top of page

9th Circuit Immigration Court Finds No Rational Basis Between Alcoholism and Moral Character

Has a DUI prevented you or a loved one from obtaining legal status in the U.S.? A recent 9th Circuit Immigration Court ruling may help immigrants convicted of DUIs stay in the country.

On March 24, 2016, the 9th Circuit found that there is no rational basis to classify habitual drunks as lacking good moral character, which would cause them to be denied immigration relief. The court reasoned that chronic alcoholism is a disease, and is not correlated to one’s moral character. Judge Reinhardt, who wrote the scathing majority opinion, declared, “We are well past the point where it is rational to link a person’s medical disability with his moral character.”

The court therefore vacated an immigration board decision against petitioner Salomon Ledzma-Cosino, which had found he was ineligible for voluntary departure or cancellation of removal, because he didn’t have good moral character due to being a “habitual drunkard.”

What does this mean for immigrants? DUI convictions may no longer present as big of an obstacle to obtaining immigration relief in California, as such convictions, in certain cases, may not be attributable to poor moral character. If you or a loved one have been convicted of a DUI and denied relief, or are in removal proceedings or seeking citizenship and have had a DUI in the past, contact our office so that we may present your case in a manner most likely to successfully obtain the relief you seek.

Reyes & Schroeder Associates is a law firm dedicated to keeping families together and preserving your rights. The above information has been prepared for general information purposes only, and has been provided to learn more about our firm, our services and the experience of our attorneys. In no event does the information contained above amount to legal advice and is not to be acted on as such. For legal advice specific to your situation, including immigration, criminal or family law matters, please contact Leslie Reyes at, or at the firm’s office phone (818)-253-1641.

bottom of page