druker added that Boase’s situation was not impossible, but it was uncommon for confusion over voter eligibility.

Cox said he felt like the confusion over voter eligibility for immigrants happened quite a bit.

“When they are allowed to get a driver’s license, the way Motor Voter works is just kind of an automatic ‘by the way, do you want this?’ and most people will just say ‘sure, why not?'” Cox told TheDCNF in a phone interview. “They don’t know that they are not eligible and people asking them the question aren’t savvy about who is eligible and who isn’t.”

Cox agreed that paperwork when receiving a license includes the statement about citizenship, but it was easy to overlook and many immigrants might not know they are not allowed to vote.

“When he signed everything at once as part of getting his driver’s license, he was of course agreeing to the fine print, that ‘yes, I’m a citizen, and yes, I am 18,'” Cox told TheDCNF over the phone.

Boase is choosing not to fight the case and would accept voluntary departure if approved by a Kansas City immigration judge. Voluntary departures allow deportees to come back to the U.S. if the correct visas are secured, The Telegraph reported.

Motor Voter, or the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), allows eligible individuals to automatically register to vote when getting a driver’s license. The program was established to make it easier to register voters, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) wrote in its study “Safe Spaces” that the NVRA had no verification process in place to check if people were truly eligible to vote. (RELATED: Mexican Pleads Guilty For Voter Fraud Charges, Will Be Deported After Serving Time In Jail)

“If a noncitizen checks ‘Yes’ to the citizenship question in any setting, they are simply enrolled without any further verification, even if they presented a Green Card or foreign passport to identify themselves at the time of registration,” the study stated.

Boase’s immigration lawyer will see a judge Sept. 28 to ask for voluntary departure, according to KMOV4.

USCIS responded but could not comment at the moment.

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