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Practice Advisory: Immigrants and Substance Use Disorders – A Legal and Medical Perspective

Immigration law demonizes people whom it labels as “drug abusers and addicts,” “habitual drunkards,” and “alcoholics.” An immigrant who comes within such a category can be found inadmissible and ineligible to establish good moral character, and can be denied several forms of immigration relief as well as naturalization. But from a scientific perspective, these people suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD), a medical condition that frequently arises after the person has undergone severe trauma. Part I of the advisory discusses the several immigration law penalties based on substance use (even when use has not risen to a disorder) and suggests legal defense strategies. Part II of the advisory reviews current medical information about the disorders and discusses how this information can address questions that arise in immigration proceedings.

Interactive Map: Eligible to Naturalize Adults by Probability of Naturalization

This interactive map presents ERI’s most recent estimates of eligible-to-naturalize adults in the United States using the 2021 5-year American Community Survey (ACS) microdata. They disaggregate the eligible-to-naturalize adult population by probability of naturalizing in the next two-to-three years: low probability, medium probability, and high probability. The tool also provides a table of each population’s demographic information, including age, race, education attainment, poverty status, English speaking ability, top five places of origin, and top five languages spoken at home (other than or in addition to English).