Discretionary Waivers of Criminal Grounds of Inadmissibility Under INA § 212(h) [May 27, 2021] [open pdf - 745KB]
From the Document: "Federal immigration laws provide for the exclusion and removal of non-U.S. nationals ('aliens,' as the term is used in the Immigration and Nationality Act [hyperlink] [INA]) who lack authorization to enter or remain in the United States. The grounds for removal differ depending on whether an alien has already been lawfully admitted into the country. Those who have not yet been admitted--whether applying for a visa from abroad to come to the United States, initially presenting themselves at a U.S. port of entry, or found in the country after entering surreptitiously--may be removed if they fall within any of the grounds of inadmissibility listed under INA § 212(a) [hyperlink], including on account of committing enumerated criminal offenses. These inadmissibility grounds--particularly those relating to criminal activity--are cross-referenced by a host of other INA provisions relevant to unadmitted 'and' admitted aliens alike, including provisions establishing aliens' eligibility for relief from removal (e.g., asylum) and their ability to adjust to lawful permanent resident [hyperlink] (LPR) status. INA § 212(h) [hyperlink] enables immigration authorities to waive many criminal grounds of inadmissibility in some circumstances, but a waiver applicant must meet various eligibility requirements, must not be subject to certain bars to relief, and, ultimately, must show that relief is warranted as a matter of discretion. This Legal Sidebar discusses the scope of waiver authority under INA § 212(h)."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10603
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/