Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick, who emigrated to the United States in 2001 to seek a better life, "rendered herself deportable" by voting in two elections before she became a citizen, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson representative told NBC News.
But the Illinois resident says she was misled at the DMV in 2005, when she was getting a driver's license, which has developed into a protracted legal battle amid sweeping reversals in immigration law.
She was recalls a clerk asking her if she wanted to register to vote after presenting her Peruvian passport and her green card, even after she declined on a form to register.
"I was confused," she recalled. "I ask him, 'Am I supposed to?' And he said, 'Well, it is up to you.'"