With the 2020 election less than a year away, it is impossible not to see political news and advertisements. As such, there is a good chance that you may develop meaningful thoughts about current events, candidates and ballot measures. If you are not a U.S. citizen, though, voting in any election may be disastrous. 

As a legal permanent resident, you have certain rights and responsibilities. For example, you can live and work in the United States without worrying about obtaining special permission. You cannot vote, however. On the contrary, voting is a privilege that only U.S. citizens may enjoy. 

False claim of U.S. citizenship 

When completing a Texas voter registration application, you must attest to being a citizen of the United States. If you are a legal permanent resident, you simply cannot also be a U.S. citizen. Unfortunately, falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen may have some extreme immigration and criminal consequences. Therefore, you should not register to vote until you have become a citizen of the United States. 

Voting in U.S. elections 

While registering to vote may be problematic, casting a ballot as a legal permanent resident is likely worse. The Board of Immigration Appeals has held that legal permanent residents who vote in U.S. elections are deportable. This is true whether the person intentionally voted without permission or did so unknowingly. 

A lack of waiver 

Sometimes, legal permanent residents may apply for waivers for violations of immigration law. Unfortunately, there is typically no waiver available for either falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen or for voting in U.S. elections. As such, you may have limited options if you run afoul of the law. 

While you may have strong political opinions or want to weigh in about the future of the country you call home, as a legal permanent resident, you should not vote in a U.S. election. If you have registered to vote or voted in a previous election, you must understand the potential consequences of your actions.