Congressman Boyle Introduces Bill to Remove Antiquated “Habitual Drunkard” Provision & Decriminalize Marijuana Offenses In Naturalization Process

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Congressman Brendan F. Boyle (PA-02) introduced a bill to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to strike out the “habitual drunkard” provision and remove marijuana offenses as grounds of inadmissibility or consideration in a good moral character determination. This commonsense bill will modernize the naturalization process and ensure marijuana related offenses do not negatively affect an applicant’s chance of becoming a prospective U.S. citizen.

“As applicants go through the Green Card and/or naturalization process, they currently encounter questions that ask, “Have you ever been a habitual drunkard?”, or for details about an applicant’s level of marijuana use”, said Boyle. “These questions are wholly unrelated to citizenship, and only serve to reinforce societal stigmas connected to alcohol and substance abuse. It is extremely troubling to see federal applications like this that continue to use a harsh and antiquated term such as “habitual drunkard”. Moreover, prospective citizens should not be penalized for relatively harmless and non-criminal offenses. This careless language only serves to reinforce societal stigmas and misunderstandings about substance abuse, and it is time we modernize the process.”

Boyle’s bill would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act by striking the “habitual drunkard” provision and exempt low-level marijuana related offenses as grounds for inadmissibility and/or deportation.