Drinking And Driving = Deportation

“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Isaiah 22:13; Proverbs 23:35; Luke 12:19; 1 Corinthians 15

Many Filipinos drink – and then drive, but could face deportation if they are caught.

Filipinos in Hawaii are well known for eating, drinking and driving. They even brag about what they drink. A Filipino bragged to the police officer who stopped him that he drank a six pack of Heineken beer before he drove for home. For all ye drinkers, Stella Artois is the best beer.

In Hawaii, the most prominent Filipino who was caught drinking and driving was a lawyer from a prestigious (but not Ivy League) law school,  a state senator, a former state representative, and a city council member. He was driving home from a party in a wobbly manner and a cop stopped him. He identified himself as a state senator. The cop ignored his title. He told the cop that he drank only two glasses of red wine at a party. (Hey red wine is for Republicans, white wine is for Democrats. This guy was a Democrat.) His minor son sitting at the back remarked “Dad, you drank more than that.” “Children and fools tell the truth”, according to an English proverb.

The state senator was arrested, charged with drunken driving and endangering the welfare of a child. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a jail term. His picture was on television and in the newspapers. Fortunately, he was born in the U.S. and was not subject to deportation. He is no longer with us in this wonderful world.

Necessity of good moral character under immigration laws

One of the requirements for naturalization is good moral character.  

It is necessary, under the Immigration and Nationality Act, that a person must be of good moral character in order to avail of two of the most common forms of relief, namely, cancellation of removal and voluntary departure.

Drinking and good moral character
The Immigration and Nationality Act condemns drinking. Apparently the legislators who drafted the law do not believe in the Biblical injunction to “eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” They believe in drink and be deported.

The Act  provides that no person shall be regarded as a person of good moral character if he is a “habitual drunkard”. INA § 101(f)(1).

There is a “catch-all” provision in the Act stating that “the fact that any person is not within any of the foregoing classes shall not preclude a finding that for other reasons such person is or was not of good moral character.” Under this “catch-all” provision, an alien with multiple DUI convictions was found lacking in good moral character and was not eligible for cancellation of removal. Matter of Castillo Perez, 27 I&N Dec. 664 (AG 2019.

In a recent case, Hernandez v. Garland, No. 22-3120 (6th Cir. 02/06/2023), https://www.opn.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/23a0019p-06.pdf, involving an alien in removal proceedings who had pleaded guilty to drinking and driving offenses twice, and had asked for cancellation of removal, the court said that the alien’s drinking related criminal history showed his lack of “good moral character”. The court pointed out that “The Attorney General has instructed the Board (of Immigration Appeals) to adhere to a legal presumption that an immigrant lacks good moral character if the immigrant has two or more drinking-and-driving convictions in the relevant time period.”  Consequently, the court denied the alien’s petition for review of the Board’s order upholding the Immigration Judge’s denial of his application for cancellation of removal for lack of “good moral character”.

The Judge also found that the alien remained a danger to his community after he admitted that he no longer drinks alcohol to excess but that he still drinks.

RESEARCH REFERENCE. See Annotation, Construction and Application of “Good Moral Character” Requirement for Cancellation of Removal of Alien Under 8 USCA § 1229b(b)(1)(B), 87 A.L.R. Fed 2d 231 § 24 (2014 & Supp 2022) by Beth Holliday.

RECOMMENDATION: Become a U.S. citizen and you can drink to your heart’s content like the Hawaii state senator and avoid deportation. You can also drink non-alcoholic beer, which tastes like beer but lacks the punch.

ATTY. EMMANUEL S. TIPON was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializing in Constitutional Law. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He placed third in the 1955 bar examinations. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practices federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwestern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most prestigious legal publisher and writes columns for newspapers. He wrote the annotations and case notes to the Immigration and Nationality Act published by The Lawyers Co-operative Publishing Co. and Bancroft Whitney Co. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon.  They talk about immigration law, criminal law, court-martial defense, politics, and current events. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m.  Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. Cell Phone (808) 225-2645.  E-Mail: filamlaw@yahoo.com. Website: https://www.tiponimmigrationguide.com

The information provided in this article is not legal advice. Publication of this information is not intended to create, and receipt by you does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


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