DUI Convictions Restrict Citizenship Applications
USCIS issued new guidelines that will make it more difficult for green card holders with two or more driving under the influence (DUI) convictions to become U.S. citizens. On December 10 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a policy alert Implementing the Decisions on Driving Under the Influence Convictions on Good Moral Character Determinations and Post-Sentencing Changes based on recent decisions by Attorney General William Barr:
1. In Thomas and Thompson, Barr ruled that evidence of two or more DUI convictions during the relevant statutory period establishes a rebuttable presumption of a lack of Good Moral Character.
2. In Castillo-Perez, Barr ruled that that evidence of two or more DUI convictions during the relevant statutory period establishes a rebuttable presumption of a lack of Good Moral Character.
According to the new USCIS policy,
The term DUI includes all state and federal impaired-driving offenses, including driving while intoxicated, operating under the influence, and other offenses that make it unlawful for an individual to operate a motor vehicle while impaired.
Good moral character is a requirement for citizenship and is considered by immigration officers for a green card and other immigration applications. U.S. immigration law has consequences for “unlawful acts” and criminal convictions and sentences that could “render applicants inadmissible, deportable, or ineligible for an immigration benefit.”
USCIS says the updates are applicable to any cases filed or pending on or after Oct. 25, 2019.
The attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for the rights of immigrants in Illinois and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office at 855-554-6369.