The woman from Texas who was sentenced to eight years in prison back in 2017 for illegal voting currently faces deportation to Mexico, according to multiple reports.
The Texan woman, Rosa Maria Ortega, 40, was offered parole back December 2018, after serving a little over nine months of her eight-year sentence in prison, The Hill reported. Following her parole, Ortega spent a little under two months in the custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, before an immigration judge freed Ortega on bond in January 2020, according to USA Today.
She now faces more severe repercussions for illegally voting—deportation to Mexico.
Ortega, who was originally a Mexican native, came to the United States when she was a baby and had lived in the country legally with a green card. She had four children, who were now all teens, while she was in the United States, USA Today reported.
According to federal law, “any alien who has voted in violation of any Federal State, or local constitution provision, statute, ordinance, or regulation is deportation.”
Jean Reisz, a professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, said that an individual whose situation is similar to that of Ortega’s might have the possibility of staying in the United States for any amount of time between months to years because of the backlog in the courts. Still, ultimately, there is very little chance to escape being deported when the time is due, according to USA Today.
“There are very limited applications for relief, and a felony criminal conviction would bar you from a lot of relief. And once you have that conviction, there’s no way to get rid of it unless [it’s] vacated by a criminal judge or you are pardoned by the governor or the president,” said Reisz.
Following her conviction back in 2017, Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement addressing the voter fraud, writing, “This case shows how serious Texas is about keeping its elections secure, and the outcome sends a message that violators of the state’s election law will be prosecuted to the fullest. Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy.”
According to another news release from Paxton, it was revealed by prosecutors during her initial case in 2017 that Ortega voted illegally five times between the years 2004 and 2014.
“Prosecutors showed the jury proof that Ortega illegally registered to vote in 2002 and voted in four elections in Dallas County. The prosecutors established that when Ortega moved from Dallas County to Tarrant County in 2014 and correctly indicated she was not a U.S. citizen on her voter registration form, the county informed her in writing that she was ineligible to vote. Nevertheless, Ortega applied to vote again, this time falsely insisting she was a U.S. citizen,” the release read.