The State of Texas recently suspended a municipal court judge, when the state learned that she was not a U.S. Citizen—a requirement for appointment, holding most public offices, and voting. Municipal Court Judge Young Min Burkett, a lawful permanent resident since 2007, was first appointed to the bench in 2015. Years later, the local Texas City Council discovered that the judge was not a U.S. Citizen, and immediately put her on administrative leave while she went through the months-long “lawful permanent resident to naturalized US citizen” process through the Department of Homeland Security.
Reminder to lawful permanent residents: the “green card” and the status that comes with it is NOT “permanent.” Do not wait to become a naturalized U.S. Citizen because, yes, you can be forever banished from the United States. Until you are naturalized, you cannot register to vote (even if DMV asks you to register when renewing your license) or vote (even if you were able to register yourself). You can be deported if you vote. You can be deported if you commit or are convicted of most crimes, or have made what you may think is the smallest, most irrelevant of mistakes. You have limited rights when trying to reenter the United States after a the shortest trip abroad. And, just like Judge Young Min Burkett has learned, you can’t be a judge.