A number of people are considered “inadmissible” by the United States. These individuals cannot enter the country as immigrants, refugees, or asylum seekers because they failed to meet the requirements for admissibility. Among the primary reasons for inadmissibility are the following:
- Communicable diseases: These include tuberculosis, AIDS, and other serious diseases that can easily be transmitted. The reason is obvious; someone carrying a serious or deadly disease can infect others and potentially endanger the health of large numbers of people. It is possible for someone with a serious communicable disease to have a finding of inadmissibility overturned, if he or she can prove that the disease in question has been cured. For some incurable diseases, such as AIDS, it is possible to get a waiver.
- Criminal record: Those found to have committed “aggravated felonies” are generally denied admission to the United States. Aggravated felonies include serious crimes such as murder, rape, and drug trafficking; they also include treason, espionage, and terrorist activities. Clearly the U.S. Government does not want to admit people who may commit violent crimes or engage in subversive activities. In some cases an asylum seeker can get a waiver, also known as a”Withholding of Removal.” Someone accused of an aggravated felony but whose sentence ran less than five years and whose crime has been deemed “not serious” by a judge may be eligible for this protection.
- Physical and mental disorders: As with communicable diseases, decisions based on physical or mental disorders can be overturned if the asylum seeker can prove that the condition has been cured or is under control. In some cases, as well, waivers may be granted.
- People likely to become dependent on welfare: The United States does not wish to encourage people to seek asylum if they are unwilling to become productive citizens. While it is not obligatory for the asylum seeker to have a job waiting, it is important that those seeking asylum are doing so for legitimate reasons, not merely to gain entry into a country with more benefits for the jobless.
- Terrorists and spies: Anyone who is likely to engage in subversive activity against the United States will be denied asylum. There are no waivers available under these circumstances.
Individuals who wish to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility do not need to disprove the grounds of inadmissibility; in other words, the premise is that the asylum seeker will be granted asylum despite a situation that would normally result in inadmissibility. Asylum seekers who do wish to disprove their inadmissibility may do so. For example, those undergoing an INS medical exam may challenge the findings if INS says there are certain medical conditions that would prohibit asylum. The key to making a successful appeal is having strong documentation.