U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently released new guidance on health-related grounds for inadmissibility, which calls for stricter standards toward immigrants who have been arrested for driving under the influence. Before providing details on the new policy, however, an explanation of inadmissibility is given.
Inadmissibility in Immigration
For those who are not currently residing in the United States, and who wish to enter, they must be inspected to be ‘admitted’. Individuals will be examined by a Customs and Border Patrol officer at the immigrant’s place of entry to see if they fulfill the criteria set out by the Immigration and Nationality Act, and to ensure that they are not found inadmissible through a number of different grounds. A non-U.S. citizen can be denied admission into the United States or denied an adjustment of status to a lawful permanent resident if that person is found to be within one of USCIS’s grounds for inadmissibility.
Grounds for inadmissibility apply to non-citizens who have not been admitted into the U.S. People who have not been admitted into the United States include those who are seeking permission to enter the U.S. from an airport or seaport, people who entered the United States illegally, those who are applying for an adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident, and, in some cases, people who have committed some negative act within the United States, traveled abroad, and are now seeking re-entry.
Grounds for Inadmissibility
There are a number of ways one can be found inadmissible into the United States. These include health-related grounds, criminal grounds, national security grounds, those who have a record of undocumented entry, and a final classification called ‘miscellaneous,’ which includes people coming to the United States for polygamy, and those who have renounced their U.S. citizenship for tax purposes. You can find more details on grounds for inadmissibility here. For the purposes of this entry, however, we will focus on the health-related grounds for inadmissibility.
Health-Related Grounds for Inadmissibility
People who have a communicable disease that may pose a health risk to the public can be deemed inadmissible. Diseases that will prevent an immigrant from entering the United States include syphilis, cholera, and smallpox. All of the diseases that trigger inadmissibility are determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Through a USCIS policy change released earlier this week, however, if a non-citizen has an arrest for one DUI within the past five years, he or she will be tested for alcohol abuse disorders. If it is found that the person has an alcohol abuse disorder and that harmful behavior associated with the disorder is likely to recur, he or she may be deemed inadmissible.
This is a nuanced, but important change to USCIS policy that may affect many people. If you have any questions on inadmissibility or entry into the United States, contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.
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