Attorney General Issues New Guidance for Good Moral Character Determinations

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released new policy guidance in light of two decisions from the attorney general. The new policy guidance was issued in regards to how two or more DUI convictions can affect good moral character (GMC) requirements for immigrants and how post-sentencing changes to criminal sentences can affect convictions and sentences for immigration purposes.

The new policy guidance for good moral character (GMC) requirements was reached in Matter of Castillo-Perez, while the post-sentencing guidance was the result of Matter of Thomas and Thompson.

Under the Attorney General’s ruling, two or more DUI convictions can impact a person’s good moral character determination if they are trying to apply for immigration benefits. If you are an immigrant who already has two or more DUI convictions, and you want to apply for a visa, you will have to prove that you had good moral character when you committed the DUI offense.

According to the policy guidance, the term DUI includes:

  • All state and federal impaired-driving offenses
  • Driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence
  • Other DUI offenses that make it unlawful for a person to use a motor vehicle while impaired

The Attorney General’s decision in Matter of Thomas and Thompson focuses on the definition of “term of imprisonment or a sentence,” and states that it refers to an immigrant’s original criminal sentence, not post-sentencing changes. This means that if you are an immigrant who has been convicted of crime and your original sentence was changed, then the changes will only be considered for immigration purposes if they are “based on a procedural or substantive defect in the underlying criminal proceeding.”

Skilled Immigration Representatives Serving Cleveland

Do you have more questions about the new USCIS policy guidance? If so, get in touch with our dedicated team of immigration lawyers at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. We will gladly answer your questions and explain all of your options under the law. We know that immigrants face many challenges when they come to the U.S., which is why we are here provide you with the top-notch representation you deserve.

To request a case consultation with a lawyer at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A., call us today at (888) 491-8770.