A non-citizen living illegally in Texas is going to prison for using a stolen identity to vote in U.S. elections.

Enrique Salazar Ortiz, a Mexican national living illegally in Bexar County for decades under a fake name, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to federal voter fraud and identity theft charges.

Salazar admitted using the name Jesse H. Vargas Jr. to vote in the November 2016 election but refused to tell federal agents if he illegally voted in other elections.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen said someone using Vargas’s name had “been voting since at least 1994,” including in the 2008 Democrat primary. Voting records also showed Salazar illegally registered to vote multiple times, according to his plea agreement.

Asked by a U.S. district judge if he knew what he was doing was illegal, Salazer replied “Unfortunately, yes, I knew it was.”

Salazar pleaded guilty last October to unlawful voting by an alien, making a false statement in a passport application, and aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison.

Once Salazar serves his time, he’ll be deported.

Non-citizens registering and voting in Texas elections is a “significant problem” according to state officials. A statement issued today by Texas Secretary of State David Whitley said his office “discovered approximately 95,000 individuals identified by DPS as non-U.S. citizens have a matching voter registration record in Texas, approximately 58,000 of whom have voted in one or more Texas elections.”

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.