Fed Appeals Court: Immigrant Who Voted Illegally Can be Deported


Weeks after the House Minority leader blasted President Donald Trump for pledging to investigate voter fraud, a federal appellate court has ruled that a Peruvian immigrant can be deported from the U.S. for illegally voting in a federal election. The decision comes on the heels of a spat between Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and the president. The California Democrat accused Trump of making false claims of election fraud and said that undermining the integrity of our voting system is “really strange.” Most Democrats in Congress agree with the former House Speaker and strongly oppose an investigation, asserting it will limit access to voting.

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of the mainstream media coverage promotes the Democrats’ inaccurate version of the facts. One news network referred to Trump’s voter fraud claims as “baseless” and simply an excuse to enact restrictive voting laws. Another wrote that “Trump’s ‘iIlegals voting’ comments are false and divisive,” calling voter fraud by undocumented immigrants “patently false.” In an editorial titled “The Latest Voter Fraud Lie,” a mainstream newspaper writes that the “baseless claims continue to get converted into policy in the form of stricter voting laws like requiring prospective voters to show a photo ID…” A multitude of similar media reports have flooded the news wires in the week’s following Trump’s meeting with congressional leaders to address the issue.

This week’s appellate court ruling provides a jolt of reality that the media has chosen to ignore. Election fraud was a significant concern in 2008 and 2010, which is why Judicial Watch launched an election integrity project in 2012. The project is a legal campaign to force cleanup of voter registration rolls as well as monitor elections. As an example of the pervasive fraud, Judicial Watch uncovered that 1,046 aliens, or residents who are not U.S. citizens, were on the voter rolls in eight Virginia counites leading up to the 2016 presidential election. If that rate of non-citizen registration held in the rest of Virginia’s counties, that would mean that about 6,500 non-citizens are registered to vote in the state. Additionally, Judicial Watch’s investigation found that 57,923 Virginians were registered to vote in at least one other state as well as 19 deceased individuals. Similar issues have been uncovered in several other states as part of Judicial Watch’s ongoing probe into election fraud.

The Latin American woman in the recent court ruling who voted illegally is hardly an isolated case. Her name is Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick and she lied about being an American citizen on an Illinois Department of Motor Vehicle form. It was that easy. Fitzpatrick, a legal U.S. resident with three kids, voted in two federal elections in 2006 and claims that she had official approval to cast a ballot after presenting her Peruvian passport and green card. An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals, the government’s highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws, determined that Fitzpatrick should be deported because non-U.S. citizens cannot vote in federal elections and can be removed from the country for doing so.

The Peruvian woman did not back down, appealing the decisions in federal court. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the two previous rulings in favor of deportation, though it acknowledged that Fitzpatrick “led a productive and otherwise-unblemished life in this country.” In its decision, the court states that the motor vehicle form sternly warns aliens not to check the U.S. citizen box and that Fitzpatrick is “literate in English and has no excuse for making that misrepresentation.” Aliens are forbidden to vote in federal elections, the ruling says, adding that “another statute provides for the removal of aliens who vote in violation of either state or federal law.” During oral argument, the appellate judges inquired whether Fitzpatrick is the kind of person the Attorney General and Department of Homeland Security want removed from the United States. “The answer was yes,” the ruling states.

Fed Appeals Court Protects “Habitual Drunkards” from Deportation


Judicial Watch

In what may seem like a bad joke, a U.S. federal appellate court has ruled that an illegal immigrant convicted of drunk-driving can’t be deported because federal immigration law discriminates against “habitual drunkards” like him.

The case involves an illegal immigrant from Mexico, Salomon Ledezma-Cosino, with at least one drunk-driving conviction, possibly more. Ledezma-Cosino has lived in the U.S. illegally since 1997 and has eight kids, five of them anchor babies born in America. He works in the construction industry and has a criminal record. Ledezma-Cosino drank about a liter of tequila every day for a decade, according to medical records cited in federal court documents, and has been diagnosed with acute alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver. This man should be the poster child for deportation yet he remains in the country and is now further protected by a federal appellate court ruling.

That’s because this particular court, the notoriously leftist 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, believes the portion of federal immigration law that should get Ledezma-Cosino removed is discriminatory. For more than five decades a law enacted by Congress has stated that illegal aliens who are not of good moral character can be deported. This includes individuals with serious felony convictions, who have participated in genocide or torture, have two or more gambling offenses or have engaged in prostitution or drug-trafficking. Those who fail to pay court-ordered child support or alimony, smuggle aliens into the U.S., vote illegally or participate in religious persecution and are deemed “habitual drunkards” are also considered to lack the sort of good moral character that can get them removed from the country.

The U.S. government is trying to deport Ledezma-Cosino under the provision that he’s a proven “habitual drunkard.” The removal case dates back to 2008, when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained the Mexican national and began removal proceedings. He appealed for relief and the government determined he didn’t qualify because he lacked good moral character as a habitual drunkard. Keep in mind that the Obama administration has issued a widespread amnesty that protects practically all illegal aliens, so it’s revealing that the government keeps trying to remove this particular man. In its ruling the appellate court blasts the federal measure that associates habitual drunkards with poor morale character, writing that it violates the equal-protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution because alcoholism is a disease. “The theory that alcoholics are blameworthy because they could simply try harder to recover is an old trope not supported by the medical literature,” the ruling states. “Rather, the inability to stop drinking is a function of the underlying ailment.”

The court further states in its decision that there is no rational basis for classifying persons afflicted by chronic alcoholism as persons who innately lack good moral character, writing that chronic acute alcoholism is itself a disease and a medically determinable physical or mental impairment. “Like any other medical condition, alcoholism is undeserving of punishment and should not be held morally offensive,” the ruling says. “Although people with alcoholism continue to face stigma, private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect. We are well past the point where it is rational to link a person’s medical disability with his moral character.”

If the Obama administration doesn’t appeal this outrageous ruling, Ledezma-Cosino, and other illegal immigrant habitual drunkards like him, can probably stay in the U.S. In the past few years Judicial Watch has reported on—and investigated—cases that illustrate individuals like Ledezma-Cosino are ticking time bombs that can cause a lot of damage. JW sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for records regarding an illegal immigrant, Carlos Martinelly-Montano, who already had multiple drunk-driving convictions when he killed a nun while driving drunk in Virginia. JW is also investigating a DHS cover-up involving an illegal immigrant with multiple drunk-driving convictions who slammed into a couple’s sports utility vehicle in New Mexico, killing their baby. He had been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) at least three times yet was spared deportation.