Bars to Admission & Deportable/Inadmissible Issues

Did you know that being arrested for ceratin crimes, not having "Good Moral Character" (GMC), could serve as bars to admission, in some cases form the basis for removal (deportation) from the United States? Being arrested for certain offense can make even a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR/Green Card Holder) deportable. For instance an LPR convicted of an aggravated felony or two Crimes Involving Moral Turptitude (CIMT) without any exceptions to the rules on CIMT can be placed in Removal proceedings. On this page we discuss some of the most common bars to admission or issues that could trigger inadmissibility. Contact us to schedule a free consultation and to determine your legal options. You can expedite this process by completing our Immigration Intake Form or Call CLG at 888-332-3136 

Good Moral Character (GMC) 

GMC has the potential to impact many different applications before USCIS or the EOIR. Understanding the nuances of GMC, how it's determined, and its implications is crucial for navigating the immigration process successfully. GMC is not explicitly defined in the INA, leading to its interpretation through case law and by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and EOIR guidelines.

 Generally, it refers to the character shown by a person through their actions and behavior, demonstrating adherence to societal and legal norms and an absence of behaviors deemed harmful or unethical. Factors Affecting GMC Determination USCIS considers various factors and conducts a thorough review of an applicant's history and behavior during the statutory period when determining GMC: Criminal History: Committing certain crimes can lead to a presumption that an individual lacks GMC. This includes crimes involving moral turpitude, aggravated felonies, drug offenses, and offenses related to alcohol, such as DUIs, if they reflect poorly on one's character. Honesty and Integrity: Truthfulness in dealings with USCIS and other government agencies is crucial. Fraudulent actions, false testimony, or deception in immigration applications can negatively impact GMC. Conditional Bars and Permanent Bars to GMC Conditional Bars: Certain conditions, if met during the statutory period, might temporarily bar an applicant from proving GMC. These include acts like habitual drunkenness, and engaging in illegal gambling. Permanent Bars: There are also permanent bars to GMC, where certain actions or convictions forever preclude an applicant from establishing GMC, such as murder or involvement in Nazi persecutions. 

Aggravated Felonies

The designation of Aggravated Felonies within the context of U.S. immigration law, significantly impacts an individual's immigration status and eligibility for relief. An aggravated felony, according to the INA, includes crimes that Congress has deemed particularly severe and detrimental to the country's welfare. Over the years, the list of offenses classified as aggravated felonies has been expanded to include not only serious crimes but also offenses that might be considered misdemeanors or not even felonies under state law. 

Categories of Aggravated Felonies: The INA specifies numerous categories of crimes that are considered aggravated felonies, including, but not limited to: 

Murder, Rape, Sexual Abuse of a Minor: These are among the most serious offenses classified as aggravated felonies. 

Drug Trafficking: Includes the illicit manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing of a controlled substance, or possession with intent to distribute. 

Firearms Trafficking: Involves the illicit trafficking in firearms or destructive devices. 

Theft or Burglary: Convictions for theft or burglary offenses can be classified as aggravated felonies if the term of imprisonment is at least one year. 

Fraud or Deceit: Offenses involving fraud or deceit where the loss to the victim(s) exceeds $10,000. 

Money Laundering: Transactions exceeding $10,000 derived from unlawful activities. 

Crimes of Violence: Offenses that have as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, and where the term of imprisonment is at least one year. 

Immigration Consequences of Aggravated Felonies: The immigration consequences for non-citizens convicted of an aggravated felony are severe and include: Deportability and Inadmissibility. Additionally, a conviction of an aggravated felony constitutes a bar to eligibility for asylum and cancellation of removal. Finally, individuals convicted of aggravated felonies are permanently barred from establishing good moral character, a requirement for naturalization.


CIMTs are offenses that reflect inherently base, vile, or depraved conduct, contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed to persons or society in general. These crimes are typically those that involve: 

Fraud or Deceit: The intent to defraud is often considered to involve moral turpitude. 

Theft: Crimes involving the intentional taking of property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of it. 

Intent to Harm Persons or Things: Crimes where there is an intention to cause serious bodily harm, or actions that recklessly disregard the welfare of others, may be considered CIMTs. 

Impact on Immigration Status: The implications of being convicted of or admitting to a CIMT are significant in immigration which includes 

Inadmissibility (An individual may be deemed inadmissible to the U.S. for committing a CIMT, with some exceptions based on the severity of the offense and the age of the conviction); 

Deportability: Legal permanent residents and other non-citizens can be subject to removal if convicted of a CIMT within five years of admission to the U.S. or if convicted of two or more CIMTs at any time. 

Bar to Good Moral Character (GMC): A conviction for a CIMT can be a bar to establishing GMC, an essential requirement for naturalization and certain forms of relief from removal. 

Exceptions to CIMT: The law provides for several exceptions where a CIMT might not lead to immigration consequences: these include: 

Petty Offense Exception: This applies if the individual has committed only one CIMT, the sentence did not exceed one year, and the individual was not sentenced to time in custody of more than six months. 

Youthful Offender Exception: Crimes committed under the age of 18 and more than five years before the U.S. immigration application may be exempted. 

Political Offense Exception: Certain political offenses may not be considered CIMTs depending on the circumstances and the nature of the political action. 

Determining What Constitutes a CIMT Determining whether a specific offense is a CIMT involves analyzing the statutory definition of the offense, the elements of the crime, and, often, the specific facts surrounding the individual's conviction. The analysis is highly case-specific and can vary significantly across jurisdictions due to differences in state laws and the interpretation of similar offenses.

Addresing GMC, CIMT & Aggravated Felony Issues

These issues should be taken very seriously as they could have significant consequences concerning an individuals ability to adjust status in the U.S., be ordered removed from the U.S and be permanently ineligible to return to the U.S. For instance, with GMC, Understanding and proving good moral character is a nuanced and critical component of many immigration processes. It requires a careful examination of an applicant's past and present actions. Similarly, navigating the complexities of CIMTs requires a nuanced understanding of both immigration and criminal law. to determine what exceptions if any are applicable or whether the charged criminal offenses is even a CIMT.  Finally, The classification of an offense as an aggravated felony converges "the intersection" of criminal and immigration law, emphasizing the importance of competent legal representation. Our law firm is knowledgable in addressing the complexities associated with aggravated felony convictions, offering comprehensive legal strategies aimed at mitigating the adverse immigration consequences and pursuing available relief to protect the rights and future of affected individuals.


Please remember that ALL information and content (“Content”) on this website are provided for informational purposes only. None of this website’s content should be construed as a legal opinion, advice, or substitute for obtaining independent legal advice from a licensed attorney. Additionally, please be advised that visiting this site and or communicating with the CLG team does not establish an Attorney-Client relationship or create Attorney-Client privilege.