For a “non-existent” problem, non-citizen voting is becoming a regular occurrence in Texas. In the past two weeks:

  • A Salvadoran national who entered the U.S. illegally was indicted on multiple counts of voter fraud. Prosecutors say Mario Obdulio Orellana registered to vote as a U.S. citizen and voted in the November 2016 election.
  • A non-citizen was indicted for marking a ballot without a voter’s consent. Marcela Gutierrez allegedly led a voter to believe she was demonstrating how to use a voting machine while actually casting votes for a slate of candidates she was paid to support.
  • Following last year’s prosecution of Mexican national Rosa Ortega, who illegally voted in Texas for over 10 years, the latest cases expose what the state Attorney General’s Office calls a “lack of safeguards in the system to detect ineligible voters, like non-citizens.”

While the Left persists in dismissing such fraudulent behavior as a mythological urban legend, officials in Texas, home to the nation’s second biggest population of legal and illegal aliens, say the state makes it easy for non-citizens to vote.

“We depend on the self-reporting of the individual,” observed state Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury. “That is a significant problem.”

The American Civil Rights Union, represented by the Public Interest Legal Foundation [PILF], has sued Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley for violating the National Voter Registration Act [NVRA], alleging that Starr’s voter rolls “contain more voters registered to vote than there are citizens eligible to vote residing in the county.”

Starr District Attorney Omar Escobar confirmed that non-U.S. citizens are on the voter lists there. The only question is how many.

“That non-citizens are registered to vote is beyond question,” Escobar said. “That non-citizens are voting in Starr County is also beyond question.”

A survey of four other Texas counties found that 165 unlawfully registered non-citizens were removed from those counties’ voter rolls in the past two years – but only after they self-identified as non-citizens in the process of recusing themselves from jury duty. Those non-citizens had cast 100 illegal votes.

Investigators from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office determined that “the process for removing ineligible voters who self-report as non-citizens at jury duty is not being followed correctly, or even at all, in various counties.”

Pressing for answers and accountability, PILF has sent NVRA violation notices to Bexar County [San Antonio] and Harris County [Houston] officials who are concealing records of non-citizens registering to vote. If those officials keep denying access to public voter registration records, they too will face federal lawsuits.

“We may be seeing an emerging trend demonstrating how legal and illegal immigrants interact with the voter registration and election systems,” said PILF spokesman Logan Churchwell.

“Whereas legal immigrants are often invited to participate by government employees through the Motor Voter program or sloppy third-party drives, illegal immigrants may be more self-motivated to register for identification purposes.”

“Legal immigrants often take the term voter registration application literally,” Churchwell noted. “They’re saying, ‘If I wasn’t eligible to vote, why did the Department of Public Safety employee offer it and why was I approved?’”

Bob Dane is the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, 

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