On December 10th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new policy guidance that will change how DUI convictions impact good moral character (GMC) requirements for immigration benefits. The policy guidance also addresses how post-sentencing changes to criminal sentences affect convictions and sentences for immigration purposes.
In Matter of Castillo-Perez, the Attorney General ruled that two or more DUI convictions can impact a person’s good moral character determination when applying for immigration benefits. So if you plan to apply for an immigration benefit that requires you to obtain a good moral character determination, you can be denied if USCIS discovers you have two or more DUI convictions during the statutory period.
If you have two or more DUI convictions, you will have to provide proof that you had good moral character when you committed the DUI offense. Under the new policy guidance the term DUI covers:
- All state and federal impaired-driving offenses
- Driving vehicle while intoxicated
- Operating a vehicle under the influence
- Other DUI offenses that make it unlawful for a person to use a motor vehicle while impaired
Speaking about the updated policy guidance, USCIS Deputy Director Mark Koumans said, “As the attorney general directed, this guidance enhances public safety by ensuring that USCIS adjudicators consider driving under the influence convictions with the appropriate standard of scrutiny.”
In Matter of Thomas and Thompson, the Attorney General specified that the definition of “term of imprisonment or a sentence” refers to an immigrant’s original criminal sentence and does not include post-sentencing changes. Under the new guidance, post-sentencing orders that change a criminal immigrant’s original sentence will only be considered for immigration purposes if they are “based on a procedural or substantive defect in the underlying criminal proceeding.”
Immigration Representation in Phoenix
Our dedicated team of immigration lawyers at Kanu & Associates, P.C. is here to assist with all of your immigration matters, no matter how complicated they might be. If you have more questions about how the new USCIS policy guidance might affect your immigration status, then you should get in touch with us to discuss your situation. We understand the many challenges immigrants face when they come to the U.S., but with help from our attorneys, you can trust that your best interests are represented.
To request a case consultation, call (602) 353-7795 today.