When Sports and Immigration Law Collide

Pirates GM Neal Huntington confirmed Monday that Jung Ho Kang will not be ready for Opening Day. That assumption could have been made without Huntington’s help given that Kang still hasn’t arrived at Pirates camp in Bradenton, Florida. But it’s official now. The infielder is trying to secure a work visa in South Korea, but his latest DUI case is complicating matters. Kang was charged with his third DUI on December 2 in Seoul when he struck a guardrail with his car and fled the scene. He later tried to pin it on the person in the passenger seat. There is no timetable for Kang’s return to the Pirates’ active roster.

Can an Alien Be Denied Admission to the U.S. for a DUI Conviction?

Consular processing for immigrant and nonimmigrant applicants

When an individual who is physically present in a foreign country applies for an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, the grounds of inadmissibility codified in Section 212(a) (violent crimes or crimes of moral turpitude) apply to him or her. If the alien has been convicted of a DUI with an aggravated factor, he or she might be denied the immigrant visa.

Further, if an immigrant visa applicant has a driving under the influence conviction that does not fall within definition of crimes of moral turpitude or crimes of violence, a U.S. consulate abroad may refer the applicant to a panel physician for further review. If the applicant is determined to be an alcoholic, then he/she will receive a Class A determination from the Panel Physician. In this case, the consulate must defer to the Panel Physician’s recommendation.

There is a procedure for review of a Panel Physician’s determination by the Center for Disease Control, but the procedure is rarely if ever used. It is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney before the medical examination required by the consulate. Preparation must start with the review of the facts with the immigrant visa applicant’s physician. If the record indicates possible addiction, immigrant visa applicants must be prepared to explain to the Panel Physician, and present evidence that establishes that the applicant does not possess a medical condition of alcohol or drug addiction/abuse.

In the nonimmigrant visa renewal or revalidation context, a visa applicant may be denied visa renewal as a result of the DUI conviction if the conviction falls within definition of crimes of violence or crimes of moral turpitude under the state law. An individual who falls under the purview of one or more of the grounds of inadmissibility will be denied the visa, unless he or she qualifies for and receives a waiver.