Sierra Stalinists Take Note: Laws Against Polygamous Drug-Addicted Immigrants Are Still On The Books! (They're Just Not Enforced.)
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Drug-addicted polygamists beware: you are not allowed to enter the United States. And even if you manage to slip in, you could be subject to deportation at any time!

Please let me explain this dire warning.

Currently, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the Sierra Club trying to figure out what correspondent and long-time Sierra Club member Brenda Walker could possibly have against importing foreign drug-addicted polygamists.  In fact, the Sierra Stalinists have told the press that they will expel Brenda from the club for expressing her deviationist opinion!

But it turns out that U.S. immigration law already settled the issue.

There are prohibitions against alien polygamists and drug addicts right there in cold print—in the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

In fact, the immigration of alien polygamists was banned as long ago as 1907.

Admitted illegal drug users and polygamists should take particular note of these sections:

  • "Any immigrant who is coming to the United States to practice polygamy is inadmissible." Immigration Act Section 212(a)(10)(A).

  • "[A]ny alien convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of . . . a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)), is inadmissible." Immigration Act Sections 212(a)(2)(A)(i) and (A)(i)(II).

All foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States must prove the negative—that they are not inadmissible under all grounds of inadmissibility in the Immigration Act.

Alien drug addicts and practicing polygamists are BOTH specifically barred from entering the United States.

Section 212(a) of the Immigration Act contains the laundry list of "Classes of Aliens Ineligible for Visas or Admission."  If a U.S. consular officer or immigration inspector determines that a particular alien applicant is inadmissible under any of the Section 212(a) grounds, then the alien will be "ineligible to receive visas and ineligible to be admitted to the United States."

So if an alien applying for admission admits to having three wives, or admits "the essential elements" of a criminal offense such as possessing or using an illegal controlled substance, the alien can be barred from entering the country.

And if a drug addict or polygamist manages miraculously to slip through, the alien could be put in deportation proceedings if it comes to the attention of the federal government that the alien was inadmissible under these same Section 212(a) grounds at the time the alien was admitted.

Even if a known polygamist were to be somehow admitted as a refugee—which is what Brenda Walker revealed that Mayor of  St. Paul's, Randy Kelly, was contemplating—he would still be barred from adjusting his status to that of a lawful permanent resident.

So why import polygamists, if they are also subject to removal at any time?   It just doesn't make sense.

Except for the fact that, as I have been reporting since 2001, the practical reality is that the bureaucratic odds against deportation remain solidly in the aliens' favor.

The chances are that Secretario Ridge and his crack immigration enforcement troops of the Department of Homeland Security aren't focusing too much attention on rooting out polygamists. And the federal litigation bureaucracy of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) probably has never ordered a polygamist removed under Immigration Act Section 212(a)(10)(A).

The immigration provisions barring polygamists or possible users of illegal controlled substances are just another example of America's growing list of non-enforced immigration laws—just like the provision that immigrants should be deported if they become a "public charge."

But these laws are still on the books—waiting to be enforced, someday. 

Juan Mann [send him email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of

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