Consequences of criminal activities when crossing the U.S. border
1. Drug violations: Violators of laws and regulations pertaining to
controlled substances (under U.S. federal law) are inadmissible if they
have a conviction, admit to a conviction or admit to the essential elements
of a crime. Therefore, if a foreign national admits to smoking marijuana, a
federally controlled substance in the U.S., he can be found inadmissible. A
foreign national who has been found guilty under a statute for possession
of a controlled substance (not drug trafficking), is not, however, inadmissible if she was under 18 when the offence occurred, as such an action would be an act of juvenile delinquency
3. Human trafficking: No charge or conviction is required for a foreign national to be found inadmissible for human trafficking, if the U.S. government has reason to believe that a foreign national is involved in these activities. Family members who benefit or have benefited from the proceeds in the past five years are also inadmissible, except sons and daughters who were minors at the time.
4. Prostitution and vice: Foreign nationals planning to engage in prostitution or other unlawful commercialized vice are not admissible. Further, a foreign national who has been involved within the last 10 years in prostitution (including procuring or importing prostitutes), including receiving proceeds, is inadmissible. It is important to note that no charge or conviction is required for this ground of inadmissibility.
5. Religious freedom violations by foreign officials: No charge or conviction is required for a foreign government official to be found inadmissible for committing particularly severe violations of religious freedom.
6. Money laundering: If a U.S. government official has reason to believe that a foreign national is engaged in money laundering, that is enough to result in inadmissibility.
7. Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT): If one has a conviction, admits to a conviction or admits to the essential elements of a CIMT, he may be found to be inadmissible. In order to determine if a specific action is a CIMT, an examination and assessment of the relevant statute must be made. CIMT’s are actions that are base, evil or depraved, and can be violations against the state, another individual or property. Acts of juvenile delinquency are not CIMTs. However, not all violations of criminal law by minors are defined as acts of juvenile delinquency. There are limited exceptions for crimes committed by minors, and the petty offence exception, for a single conviction for a CIMT.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from our firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.