The Effects of Inadmissibility on Immigration Benefits
Under certain circumstances, immigration officials may determine that an individual is “inadmissible” to the country. Inadmissible aliens are not allowed to enter the United States and, in some instances, inadmissible individuals already in the United States will not be allowed to stay. Although “inadmissibility” is closely related to “removability,” the two concepts are treated differently in U.S. immigration laws.
Reasons for Inadmissibility
An individual can be found inadmissible for a variety of reasons, which can include:
- Health-related grounds: communicable diseases of public health significance; failure to obtain required immigration vaccinations; physical or mental disorders; drug abusers or addicts
- Economic grounds: persons likely to become a public charge; persons seeking to perform skilled or unskilled labor without appropriate professional licensure or certification, or without prior labor certification from the Department of Labor
- Criminal grounds: “crimes of moral turpitude”; drug offenses; money laundering; multiple criminal convictions; prostitution; human trafficking
- Moral Grounds: persons coming to the U.S. to practice polygamy
- Violation of immigration laws: individuals with prior orders of removal; individuals unlawfully present in the United States; individuals who entered or sought to enter the country without lawful admission or parole; repeat violators of immigration law; smugglers; stowaways
- Security grounds: espionage, sabotage, or terrorist activity
- Foreign policy grounds: membership in totalitarian parties (e.g., Nazi Party); genocide; torture; recruitment of child soldiers; violators of religious freedom
- Engaging in fraud or misrepresentation for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits
- Making false claims of U.S. citizenship
This list of inadmissibility grounds is not exhaustive. Moreover, each one has specific rules and requirements.
Waivers of Inadmissibility
Grounds of inadmissibility can be forgiven, or “waived,” in limited circumstances. Examples of inadmissibility grounds with waivers include:
- Communicable disease or vaccinations
- Crimes of moral turpitude (where the crimes were committed by juveniles or are considered a “petty offense”)
- Drug offenses (conviction of simple possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana)
- Unlawful presence (exceptional and extremely unusual hardship would result to a qualifying relative who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident)
- False claims of U.S. citizenship (in very limited circumstances)
This is not an exhaustive list of waivers. Unfortunately, for some inadmissibility grounds, no waivers are available.
Inadmissibility issues are incredibly complex and can have serious effects on your eligibility for immigration benefits. If you are facing inadmissibility issues, whether in your immigration application or in court proceedings, consult with an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney.