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Immigration Law

USCIS Policy Alert: Implementing the A.G. Decisions on DUI Convictions on GMC Determinations and Post-Sentencing Changes

USCIS, Dec. 10, 2019

"U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is issuing policy guidance in the USCIS Policy Manual regarding how post-sentencing changes to criminal sentences impact convictions for immigration purposes and how two or more driving under the influence (DUI) convictions affects good moral character (GMC) determinations. These updates incorporate two recent decisions issued by the Attorney General (AG). Immigration laws outline the criminal acts that have immigration consequences, including acts resulting in convictions. Such criminal activity may render an applicant inadmissible or deportable or ineligible for the immigration benefit being sought. In addition, certain immigration benefits require an applicant to demonstrate that he or she has GMC in order to demonstrate eligibility for the benefit. An alien’s convictions can impact this GMC determination.  On October 25, 2019, the AG held in Matter of Thomas and Thompson that a “term of imprisonment or a sentence” refers to the alien’s original criminal sentence without regard to postsentencing alterations for reasons other than a procedural or substantive defect in the underlying criminal proceeding.  On the same day, the AG held in Matter of Castillo-Perez that evidence of two or more DUI convictions during the relevant statutory period establishes a rebuttable presumption of a lack of GMC.  These policy updates are applicable to any cases filed or pending on or after October 25, 2019 (date of the AG’s decisions). These policy updates, contained in Volume 12 of the Policy Manual, are controlling and supersede any prior guidance on the topic."