A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration attorney and counsel. Contact Info: 732-632-9888, http://www.1visa1.com/ (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Recent DUI Arrest - Basis for Denying Immigration Bond

A foreign national who is in the custody of the U.S. Government may request for a custody determination or "bond hearing" under section 236(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.  An Immigration Judge may set a bond as a condition for the release of the foreign national if it can be established that he or she is not a danger to the community, not a threat to the national security, and does not pose a risk of flight.  

Driving under the influence is a significant adverse consideration in determining whether an alien is a danger to the community in bond proceedings, according to the Board of Immigration Appeals.  In Matter of Siniauskas, 27 I&N Dec. 207 (BIA 2018), the foreign national is a long time U.S. resident without legal status; he is married to a green card holder and has a U.S. citizen daughter who filed an immigrant visa petition on his behalf.  He also volunteers in church and owns his business.  He had several DUI convictions more than ten years ago and has sought professional help regarding his drinking problem.  Recently he was arrested again for drunk driving.  He explained that his recent arrest was an aberration that has mitigating circumstances, i.e., it happened on the first anniversary of his mother’s death. 

However, the Board did not accept his explanation.  The Board found his actions indicate that he is and continues to be a danger to his community and revoked his bond. The Board's decision means that he will continue to be held in custody until a decision is made on his immigration petitions. 

In recent years, DUIs have been made a priority for immigration enforcement, especially under the current administration.  DHS Secretary had stated in an interview that a single DUI could lead to deportation of an immigrant. 

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