A year after immigrating from the England to the United States in 2004, Father David Boase went to the Illinois DMV to take his driver's test. As Boase tells the story, an employee then asked Boase if he wanted to register to vote. Boase registered, and in 2006 he voted on a ballot measure to increase resources for the local fire department. It was the one trip he ever took to an American ballot box.
Twelve years later, that vote has ended his dreams of doing "priestly work" in the United States.
The Washington Post reports that the Episcopalian priest now faces deportation for the vote. Since a federal candidate, Rep. Jerry Costello (D–Ill.), appeared on the same ballot as the fire funds, casting a vote in the election was a federal crime. It was a federal crime whether or not he voted for Costello, who was running unopposed.
Boase admitted to the action during a 2017 interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In August, he received a summons to appear in immigration court, and the deportation process was set to begin. David Cox, who is representing Boase, says that the summons mentioned only the single vote and no other factors.
According to Cox, USCIS had the legal discretion to ignore the offense. He tells the Post that he believes that the decision to deport Boase is part of USCIS' newest policy to align the agency with the Department of Homeland Security's "enforcement priorities," outlined in a 2017 executive order from President Donald Trump.