"Admissibility" is a legal requirement for foreign nationals to be admitted for entry into the United States. The US immigration laws have many provisions related to conditions for admissibility and there are many facts and circumstances that will make a person "inadmissible." One such circumstance is a finding, under section 212(a)(2)(c)(i), by a consular official that the person seeking entry is a suspected trafficker in controlled substances. The legal standard is that the official "knows" or “has reason to believe” that the person seeking entry is a suspected trafficker in controlled substances or that the person knowingly assisted, abetted, conspired with or colluded with others in such trafficking of controlled substances. If a consular official makes this determination, the person will be deemed inadmissible and denied entry. Note that no court conviction or other official adjudication is necessary. Inadmissibility on these grounds is made by a consular or other immigration official.
In general, it is not possible to obtain a waiver for inadmissibility based on a finding that a person is a suspected trafficker.
However, there are strategies to challenge the finding if it can be shown that the consular official's decision was erroneous, particularly if the basis is "reason to believe." In simple terms, if it can be demonstrated that the consular official did not have actual evidence to support their belief that a person was engaged in or abetting/aiding controlled substance trafficking, then the appeal can be successful. Further, not all evidence is sufficient to support a “reason to believe” finding.
Federal courts have held that the appropriate way of measuring whether a consular or immigration official had "reason to believe" is to determine whether "substantial evidence" exists that supports the determination. "Substantial evidence" means that the determination by the immigration official must be based on actual evidence that is
- Reasonable -- that is, not mere speculation or a "gut feeling"
- Substantial -- that is, more than just one piece of evidence
- Probative -- evidence directly related to the alleged drug trafficking not related to something else
Examples where courts have found substantial evidence to support an immigration officials "reason to believe" include:
- Where the person seeking entry had previously pleaded guilty to narcotics trafficking
- Where the person seeking entry attempted to drive a car, given to him by a man he knew to be a drug smuggler whom he had met only four days earlier, across the border carrying 86 pounds of marijuana in a concealed compartment
- Where the person seeking entry knew his friend was storing 40 pounds of marijuana in his apartment, knew the friend was also storing a scale, packaging materials and two guns and still continued to allow his home to be used by the friend
As can be seen, it is difficult to successfully appeal a determination of inadmissibility due to section 212(a)(2)(c)(i), but it can be done with the help of dedicated and experienced immigration attorneys.
Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today
For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.