Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 21.3 A. Inadmissibility

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All noncitizens, even those with green cards, can be subject to the grounds of inadmissibility.  Inadmissibility is generally triggered when the noncitizen is outside the United States, seeking to enter, or when the noncitizen is trying to change immigration status (e.g., get a green-card).  The burden of proof is usually on the noncitizen to show by clear and convincing evidence that s/he is not subject to a ground of inadmissibility.  For more on inadmissibility, see Chapter 18, infra.


                There are seven separate drug-related grounds of inadmissibility that can prevent your clients from re-entering the United States if they leave, or prevent them from getting a green card:


(a)                    Controlled Substances Conviction

(b)                    Admission of a Controlled Substances Offense

(c)                     Crime of Moral Turpitude Conviction

(d)                    Admission of a Crime of Moral Turpitude

(e)                     “Reason to Believe” Noncitizen is or was a Drug Trafficker

(f)                     Family Members of Noncitizens DHS has “Reason to Believe” is or was a Drug Trafficker

(g)                     Drug Abuse or Addiction


Only two of the seven [(a) and (c)] require a criminal conviction.  There are very few forms of relief available to waive drug offenses as grounds of inadmissibility.  See § 21.16, infra.


                Another ground of inadmissibility, for noncitizens convicted of two or more criminal offenses of any type for which the aggregate sentences to confinement were five years or more, may also apply to your client.[17]  See § 18.15, supra.

[17] INA § 212(a)(2)(B), 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(B).