On October 25, 2019, United States Attorney General William Barr issued a precedential decision that will dramatically impact the ability of certain non-citizens to defend themselves against deportation in the Immigration Court.
In the decision, the Attorney General held that evidence of two or more DUI convictions establishes a presumption that a non-citizen lacks “good moral character” as defined under INA § 101(f). Matter of Castrillo-Perez, 27 I&N Dec. 664 (A.G. 2019). The result of this decision is that a non-citizen in removal proceedings who has two or more DUI convictions will very likely no longer qualify for “cancellation of removal.” Cancellation of removal is a form of relief from removal that allows certain non-citizens to remain in the United States and become lawful permanent residents of the United States if they can demonstrate they have lived in the United States for ten years, that their deportation would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to certain United States citizen or lawful permanent resident family members, and, among other things, that they have been a person of good moral character during the period of ten years prior to filing their application for cancellation of removal.
In Castrillo-Perez, the Attorney General stated that multiple DUI convictions demonstrate a repeated failure to comply with community moral standards and is therefore indicative that a person does not possess good moral character. Although the presence of two or more DUI convictions creates a presumption that a non-citizen lacks good moral character, a non-citizen may still be able to overcome that presumption with evidence that he or she is a person of good moral character, notwithstanding the DUI convictions.
If you or someone you know is facing deportation from the United States, or if you believe that your DUI or immigration case may be impacted by this new rule, contact Eldridge, Nachtman and Crandell, LLC to speak with an experienced immigration or criminal defense attorney who can assist you with your case.