Why you may be inadmissible to the U.S. for crimes committed decades ago.
BASIS FOR INADMISSIBILITY
Because there is no statute of limitations, detrimental reliance, unclean hands , or other black letter Criminal law principals applied to U.S. Immigration law. A person who has committed a criminal conviction that is a basis of inadmissibility to the U.S. is inadmissible regardless of when it was committed or how many times they have since entered the U.S.. Our office has seen numerous cases involving clients with relatively minor offenses committed twenty to thirty years prior to their stop at a U.S. port of entry.
NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
U.S. Immigration law is Administrative law, not Criminal law. Many of the legal principals that protect the rights of criminal defendants don’t apply to Immigration law. There is no statute of limitations for instance, precluding the prosecution of an offense after a substantial lapse in time. The one constitutional protection most often available to visa violators is for due process violations under the 5th amendment, and to a lesser extent the 4th amendment’s protection against undo searches and seizures. (Stops / arrests made by ICE and Customs officers are legal unless they are “Egregious” in nature)
BCBP uses several databases to determine a visitors admissibility. Most often an inspector checks the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) for any recent posts such as warrants , lookouts, or other reports by a law enforcement agency. If there is no recent activity for the visitor, inspectors usually look no further into the visitors background. But if a more extensive check of TECS is conducted, a more complete history of arrests and convictions may be revealed.
For those visitors found inadmissible due to a criminal history, they are usually refused entry and referred for a hearing before an immigration Judge, and told that they may file an application for a waiver of inadmissibility. If the criminal record is historic, the visitor is likely to receive a waiver.