Jesse J. Bañuelos, a Los Angeles Immigration Attorney
GROUNDS OF INADMISSIBILITY TO THE US
Under immigration law, certain foreigners may be refused legal entry if they are outside the US, or if they are already in the US, they may be refused legal immigration status because they are considered a danger to the health, welfare or security of the US. Those foreigners are considered inadmissible. There are many reasons why someone could be considered inadmissible. The most common grounds of inadmissibility are:
- health-related grounds (communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis; drug abuse; failure to obtain required vaccinations; dangerous physical or mental disorders; etc.);
- criminal-related grounds (prostitution; commercialized vice; drug trafficking; convicted of, or admitting to, crimes of moral turpitude, or of controlled substances; etc.);
- immigration-related grounds (intentional misrepresentation of a material fact, which is considered a fraud, in order to obtain an immigration benefit; a deportation or removal; student visa abuse; unlawful presence of six months or more in the US after April 1, 1997; making a false claim to US citizenship; alien smuggling; etc.);
- security-related grounds (terrorist activity; membership in a totalitarian party; participation in persecution or torture; etc.); and
- miscellaneous (polygamy; likely to become a public charge; draft evasion; etc).
THERE ARE WAIVERS FOR MANY OF THE GROUNDS OF INADMISSIBILITY
Among the many grounds of inadmissibility that can be waived or forgiven are the following:
- communicable diseases. This ground may be waived if the alien is the spouse/unmarried child/parent of a USC/LPR;
- failure to obtain the required vaccinations. This ground can be cured if the alien receives the necessary vaccines, if it is certified that the vaccines are not medically needed, or if the vaccines would violate the alien’s religious beliefs; and
- likely to become a public charge. This ground can be cured by an affidavit of support that meets the requirements of the law;
- criminal grounds. This waiver is for crimes of moral turpitude; for a one-time violation involving the possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana for personal use; for multiple criminal convictions (unless the total prison time imposed for all the convictions exceeded five years); or for prostitution. This waiver is available if:
1. the crime was committed more than 15 years ago prior to the date of the filing of the waiver application, and if the alien can demonstrate rehabilitation; or
2. the alien is the spouse/parent/child of a USC/LPR and if denial of the waiver would cause extreme hardship to that alien’s relative.
- immigration fraud. This ground may be waived if the alien is the spouse/child of a USC/LPR and if denial of the waiver would cause extreme hardship to that alien’s relative;
- alien smuggling. This ground may be forgiven on humanitarian grounds if the alien smuggled only his spouse/parent/child in order to assure family unity;
- unlawful presence. This ground may be waived if the alien is the spouse/ child of a USC/LPR and if denial of the waiver would cause extreme hardship to that alien’s relative. For spouses/parents/children of US citizens who live in the US, who will be applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing, and who will need to apply for this waiver, there are new rules which will significantly minimize the time that said applicants will have to wait outside the US for their immigrant visa process to be completed at the American Consulate in their country; and
- deportation or removal. Individuals who have been deported or removed from the U.S., or who departed the U.S. after the expiration of a voluntary departure order are barred from being readmitted to the U.S. for 5, 10 or 20 years, depending on why they were deported or removed. In order to be readmitted, applicants will need to get a waiver of deportation or removal. In determining whether to grant this waiver, the USCIS will consider many factors, including the following;
1. reason for the deportation or removal;
2. length of time since the applicant was deported or removed;
3. evidence of good moral character;
4. close family ties in the U.S.;
5. eligibility for a waiver of other grounds of inadmissibility; and
6. evidence of reformation or rehabilitation.
Furthermore, if the foreigner was deported before April 1, 1997, if he returned to the US illegally before that date, and if he never left the US after that, he may be eligible to apply for this waiver in the US.
There are certain violations of immigration law and certain crimes which are not waivable. These include, but are not limited to:
- making false claims to US citizenship (unless the claims were made before Sept. 30, 1996); and
- committing murder, torture, conspiracy to commit murder, or torture.
WARNING: green card holders who are returning to the US after a trip abroad could be considered inadmissible on any number of grounds, such as those who have been convicted of certain crimes, those who are returning to the US after a visit abroad that lasted more than six months, etc. In that case, the DHS might place the green card holders in removal proceedings. Because those proceedings could end with the issuance of an expulsion order against the greeen card holder which could result in permanent banishment from the US, if you are placed in removal proceedings, to fight for your green card you will need the help of an experienced immigration attorney, such as Mr. Bañuelos. Because he is hardworking and tenacious, Mr. Bañuelos has been successfully resolving difficult immigration problems, and has been winning difficult deportation and removal cases for over 20 years.