Yamileth, a lawful permanent resident and mother of a beautiful five (5) year old boy, faces removal from the United States for an innocent mistake. Yamileth entered the United States from Colombia in 2005 as the wife of a U.S. citizen. Together, Yamileth and her husband have raised their U.S. citizen son and built their business.
Yamileth, a woman who came to this country speaking very little English and with limited understanding of our laws, was completely dependent on the support and guidance of her husband. Once Yamileth became a lawful permanent resident, she received a voter registration card in the mail, issued by her husband’s political party. Despite his little knowledge of voting requirements and election laws of the United States, Yamileth’s husband, a United States citizen, born and raised in Michigan, encouraged her to register – in fact, he often stated that it was her duty and obligation to do so. Neither Yamileth nor her husband knew of the immigration consequences Yamileth would soon face.
In 2009, Yamileth filed her application for U.S. citizenship. It is and always has been her dream to be a U.S. citizen. Throughout her whole time in the United States, she has never committed a crime or been arrested. She has dutifully filed her taxes jointly with her husband and has cared for their son, taking him to school and teaching him right from wrong. She has also continued her education and enrolled in school at Palm Beach State College. But unfortunately, despite her good moral character, her application for citizenship was denied and she was placed in removal proceedings solely because she “claimed to be a U.S. citizen” when she mistakenly registered to vote.
Yamileth, like many other non-citizens during this past presidential election, received a voter registration application through the mail and believed she was eligible to vote. Why else would she receive a voter registration application in the mail – addressed to her? Yamileth believed that if this voter registration application was sent to her after she became a legal permanent resident, then it was because she was allowed to register with her newfound legal status. Her belief was further confirmed when she received a voting registration card.
At no point during the voting registration process did Yamileth or her husband receive any instruction that she had to be a citizen of the United States to vote. She was never questioned by any poll worker about her legal status or her eligibility. She never received anything in the mail explaining what the eligibility requirements were or whether she was in violation of any of these. In fact, the first time she ever learned that she was not allowed to vote was when her application for citizenship was denied due to the issue of her registering to vote.
Yamileth currently faces imminent removal. She faces returning to a country she has not called home in many years; a country she has no family ties to. Rather than exercising their discretion and simply denying her application for citizenship, USCIS and/or USDHS/ICE has taken the additional step and decided that it is worth the time, work, and resources to place this young wife and mother in removal proceedings for an innocent mistake – a lack of judgment.
After you have signed, please take a Moment to Call DHS Office of Chief Counsel in Miami, FL, Chief Counsel, Howard Marbury, (305) 400-6160; Director of ICE: John Morton, (202) 732-3000; Internal Affairs, Nicole Nava, (786) 387-8230. Say: "Hi, I am calling to ask you to exercise discretion under the John Morton memo and terminate Yamileth Hoffman's removal proceedings. Her A# is A098-444-750. Thank you very much."