Immigration Law

Priest could face deportation from US after disclosing he mistakenly voted in 2006 election

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A retired Episcopal priest with permanent residence status who has been applying for U.S. citizenship may face deportation after disclosing that he voted in a federal midterm election in 2006.

Rev. David Boase, a native of England who lives in southern Illinois, told the Alton Telegraph that when he registered for a driver’s license at the state department of motor vehicles in 2004, a government employee asked if he wanted to vote. He said yes, not knowing that citizenship is required to vote in U.S. elections. “He did not ask if I was an American citizen and he should have,” Boase told the Telegraph.

Boase was sent a notice with polling place information, and voted on Nov. 7, 2006, because he was interested in a local ballot question, he told the newspaper.

A parishioner filled him in that this was not allowed and he didn’t vote again, Boase told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He disclosed what happened during an interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Washington Post reports. He was placed in removal proceedings in August, according to the article.

Boase, who retired four years ago, came to the United States in 2004, when he got the Alton assignment, the Telegraph reported. He has an immigration hearing scheduled for Sept. 28, and will likely ask the court for a voluntary departure, his attorney David Cox told the Post-Dispatch. That would allow Boase to apply for a visa sooner, Cox said, and he won’t have a deportation on his record.

Boase still helps out when needed with the Alton parish, and a parishioner’s son has set up a GoFundMe for the priest, the Post-Dispatch reports. Also, Boase has listed his condo for sale.

“It is a very stressful time,” he said. “But I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support from this parish, the communities of Alton and Godfrey and this whole area of Illinois.”

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