Illegal Immigrant Sentenced to Prison for Voting in San Antonio

While it’s not widespread, there are instances of voting by illegal immigrants, including a San Antonio man who Thursday was sent to prison for a long time, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

Enrique Salazar, 63, was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for identity theft.

United States Attorney John Bash says there are voting laws for a reason, and they take cases seriously.

“Illegally voting is the equivalent of suppressing someone else’s vote because when you cast a vote that shouldn’t have been in that tally, that means someone else’s vote is offset and essentially doesn’t count anymore.”

And while one vote would not sway the outcome of the election, he says voter integrity is important.

The case started as passport fraud, but expanded to include allegations that Salazar, who is an undocumented migrant who lives in Elmendorf,illegally voted in two elections.

In court papers obtained by 1200 WOAI news, Salazar's application for a new passport raised red flags at the Department of State because the social security number was obtained later in life, which is rare.  He was trying to use a passport that belonged to Jesse H. Vargas Jr.

"Additionally it was found that there are two people with the same identifying information, but substantially different appearances," the federal complaint reads.

Federal agents were able to track down Vargas Jr's sister in Florida, who said her brother currently lives in Arizona, not Texas.  It's unclear, though, if there is any link between Salazar and Vargas Jr.

As in the investigation continued, it was discovered that Salazar, allegedly using an illegally obtained U.S. Passport, registered to vote in Bexar County.

"He voted in a Democratic primary in 2008," Bexar Elections Coordinator Jacque Callanan says.  "He has not voted in a primary since then.

"She says Salazar was then able to vote in 2016 Presidential election, but under state law, it's unknown who he voted for or if he voted a straight party ticket.

Because Salazar apparently had a real U.S. passport, it would not have set off any red flags at the Bexar Elections department.  

Callanan says, when they find migrants who are registered to vote, they contact them immediately, and they're given a chance to clarify their immigration status before they're booted from the voter rolls.

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