Introduction to 212(c) Waiver

In the intricate world of U.S. immigration law, the concept of inadmissibility claims plays a pivotal role. Inadmissibility refers to the legal grounds on which an individual can be denied entry into the United States or deported if already present. Understanding the reasons behind these claims and their implications is crucial, particularly in the post-212(c) waiver era. As an experienced immigration and criminal defense attorney practicing in New York and New Jersey, I have encountered countless cases involving inadmissibility claims, and I’m here to shed light on this intricate subject.

In my years of experience, I have found that one of the most common grounds for inadmissibility is the commission of certain crimes. The United States takes a serious stance on criminal activity, and this extends to immigration matters as well. It is important to note that not all crimes will make an individual inadmissible, but offenses such as drug trafficking, theft, and violent crimes are taken very seriously.

Another factor that can contribute to inadmissibility is a person’s health. The U.S. government wants to ensure that individuals entering the country do not pose a health risk to its citizens. Therefore, certain communicable diseases or conditions that could require extensive medical care and financial burden can result in being found inadmissible.

Financial factors can also come into play when it comes to inadmissibility claims. If an individual is found to be likely to become a public charge, meaning they may rely on government assistance for their financial needs, they can be denied entry or face deportation. This is to ensure that individuals entering the country have the means to support themselves and not be a burden on the public welfare system.

Additionally, individuals who have previously violated immigration laws or engaged in fraud or misrepresentation in obtaining a visa or other immigration benefits may also face inadmissibility claims. These acts reflect a lack of respect for the immigration process and can have severe consequences.

Understanding the intricate world of inadmissibility claims is essential for both immigrants and those working in the field of immigration law. By being aware of the various grounds for inadmissibility and their implications, we can ensure that everyone is well-informed and can navigate the immigration system with confidence.

Defining Inadmissibility

What is Inadmissibility?

Inadmissibility is a legal concept that renders an individual ineligible for admission to the United States or subjects them to deportation if they are already present in the country. It is essential to comprehend the various factors and grounds that can lead to a person being deemed inadmissible.

Legal Framework

Inadmissibility claims are governed by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), specifically under Section 212, which outlines the different grounds of inadmissibility. These grounds range from criminal convictions to health-related issues and can be further subdivided into numerous categories, making it a complex area of immigration law.

Common Reasons for Inadmissibility

Criminal Convictions

One of the most prevalent reasons for inadmissibility is a criminal conviction. Individuals with certain criminal records may be barred from entering or staying in the United States. Crimes such as drug trafficking, fraud, and crimes of moral turpitude are among those that can trigger inadmissibility claims.

Immigration Violations

Violations of immigration laws, such as visa overstays or illegal entry, can also lead to inadmissibility claims. Individuals who have previously been deported and attempt to reenter the U.S. without proper authorization can face these claims as well.

Health-Related Grounds

Inadmissibility can also be based on health-related grounds. Individuals with certain communicable diseases may be considered inadmissible, as their presence could pose a public health risk.

Security Concerns

National security concerns are another factor leading to inadmissibility. Individuals associated with terrorism or extremist activities may be subject to inadmissibility claims.

Implications of Inadmissibility


The most immediate consequence of an inadmissibility claim is the possibility of deportation. If an individual is already in the United States, they may be placed in removal proceedings, which can ultimately lead to their removal from the country.

Bar from Reentry

Inadmissibility can result in a temporary or permanent bar from reentering the United States. The length of the bar depends on the specific grounds for inadmissibility and whether a waiver is available.

Limited Relief Options

Individuals facing inadmissibility claims often have limited options for relief. While waivers may be available in certain cases, the eligibility criteria are stringent, making it challenging for many to obtain relief.

The Post-212(c) Waiver Era

Historical Context

The 212(c) waiver was a critical relief mechanism for lawful permanent residents facing deportation due to certain criminal convictions. However, it was eliminated in 1996 with the enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). This change significantly impacted the options available to individuals facing inadmissibility claims.

Current Landscape

In the absence of the 212(c) waiver, individuals with criminal convictions must explore alternative relief options, such as cancellation of removal or asylum. Understanding these alternatives is crucial for attorneys and individuals navigating the complex immigration landscape.

One aspect that hasn’t been discussed in depth is the impact of inadmissibility claims on families and their overall well-being. When an individual is deemed inadmissible or faces deportation, it can tear families apart and cause immense emotional and financial hardship. Children may be separated from their parents, and spouses may be forced to navigate life without their partners. Additionally, families may struggle to access the necessary resources and support systems they need during these challenging times. It is crucial to acknowledge the human element of inadmissibility claims and consider the devastating effects they can have on families.


Inadmissibility claims remain a challenging aspect of U.S. immigration law, with significant consequences for individuals and families. As an immigration and criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in New York and New Jersey, I have witnessed the profound impact of inadmissibility claims on the lives of my clients. It is imperative for legal practitioners and individuals alike to have a comprehensive understanding of the reasons behind these claims and the available relief options in the post-212(c) waiver era. By staying informed and seeking legal counsel, individuals facing inadmissibility claims can better navigate the complexities of U.S. immigration law and work towards achieving their immigration goals.

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