Nguyen's Letter Went Right By The Book…The Immigration and Nationality Act
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Regarding the furor in VDARE.COM's Saturday Forum about this allegedly "reprehensible" phrase in candidate Nguyen's famous letter:

"You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time, and you will be deported for voting without having a right to do so" . . .

let's have a reality check.

As I've explained previously in my Frequently Asked Questions page, under the definitions of the Immigration and Nationality Act in the United States Code, an "immigrant" is an alien who has become a "lawful permanent resident" (LPR) of the United States—also known as a "green card" holder.

By becoming a citizen, an LPR is technically no longer an "immigrant" in the eyes of the law.

The Immigration Act also explains the clear difference between immigrant and non-immigrant.

The bottom line is: neither immigrants nor non-immigrants can vote in the United States. Only United States citizens can do so legally.

So what's the problem with the Nguyen letter? Politics is politics. But the legal definition of an "immigrant" is clear. It's an LPR—a lawful permanent resident of the United States

And an immigrant, lawful permanent resident of the United States—has no business voting in United States elections. Period. End of story.

Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that "The term "immigrant" means every alien except an alien who is within one of the following classes of nonimmigrant aliens . . ."

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explains the distinctions as follows:

"Permanent Resident Alien - an alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the United States."

So under the legal definitions commonly accepted in the federal immigration bureaucracy, an "immigrant" is a lawful permanent resident of the United States—but not a citizen.

And LPRs aren't allowed to vote.

There's nothing "reprehensible" about it.

Juan Mann [email him] is an attorney and the proprietor of He writes a weekly column for and contributes to Michelle Malkin's Immigration BLOG. 

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