January 11, 2010: What Should Undocumented Immigrant Do if Called for Jury Duty?
What Should Undocumented Immigrant Do if Called for Jury Duty?
I received a juror questionnaire in the mail. I am an illegal immigrant. The form has a question on immigration status and requests proof of it if not a citizen. Could I be in trouble if I state my status? Thank you.
You are welcome. It sounds like you received a summons for jury duty. This usually means that at some point you incorrectly told the United States government that you are a U.S. citizen.
It is fairly common for non-citizens to fill out voter registration applications at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) when applying for a driver’s license without realizing what they are filling out.
By submitting the voter registration application, you are telling the government that you are a U.S. citizen and are available to vote and serve on a jury. As you know, only U.S. citizens are eligible to sit on a jury and vote in elections. Thus, since you are not a U.S. citizen, you need to mail back the jury summons with a statement explaining that you are not a United States citizen and that you are not legally able to sit on jury.
If you do not have any status in the United States, then it appears it will be difficult for you to provide any proof of your illegal status in addition to the statement.
The bigger picture question is why did you receive this jury summons? If you registered to vote, then you should contact the Supervisor of Elections in your area and tell it you no longer want to be registered to vote.
As you may already know, false claims to U.S. citizenship and registering to vote in the United States are deportable offenses with very limited forms of relief.
If you have additional questions about the immigration consequences of registering to vote and/or sitting on a jury when you are not a United States citizen, you may want to consult with an immigration attorney.
Michael Shane and Evan Shane, Immigration Attorneys