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Immigration news: Citizenship and good moral character and the legal clinic

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By Kieran O Sullivan ( Kieran@ipcboston.org)

At our recent  Irish Pastoral Centre (IPC)  clinic we had several Irish immigrants present who were long time legal resident inquiring about US citizenship.

Citizenship and good moral character

There are a number of eligibility requirements to be met to be eligible for US citizenship.  One is demonstrating good moral character.  In general, an applicant for US citizenship must show that he or she has been a person of good moral character for the statutory period (typically five years or three years if married to a U.S. citizen) prior to filing for naturalization.

A person cannot be found to be a person of good moral character if during the last five years he or she:

·       has committed and been convicted of one or more crimes involving moral turpitude

·       has committed and been convicted of 2 or more offenses for which the total sentence imposed was 5 years or more

·       has committed and been convicted of any controlled substance law, except for a single offense of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana

·       has been confined to a penal institution during the statutory period, as a result of a conviction, for an aggregate period of 180 days or more

·       has committed and been convicted of two or more gambling offenses

·       is or has earned his or her principle income from illegal gambling

·       is or has been involved in prostitution or commercialized vice

·       is or has been involved in smuggling illegal aliens into the United States

·       is or has been a habitual drunkard

·       is practicing or has practiced polygamy

·       has willfully failed or refused to support dependents

·       has given false testimony, under oath, in order to receive a benefit under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

 An applicant must disclose all relevant facts to the CIS, including his or her entire criminal history, regardless of whether the criminal history disqualifies the applicant under the above mentioned provisions.  Arrests in other countries may also be an issue.

Legal clinic

We continue to have good number of people attend at our legal clinic at The Banshee Bar, Dorchester, Boston.  Thanks to our volunteers who showed up every month  night and to attorneys who donated their time.  Chris Lavery and Dan Harrington provide free consultations at our clinic each month.   Our next legal clinic will be September 3rd at 630 PM.

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