- Apr 12, 2008
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“Based upon our analysis of USCIS and DOJ data, three of the individuals on the DOJ list received U.S. citizenship after their convictions,” stated the GAO audit report. “Two were convicted of unlawful production of an identity document and one was convicted of transferring funds out of the country in violation of U.S. sanctions.”
“An individual applying for naturalization must demonstrate good moral character for a statutory period of time--from 5 years preceding the application up to admission to citizenship,” added the GAO. “This includes not having been convicted of crimes, such as murder, rape, drug trafficking, or other aggravated felonies prior to or during that period, as well as not having been convicted of other crimes during that period, such as certain drug offenses or convictions that led to 180 days or more of prison time.”
However, according to the USCIS, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) says that in determining good moral character, the federal government can look further back than five years, adding that it “may take into consideration as a basis for such determination the applicant's conduct and acts at any time prior to that period.”
The INA, which allows a person who has been a permanent resident for at least 5 years to apply for naturalization, governs the eligibility requirements to be naturalized as a U.S. citizen, including establishing good moral character, the USCIS stated on its Web site.