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Illinois Immigrant Cleared to Stay After Voting by Mistake

A federal appeals court has cleared a Filipino immigrant of wrongdoing for registering to vote while getting her driver's license and then casting a ballot, ending her battle of nearly 10 years to remain in the United States.

In 2006, Mrs. Keathley registered to vote while getting her driver's license, which is allowed through the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the "motor voter" law.

Mrs. Keathley was not aware that she could not vote because she was not a citizen of United States. She simply assumed that since she had her voter registration card she could vote and so she did. It was not until her Citizenship interview that a USCIS officer informed her that she voted illegally and denied her citizenship and took away her Green Card. Homeland Security sued Mrs. Keathley and she was put in deportation proceedings.

For many year Mrs. Keathley fought for her right to stay in U.S. where her husband and child, both US citizens, lived. Finally this year her appeal was approved by the Judge of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and her Green Card was reinstated. Mrs. Keathley’s attorney made a valid argument regarding the motor voter law “If someone comes into the DMV wearing a T-shirt that says 'I'm not a U.S. citizen,' would they still be asked to vote?" said Hanus. "The answer is yes."