New Rules for Admission and Potential Bars to A Green Card (Part I)

Since the new Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (“IIRAIRA”) does away with the term “excludable,” the new law refers to individuals who are either “inadmissible” or “removable/deportable.”

Under prior law, the grounds of excludability included individuals who: had communicable diseases; have or had mental or physical disorder that posed a threat to others or themselves; have a drug addiction; had committed a crime of moral turpitude; had a drug conviction; etc. Under the IIRAIRA, several new grounds of inadmissibility have been incorporated into the Immigration Act.

The first of these is, effective immediately, a requirement that all individuals who seek to adjust status to that of lawful permanent resident or who otherwise seek to be admitted to the U.S. as an lawful permanent resident from a U.S. consulate in a foreign country will need to show documentation of having been vaccinated against several diseases including at least the following: measles, mumps, rubella, polio, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, influenza B and hepatitis B. Other vaccinations may also be included later, so it is important to read all INS notices and perhaps consult an attorney for the most current information.

A second new ground for inadmissibility is if the individual has received a final order of having committed any violation which may be characterized as document fraud. Acts which constitute document fraud include: making counterfeit documents, using counterfeit documents, using a document lawfully issued to someone else, accepting or providing a false document or a document lawfully issued to a person other than the possessor, preparing a false document for filing with the INS with knowledge of the falsity of the document, and producing a document in order to board an airplane but failing to produce it later at the port of entry. If the alien has ever been convicted of having committed document fraud, he is deemed to be inadmissible. This section will become effective on April 1 and may even cause legal permanent residents who have previously been convicted of document fraud to not be readmitted into the U.S.

A discretionary waiver of this section is permitted for two kinds of individuals. The first is someone who is already legal permanent resident and who is not in deportation or removal proceedings is attempting to re-enter the United States after a trip and the second is someone who is seeking to adjust status or enter as an immigrant. Both of these persons must fit the following guidelines to be eligible for the waiver:

(1)They cannot have been fined for the document fraud violation; and

(2) the offense must have been committed in order to assist the alien’s spouse or child. However, the waivers for these two types of cases are not guaranteed. They are only discretionary and may or may not be granted by an immigration officer.

A third additional ground of inadmissibility is for immigrants who falsely claim that they are U.S. citizens for the purpose of obtaining any benefit under any state or federal law. For instance, a person who admits that, sometime on or after October 1, 1996 he told an immigration officer that he was a citizen in order to return to the U.S. after a visit to Mexico is inadmissible.

Other newly established groups of people who are inadmissible include: individuals who have voted without authorization in any federal, state or local elections; former citizens who have renounced their citizenship in order to evade tax laws; and persons who have incited terrorist activity under circumstances likely to cause death or serious bodily harm.

Next time, I will write about certain acts that will cause one to be inadmissible for a limited periods of time. Also, we will look at new classes of persons who are now considered to be removable aliens.