Why is it necessary to prove good moral character and ties to the community?
What exactly is a “good” and “moral” character?
For the purpose of obtaining leave to post an immigration bond, a detained alien’s character will be considered “good” or “moral” if their character measures up favorably to the standards of average citizens of the community where he lives. This means that the alien has not offended the accepted moral standards of their community.
What will the Immigration Judge be looking for?
The Immigration Judge will consider the statements from family, friends, professional colleagues or respected community leaders that show any of the following:
- Closeness or intimacy of personal relationships such as between husband and wife or domestic partners, between parent and child;
- Adequate financial support provided by the alien to their child or children;
- Dependence of minor, elderly, sick or disabled family members on the detained alien for their needs and survival (dependent family members must be US citizens or US lawful permanent residents);
- Financial, emotional or psychological hardship on members of their immediate family who are dependent on the detained alien;
- Length of stay in the US during which they have been law abiding; responsible, and that they provide valuable service to the community.
- The credibility of the detained alien, their candor, demeanor and the plausibility of their statements.
- Evidence of church or religious attendance; participation in sports; participation in hobbies that help the community;
- Evidence of the detained alien’s financial responsibility in paying bills and meeting financial obligations and payment of taxes;
- Evidence of academic, educational or training records;
- Evidence of hard work and income that shows the alien and/or his family will not rely on the US government for support or welfare;
- Evidence that shows that the alien is not a “public charge” (Persons who are deemed in the public charge are primarily dependent on the government for their subsistence or survival, or receive public cash assistance for maintaining income, or receive long-term care at the expense of the US government.
- Evidence of at least one US citizen or US lawful permanent resident who will be willing and able to financially support the detained alien during the removal proceedings if they are temporarily released from detention.
What factors will show absence of good moral character and lack of value to the community?
Some factors or circumstances show that the detained alien does not possess good moral character or that the detained alien has not contributed positively to the community and are thus, not fit to be released from detention:
- The detained alien is not engaged in a lengthy or stable marriage or committed intimate relationship;
- The detained alien does not support their child or children;
- The detained alien has no good employment history but has been terminated or disciplined at work for dishonesty, fraud, neglect of duties, etc.
- The detained alien has been convicted of violent crimes;
- The detained alien has been convicted of crimes involving fraud or deceit;
What if the detained alien has been charged with misdemeanors but has not been convicted?
Please note that the Immigration Judge will consider “convictions” not mere criminal indictments or charges. A conviction is a final decision of a court finding the alien guilty of a crime and declaring or imposing a sentence or penalty for such crime. The penalty may be imprisonment, the payment of a fine or both.
What if the alien has been convicted of misdemeanors or less serious crimes?
The following documents may be submitted to show good moral character even when the detained alien has a criminal record of convictions for misdemeanors or ordinances:
- Certification from a juvenile criminal court that the alien was a minor when he was convicted (because convictions of a juvenile do not count as convictions for immigration purposes)
- Certification from the military that instead of a conviction by a court martial, the alien was imposed disciplinary action. Disciplinary actions do not count as convictions for immigration purposes.
- Certification from the criminal court that a deferral of adjudication has been entered;
- Certification from the court that the criminal proceeding was dismissed for failure to prosecute (nolle prosequi);
- Certification from the criminal court that the judgment of conviction was later vacated or dismissed because of Constitutional or statutory defects;
- Certification from the governor that a pardon has been granted;
- Certification that the detained alien has been reformed and rehabilitated, has satisfactorily completed probation or parole;
- Certification from the court that the offense for which the alien had been convicted was a purely political offense
If you need assistance in procuring statements or affidavits from friends, family, community leaders and employers or certifications from courts, our immigration attorneys are willing to assist. Call our immigration attorneys today.