Stoner Migrants Might Not Become Citizens



According to New York Magazine the Trump administration has “declared war” on immigrants. How so? It doesn’t want stoners with a connection to the violent trade in illicit drugs becoming U.S. citizens.

In a piece titled “USCIS: Immigrants Linked to Legal Weed May Be Morally Unfit for Citizenship,” the online news outlet recently claimed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, “Immigrants with ties to marijuana, including in states where it has been legalized, can be denied U.S. citizenship.” According to NYMag, this, “is but the latest hard-line stance taken toward immigrants and immigration by the Trump administration.”

Of course, NYMag is completely mistaken. In reality, USCIS simply updated its Policy Manual, “to clarify that violations of federal controlled substance law, including violations involving marijuana, are generally a bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization, even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law.”

That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Applicants for naturalization have always been required to demonstrate good moral character. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)(3), which has been in effect since 1996, mandates that a “violation of any law on controlled substances, except for simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, is a bar to the establishment of good moral character. Immigration law has long disfavored immigrants who display a propensity to disobey federal law.

In fact, the Trump administration hasn’t changed any of the laws or policies relating to naturalization. It has simply made it clear that the legalization of marijuana pursuant to state laws has not rendered the use, possession, or sale of cannabis lawful under federal statutes. And that should have been patently obvious to any news organization that did even a minimum of research on this issue.

Nevertheless, NYMag insists that the Trump administration is perpetuating “the antiquated notion that smoking weed is somehow immoral,” in order to deny citizenship to otherwise deserving immigrants “of color.”

But the woke smokers advocating on behalf of migrant marijuana users are missing the point entirely. The U.S. is a nation of laws. We expect citizens to obey our laws, state and federal. And we expect the same from migrants who wish to become members of our polity and our nation.

There is nothing remotely unfair about denying citizenship to immigrants who violate federal drug laws. Similarly, there is nothing inappropriate about charging U.S. citizens with federal drug violations, even when they live in states that have ostensibly “legalized” marijuana. Cannabis remains a prohibited drug under the Controlled Substances Act. And that will remain the case, unless Congress sees fit to amend that legislation.

The Trump administration isn’t waging a war on immigrants. It’s the victim of a war on immigration enforcement, waged by irresponsible journalists who opt to tell only part of the story whenever they encounter facts that don’t support their open-borders narrative.

About Author

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Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.

9 Comments

  1. avatar

    There are times when I could use some marijuana for pain but we don’t have medical marijuana here. I can’t take codeine, if I could get it, and was recently in the hospital with post-surgical pain and they wouldn’t give me morphine. I had to take Benydryl with codeine, which worked for a few days. Long enough, actually. There are people in this country with horrible pain from terminal diseases that cannot get help because of this fear of opiods, or the fear of what the feds will do to doctors who prescribe it. Give us a break. Not everyone is doing it for fun. We need some relief and are being ignored in this rush to save idiots who misuse pain relief drugs.

    • avatar

      I agree with you, I have chronic pain and the are reducing my pain meds every other month. I really can feel the pain daily and it is starting to get so I can’t sleep at night because of it! Not all of us upuse painmeds, people with chronic pain should never be hurting.

    • avatar
      Edward A Swisher on

      I took a combo of morphine and oxycodone for several years due to multiple back to back surgeries. I took these pain medications as prescribed… and only as needed. I did not become addicted because I did not abuse them to become high. Morphine has been around for about 200 years and is effective as a pain killer. The current knee jerk reaction by VA and civilian providers need to dral with those that abuse these medications and stop screwing over those that need them for actual long-term and short-term pain relief.

    • avatar
      Edward A Swisher on

      I took a combo of morphine and oxycodone for several years due to multiple back to back surgeries. I took these pain medications as prescribed… and only as needed. I did not become addicted because I did not abuse them to become high. Morphine has been around for about 200 years and is effective as a pain killer. The current knee jerk reaction by VA and civilian providers need to dral with those that abuse these medications and stop screwing over those that need them for actual long-term and short-term pain relief.

  2. avatar

    I agree with the president. Stoners should not be allowed citizenship. Any immigrants dealing any type of drugs should be deported. Let’s make America drug free.

  3. avatar
    Judy Stevens on

    We already have laws in place….they don’t need new ones. What is needed is more enforcement by local police, etc. That has been denied. Employers also should be punished for hiring them. E Varify needed nationally. Why become a citizen of the US when you don’t have to pay taxes but get benefits? The will of Congress is for business (some not even American) not for the people who hire them and pay taxes.

    I agree the filthy rich live better than kings. Our tax system is broken since Reagan. You can’t go to war all over the world and cut taxes for the rich…who profit off it. Trickle Down Economics is a failure.

  4. avatar

    That’s the reason that banks and credit card companies will not accept or transfer funds for medical marijuana businesses. It’s still against federal law.

    Richard Branson is praising British Prime Minister Teresa May for delaying Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline that she promised they would leave the European Union “deal or no deal”. May is just another lying politician who thinks only the elite should decide. Branson is just another billionaire preaching the benefits of open borders while living on their own private islands {Bill Gates and Branson} and walled compounds in Hawaii {Mark Zuckerberg}.

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