Grounds of Removability & Inadmissibility

Houston Deportation Removal Attorneys - Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham, P.C.

In recent years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including USCIS and ICE, has stepped up its enforcement of immigration law, especially in the area of deportation (removal). It is hardly a day goes by that there have not been new raids on employers and foreign workers alike. In addition, any criminal violation, irrespective of how minor such incident may be, an EWI (a person entered without inspection) will most likely be transfer to ICE’s detention center, located on Greens Road in Houston Texas, to be place in removal proceedings. The same can be said of those that violated their visa status, such as an H-1B specialty worker who loses his or her job in this competitive economy. Facing such difficult situations, aliens (foreign nationals) must understand their rights and obligations. Just because a person is of status, overstayed, or entered without inspection, it does not mean that such person does not have Constitutional rights.

In addition to government pressure, foreign nationals in the U.S. also face the growing public that are “anti-immigrants” and anti-immigration, irrespective if the person is an illegal or legal alien. There are few issues more polarizing than immigration. Irrespective of one’s opinion about the issue, everyone is entitled to the assistance of our Houston Deportation Defense Attorneys and our Houston Removal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham. when facing deportation. The Houston Immigration Removal Attorneys at Veritas understand that any such incident is extremely emotional and stressful to the foreign national and family members. Our Houston, Dallas, and Austin Deportation Defense Attorneys and Lawyers are patience, compassionate, and will work with you when you need assistance the most. Please contact one of our Houston Deportation Defense Lawyers for further assisatnce.

Criminal Convictions That Are Removable Offenses

The Illegal Immigrant Reform & Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) redefined the definition of grounds of inadmissibility (which criminal violation would deem removable). Removable foreign nationals are divided into two major categories. A person who committed an “Aggravated Felony” or a “Crime Involving Moral Turpitude” is a deportable alien. The terms “removable” and “deportable” are one of the same and are being used here synonymously.

Aggravated Felony Offenses

Under INA Section 101(a)(43), an “Aggravated Felony” includes serious crimes, such as murder, rape, or sexual abuse of a minor, illicit trafficking of a controlled substance, illicit trafficking of firearms or other explosive devises, money laundering if the amount of the funds exceeded $10,000, racketeering, child pornography, owning, controlling, managing, or supervising of a prostitution business, and espionage. It is no doubt that these crimes are serious in nature. Nevertheless, there are crimes in which the States may deem as a “misdemeanor” but that such criminal conviction is also defined as an aggravated felony. Some of the are as follow:

  • A crime of violence for which the term of imprisonment is one year or more;

  • A theft or burglary offense for which the term of imprisonment is one year or more;

  • Involvement in organized criminal activities in which the term of imprisonment is one year or more;

  • Fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victim or victims exceeds $10,000;

  • Assisting, abetting, or aiding only the alien's spouse, child, or parent to violate the Immigration and Naturalization Act;

  • A previously deported alien on the basis of a conviction defined under this statue;

  • Falsely making, forging, counterfeiting, mutilating, or altering a passport;

  • Those that are a removable alien under the INA, such as those that committed an aggravated felony or a crime involving moral turpitude (CIMT).

Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude (CIMT)

The INA and IIRIRA do not enumerate which crime would be considered “Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude.” Rather, over the past decade, federal courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), have ruled on various cases and determined the following crimes are those that are “crimes involving moral turpitude”:

  • Sexual and Violence Crimes - Assault with intent that the victim have an abortion or to commit carnal abuse, statutory rape, Public indecency, adultery, prostitution, bigamy, sodomy, aiding or assisting a minor to commit delinquency and/or sexual acts, and incest or indecency with a minor.

  • Crimes Against The Body of Another - Murder and/or intentional homicide, voluntary manslaughter, such as “crime of passion”, homicide by reckless conducts such as drunk-driving that involves the death of a victim, assault or attempted murder of government officials; carrying a concealed weapon with intent to use against another; assault with a deadly weapon or a weapon likely to produce bodily harm; interfering with a law peace officer with deadly force; attempting to obstruct Justice; and aggravated assault against a peace officer, attempted murder, kidnapping, and mayhem

  • Property Crimes - Attempted Arson, blackmail and extortion, forgery, such as theft by check (writing a check with intent to defraud) or forged prescription, making false statements of financial condition, such as a finance application for a credit card or a financial institution, robbery, embezzlement; and grand theft auto; petty theft, receiving or transporting stolen property, attempted fraud in which the maximum sentence is more than 1 year or the sentencing is more than 6 months, concealing Assets in Bankruptcy, encumbering mortgaged property with intent to defraud, illegal use of ATM or credit card; mail fraud; making false statements in applying for a firearm; securities fraud; welfare fraud; false pretenses; bribery; and malicious trespass.

  • Crimes Against Government Entities - Falsely issuing a narcotic prescription, bribery, counterfeits and security frauds, trafficking narcotics, failing to report income, kickbacks on government contracts, falsely representing Social Security Number; and false Statements to obtain unemployment benefits, inchoate crimes to violate IRS or immigration laws, smuggling, impersonating a peace officer, harboring a fugitive; mail fraud and wire fraud; making false statements to obtain a passport; intentionally making false statements for immigration benefits, perjury, receiving government funds through fraud and deception.

Grounds of Inadmissibility

INA Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act governs which foreign nationals are inadmissible. Of these, some the most common grounds of inadmissibility includes those that committed aggravated felonies and violation of immigration and nationality laws. Violation of immigration laws includes those that entered without inspections (EWI), immigration frauds, and persons who are considered “overstays.” It is important to note here that a person who is out of status does not necessary means that such person is an “over-stay.” The term “overstay” has a different meaning under immigration law, as well as different immigration consequences. An “overstay” is a person that has been out of status for 180 days or more. Such person may face up to 3 years statutory bar from coming back to the U.S. A person that is overstayed for at least 1 year or more will have a statutory bar for at least 10 years from coming back to the U.S. Those that committed aggravated felonies, as stated above, may be permanently barred from returning to the U.S. Additionally, certain aliens who pose serious health risks, such as tuberculosis, Hepatitis A-B, and other commutable diseases, are inadmissible to the U.S. Finally, those that are terrorist threats to the U.S. government and its civilians are inadmissible.

Section 212 of the INA also enumerates certain waivers from past criminal convictions, which includes drug crimes that involve the possession of marijuana that is less than 30 grams, certain fraud crimes, and health related waivers. Be sure to ask your U.S. Immigration Attorneys and your Houston Deportation Defense Lawyers if any waivers would be applicable to your case. Whether any such waiver, including the I-601 Inadmissibility Waiver, is available would be dependent upon the fact of each case. Your attorney would best advise you on applicable waivers and the application process.


Immigration Law is a vast area of law and every situation is unique. You should NOT rely on the limited information on this general site in replacing a personal consultation with an experienced Houston Green Card Application Lawyer or an experienced Houston Adjustment of Status Application Attorney. There may be legal issues, depending on the facts and circumstances, that go to the merit of the case, in which you may not be aware. Please feel free to give us a call at 713-517-6645 , or to contact us online, for more information. Call the Houston Immigration Attorneys and the Spring Houston Green Card Lawyers at the Law Offices of Steven Tuan Pham. today at 713-517-6645 or complete our Contact Form.

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