Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 18.3 A. Inadmissibility vs. Deportability

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While a set of deportation grounds exists to remove noncitizens who were legally “admitted” to the United States, a separate set of inadmissibility grounds exists to remove noncitizens who are seeking admission to the United States or entered the United States without having been “admitted.”  While there are some similarities between these two lists, there are many important differences.  The deportation grounds are discussed generally in § § 17.12-17.30, supra.  The grounds of inadmissibility are discussed in this chapter in § § 18.11-18.27, infra.


                For many noncitizens, it may be that their criminal conviction or conduct does not trigger any ground of deportation, but could trigger a ground of inadmissibility.  If a client falls within this group, counsel should advise that client not to leave the United States unless and until s/he can become a United States Citizen or otherwise negate the possibility of being found inadmissible for that conduct.

                The forms of relief available to a noncitizen in immigration court may (but do not always) differ depending upon whether s/he is subject to inadmissibility or deportability.[15]  Noncitizens in inadmissibility proceedings generally bear the burden of proving they are not inadmissible, while the DHS generally bears the burden to must show that a criminal conviction or conduct triggers deportation.

[15] See § 18.9, infra.