Mexican Man Illegally Voted in Texas for More Than 20 Years
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – October 29, 2018
An undocumented Mexican immigrant who lives in a San Antonio suburb pleaded guilty last Thursday to charges of fraud and identity theft, admitting he used a stolen identity to vote in several elections, the San Antonio Express News reported.
On October 25, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted:
ANOTHER Vote Fraud conviction. An illegal immigrant in the San Antonio area pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of fraud & identity theft, admitting he used a stolen identity to vote in several elections. Thanks to federal officials for this. #tcot #PJNET https://t.co/EZEGBRz9HS— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 25, 2018
According to the plea agreement, Enrique Salazar Ortiz, 63, had voted using the name of former San Antonio resident Jesse H. Vargas Jr.
Bexar County elections administrator Jacque Callanen said Thursday that the records show a man with Vargas’ name and date of birth voted in every general election for the past 24 years.
“He’s been voting since at least 1994,” Callanen said. “Vargas” also voted in the 2008 Democratic primary, she added.
Salazar’s scheme was discovered by the State Department when he mailed an application in December 2016 to renew a passport he had been using over the prior 10 years, court documents say. A fraud prevention manager referred the application to the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service because the Social Security number being used had been issued later in life, which is unusual, a criminal complaint affidavit said.
During the investigation, agents determined there were two people with the same name and date of birth but with different appearances, including the real Vargas, who had previously lived in San Antonio.
Ortiz pleaded guilty to making a false statement in a passport application, voter fraud, and aggravated identity theft during a hearing before U.S. District Judge Fred Biery on Thursday, when he admitted he was born in Veracruz, Mexico and is not a legal citizen, Guillermo Contreras of San Antonio Express-News wrote.
The News reports that Ortiz, who is married to a U.S. citizen and has a daughter, faces up to a decade in prison, with a minimum of two years for the aggravated identity theft charge.
As part of the deal, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Moore will dismiss two other charges, including false representation of U.S. citizenship and being an alien in unlawful possession of a firearm.
Salazar told U.S. District Judge Fred Biery that he was born in Veracruz, Mexico and did not have legal documents to be in the United States.
Ortiz plead guilty to his crimes the same week San Francisco announced noncitizens can now vote in local school board elections, including those who are in the country illegally. Other places, including Takoma Park and Hyattsville City in Maryland, as well as Amherst and Cambridge, Massachusetts allow noncitizens to vote as well, the Los Angeles Times reports.
And while illegal immigrants can legally vote in some local elections, illegal voting in federal elections isn’t uncommon, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
“For example, in East Chicago, Indiana, a city with 30,000 residents, voting fraud was so systemic in 2003 that the State Supreme Court ordered a new election with heightened verification. When unlawful voters were prohibited from casting a ballot the outcome of the election changed,” FAIR reports.