US Immigration News

Inadmissibility and Deportability in the US

3.25 minute read
"Thousands of potential immigrants have to face problems in their immigration process due to past criminal convictions. However, based on your current status as a noncitizen, the criminal convictions will have a different effect on your immigration status in the United States."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Sep 3, 2021
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Thousands of potential immigrants have to face problems in their immigration process due to past criminal convictions. However, based on your current status as a noncitizen, the criminal convictions will have a different effect on your immigration status in the United States. 

Here’s when you need to understand the difference between the grounds (reasons) for inadmissibility and deportability. Inadmissibility makes you ineligible for permanent residency in the US and deportability may take away your current status as a permanent resident. Therefore, it is important to understand in detail how they are different and how they may lead to your removal from the US.

What Is Inadmissibility?

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the grounds of inadmissibility applies to foreign nationals seeking to enter the US and the right to stay in the US as a permanent or temporary resident. It can also apply to permanent residents returning to the US after a trip abroad. 

What Is Deportability?

According to Section 237 of the INA, the grounds of deportability apply to noncitizens already residing in the US on a temporary or permanent status. They also apply to individuals who entered the US without authorization and therefore, must be deported.  

How Does a Criminal Conviction Affect Your Immigration Status?

The consequences will be based on the type of conviction that you have and their current immigration status. Some criminal convictions have no impact on the permanent resident status in the US but may cause some problems if the permanent resident travels abroad. The grounds for inadmissibility also differ based on your situation and the type of conviction you have. You may be medically inadmissible. However, for this topic, we will only focus on criminal inadmissibility. 

Inadmissibility affects the following people when they are trying to enter the US:

  • Applicants for permanent residence
  • Undocumented immigrants
  • Lawful permanent residents returning from travel abroad
  • Applicants for renewal, change or Adjustment of Status 

The most common grounds for criminal inadmissibility include the following convictions:

  • Prostitution and vice
  • Crimes of moral turpitude like fraud, larceny, intent to harm property or persons, human trafficking, etc.

Common grounds for deportation include convictions for crimes involving firearms or destructive devices, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect or abandonment and violations of the order of protection among others. The grounds for deportation can also be based on the following convictions:

  • Aggravated felony convictions
  • Marriage fraud
  • Failing to notify a change of address to the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)

What You Should Know About Waivers for Inadmissibility and Deportability

An individual who is otherwise inadmissible or denied entry to the US can make an Application for Waiver of Grounds of Admissibility to the consular office, USCIS or the immigration court based on their situation. This application is available to foreign nationals who applied for permanent residence in the US but were denied entry due to inadmissibility.

The waiver is granted if a US citizen or permanent resident will go through “Extreme Hardship” if the individual’s inadmissibility isn’t waived. However, this is a discretionary relief and the burden of proof lies with the applicant to prove that they are eligible for such a relief. An individual can only file for a waiver a limited number of times. It is best to prepare the application with as few mistakes as possible the first time.

According to some of the grounds for deportability, it allows the removal of noncitizens for actions they committed while they were residing in the US. Other grounds may apply if the conviction occurs at any time after entering the US or within 5 years of entering the US. Since deportation applies to noncitizens already present in the US, they usually have certain constitutional protections and due process.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will commence the deportation proceedings based on your case. Sometimes the reason for deportation is clear like a noncitizen overstaying their temporary visa. Other times, criminal convictions are reported to the DHS by the state and federal authorities. It is best to face deportation proceedings with an immigration lawyer as it increases the likelihood of avoiding deportation or removal orders.

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