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National Security Issues

By: Warren & Associates

Grounds For InadmissabilityCertain people are "inadmissible" for purposes of entry into the United States, either as an immigrant or as a visitor. There are many reasons why a person could be considered inadmissible to receive a visa and enter the United States, including that the person's entry would jeopardize United States national security interests.

These grounds include people for whom there are reasonable grounds to believe that they will engage in espionage, sabotage, or terrorism while in the United States. It also includes people whose activities would threaten U.S. foreign policy or who are members of a totalitarian or Communist political party. Participation in Nazi persecutions or genocide will also render a person inadmissible. The only waiver available for these grounds is for certain people who were members of a totalitarian or Communist party.

Seeking Entry To Engage In Espionage, Sabotage, Or Other Unlawful Activity

An alien is inadmissible to the United States if he or she seeks entry with the purpose of engaging in espionage, sabotage, export of prohibited technology, any activity with a purpose of violent overthrow of the U.S. government, or "any other unlawful activity." The "unlawful activity" provision has been interpreted narrowly, including activities such as organized crime involvement.

An alien is inadmissible if he or she has engaged in terrorist activity. "Terrorist activity" is defined as any activity which is unlawful under the laws of the place where it is committed and which involves any one of a number of specific characteristics, including hijacking, sabotage, assassination, or the use of explosives. "Engaging" in terrorist activity includes a broad spectrum of actions.

An alien is also inadmissible if he or she is "likely to engage" in terrorist activity after entering the United States. Spouses and children of aliens inadmissible due to terrorist activities are also inadmissible themselves if the terrorist activity has occurred within the prior five years to the time that the spouse or children seek entry into the United States.

Adverse Foreign Policy Consequences

An alien is inadmissible if a potentially serious adverse foreign policy consequence would result from the alien's entry or proposed activity. There are two exceptions to this ground of inadmissibility. One, if an alien is an official of a foreign government, or a candidate for election to a foreign government office, the alien is not inadmissible on the basis of the alien's past, current, or expected beliefs, statements, or associations. Second, any other alien (who is not a foreign government official) can not be deemed inadmissible on the basis of his or her past, current, or expected beliefs, statements, or associations unless the U.S. Secretary of State personally determines that the alien's admission would compromise a compelling United States foreign policy interest. Aliens fitting into either of the two exception categories are deemed admissible.

Communist Or Totalitarian Party Membership

An alien is inadmissible if he or she is or has been a member of the Communist or any other totalitarian party. There are a few exceptions to this rule. One is if the aliens' membership: was involuntary, occurred when the alien was under 16 years of age, occurred by operation of law, or was for the purpose of obtaining employment, food rations, or other necessities. A second exception applies if the membership is a past membership, the membership terminated at least two years prior to entering the United States (five years in some cases of aliens from countries still controlled by totalitarian governments), and the alien is not a threat to the security of the United States. A third exception exists for an alien who is an immediate family member of a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

Participants In Nazi Persecutions Or Genocide

An alien is inadmissible if he or she participated in Nazi persecutions or any other activity considered to be "genocide" under international law. Genocide involves the specific intent to destroy a designated group of people who share a common characteristic, such as ethnicity or nationality.

Association with Terrorist Organizations

Finally, in addition to the category "engaging in terrorist activity" discussed above, any alien who is associated with a terrorist organization in any way is also inadmissible. The U.S. State Department maintains a list of organizations known to support or endorse terrorism. If an alien is associated with a terrorist organization and intends to engage in activities in the U.S. that could endanger the welfare, safety, or security of the United States, that alien is inadmissible.

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