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USCIS, Dec. 13, 2019
"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating policy guidance in the USCISPolicy Manual on unlawful acts during the applicable statutory period that reflect adversely onmoral character and may prevent an applicant from meeting the good moral character (GMC)requirement for naturalization.1
An applicant who has committed, was convicted of, or was imprisoned for an unlawful actduring the applicable statutory period may be found to lack GMC if the act adversely reflects onhis or her moral character, unless the applicant can demonstrate extenuating circumstances.2 Anact is unlawful if it violates a criminal or civil law of the jurisdiction where it was committed.
The regulation addressing “unlawful acts” does not require the applicant to have been chargedwith or convicted of the offense. This guidance, contained in Volume 12 of the Policy Manual, iscontrolling and supersedes any prior guidance.
• Expands existing guidance on the “unlawful acts” bar to establishing GMC fornaturalization, including adding additional examples of unlawful acts.• Emphasizes that USCIS officers determine whether an “unlawful act” is a conditional baron a case-by-case basis and provides guidance on that case-by-case analysis.
Volume 12: Citizenship and Naturalization, Part F, Good Moral Character, Chapter 5,Conditional Bars for Acts in Statutory Period [12 USCIS-PM F.5].
1 See INA 101(f). See 8 CFR 316.10(b)(3)(iii).
2 See INA 101(f). See 8 CFR 316.10(b)(3)(iii). For cases arising in the Ninth Circuit, in addition to extenuatingcircumstances which precede or are contemporaneous with the act, USCIS must also consider and weigh all factorsrelevant to the determination of GMC, which include education, family background, employment history, financialstatus and lack of criminal record. See Hussein v. Barrett, 820 F.3d 1083 (9th Cir. 2016)."