• George Farag

I Admit It, I Don’t Want Rapists and Drunk Drivers to Become American Citizens

Updated: Jan 16

My family and I are naturalized American citizens. We demonstrated good moral character to become citizens. All people who want to become Americans must do the same. I support the Trump Administration's efforts to uphold good moral character requirements in the citizenship process. Foreign rapists should not become American citizens. Sadly, not everyone agrees.

Imagine you are going to allow someone to become a part of your family through marriage. Your new partner will have access to your personal and/or professional life. You will be sharing resources and information. You will also be sharing a living space. In essence, it is a significant step to allow someone the privilege of becoming a part of your family. Wouldn’t you want to know that the person is responsible and honest? I certainly would.

For the U.S. government it is the same concept when allowing immigrants to enter the family of American citizens. The government wants to know that this person is responsible and trustworthy before allowing them to become an American citizen and forever part of our family. It does this by using good moral character (GMC) requirements as part of the naturalization process.

When an immigrant legally comes to America they typically spend five years as a legal permanent resident, or green card holder, before they can apply to become an American citizen. For foreign spouses of American citizens it is three years. During this period the immigrant has the ability to legally live and work in America. They are also expected to pay taxes. However they are not yet American citizens.

To become an American citizen the immigrant must apply to go through the #naturalization process. One of the requirements for naturalization is to demonstrate #good #moral #character. GMC means character that measures up to the standards of average American citizens.

The applicant must show GMC during the five-year period immediately preceding his or her application for naturalization and up to the time of the Oath of Allegiance. Conduct prior to the five-year period may also impact whether the applicant meets the requirement.

The following are some of the reasons a person would be found to not have good moral character according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services:

  • Being convicted of murder at any time,

  • Being convicted of aggravated felony such as rape or drug trafficking

  • Being convicted of committing a crime of moral turpitude such as spousal & child abuse and robbery.

Last month, the Trump Administration issued two policy alerts that gave additional guidance on GMC. The first alert, on December 10, 2019, stated that evidence of two or more convictions for driving under the influence during the relevant period establishes a presumption that an alien lacks good moral character.

On December 13, 2019, the second alert defined the following as acts that preclude an applicant from having GMC:

  • Bail jumping

  • Bank fraud

  • Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance

  • Failure to file or pay taxes

  • Falsification of records

  • False claim to U.S. citizenship

  • Forgery-uttering

  • Insurance fraud

  • Obstruction of justice

  • Sexual assault

  • Social security fraud

  • Unlawful harassment

These are good steps that the Trump Administration took to further define acts that preclude good moral character.

Just like I would want to be careful of who I allow into my family I expect the US government to be careful of who it allows into the American family. However not everyone feels the same way. Some are using these changes as evidence of Trump’s push to limit the number of people who can become American citizens.

For example, Gina Christian of Catholic Philly calls the new guidance “higher hurdles” for naturalization applicants. She claims that many U.S. citizens themselves would fail to meet the GMC standards. I disagree with this characterization of U.S. citizens. I don’t think that the vast majority of Americans are convicted rapists, drunk drivers, or bank fraudsters. In addition, American citizenship is a privilege to have. The bar should be high to receive it.

Christian cites immigration attorney Christopher Casazza who says, “It’s getting insanely difficult” to become a U.S. citizen. Once again I disagree. It is not insane for our government to prevent drug dealers, people that have participated in insurance fraud, and sexual predators from becoming American citizens. This is the government’s responsibility to its citizens.

My family and I are naturalized American citizens. We went through the naturalization and demonstrated our good moral character. We worked hard, paid our taxes, and stayed out of trouble. The majority of immigrants do the same. However for those who don’t demonstrate good moral character it is the government’s responsibility to prevent them from becoming American citizens.

For those who don’t demonstrate good moral character it is the government’s responsibility to prevent them from becoming American citizens.

I admit that I don’t want rapists, child abusers, or drunk drivers to become part of my family. The US government should not allow them to become part of the American family. I support the Trump Administration’s actions to further define acts that show a lack good moral character and result in refusing American citizenship.