INADMISSIBILITY VS DEPORTATION – WHAT YOU MUST KNOW
It can be very confusing for people facing immigration problems due to past (or recent) crimes to understand the difference between deportation and inadmissibility.
There are two separate sections of U.S. immigration law that govern whether a crime will bar you from getting a green card (if you don’t have one), or whether it will lead to your green card being taken away.
A particular crime has different consequences depending on whether the person who committed the crime is already a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), or if they are a person from another nation who is trying to apply for a green card. Some crimes may have no impact on a Lawful Permanent Resident in the United States, but these same offenses will cause a problem should he or she travel abroad. Inadmissibility can also be for health reasons, but for this blog post, we are only discussing inadmissibility issues due to past or recent crimes.
DON’T THINK YOUR GREEN CARD WILL PROTECT YOU FROM YOUR PAST, OR RECENT CRIMES. INADMISSIBILITY CAN AFFECT EVERYONE TRYING TO ENTER THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING:
- Undocumented immigrants
- People applying for green cards.
- Permanent Residents (who already have green cards) who travel overseas and seek admission on return to the US (known as arriving aliens)
- People who are applying for a renewal, change, or adjustment of status while in the United States
HERE ARE SOME VERY COMMON GROUNDS OF INADMISSIBILITY:
- Conviction or admitting use of any illicit drug (“controlled dangerous substance”)
- Conviction of 2 or more crimes in which the sentences of imprisonment add up to at least 5 years
- Prostitution and vice
- Conviction or admitting a crime involving moral turpitude – the list is very long and may be found by reviewing cases but essentially is defined as any act which is “inherently evil” such as
(2) Larceny; and
(3) Intent to harm persons or things.
HERE ARE SOME VERY COMMON GROUNDS FOR DEPORTATION:
- Conviction involving firearms or destructive devices
- Domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, neglect, or abandonment, and even violations of orders of protection
- Aggravated felonies (the list is very long and may be found at Section 101(a)(43) of the Immigration Act)
THIS IS HOW THE IMMIGRATION LAW DEFINES A CONVICTION:
- The Board of Immigration Appeals has interpreted this definition to also include an initial guilty plea.
THERE ARE WAIVERS for both crimes involving Deportability vs. Inadmissibility depending on circumstances.
Be sure to talk carefully with an immigration lawyer who has strong expertise in Deportation and Inadmissability if you are from another country and have had any run-ins with the police!