Texas Drug Convictions and their Immigration Consequences

Any Texas drug conviction carries very harsh consequences for Immigration purposes. A conviction for a drug conviction makes you inadmissible to the United States for both entry and permanent residency. Moreover, it also makes you deportable. However, certain noncitizens with one simple possession can avoid some of the harsh consequences.

For noncitizens who are also not permanent residents in Texas, a drug conviction can make it very difficult to ever get legal status. You are only entitled to get a waiver or pardon for simple possession of marijuana of 30 grams or less. This means that if you have possession of another illegal type of drug in Texas, you will not have a way to come to the United States or get legal status. An alien would have to demonstrate that his or her removal from the United States would result in extreme hardship to his or her United States citizen or lawful resident parent, spouse, son, or daughter. In evaluating extreme hardship to a qualifying relative, factors that are considered include, but are not limited to: whether the qualifying relative has family ties to this country; the extent of the qualifying relative’s family ties outside the United States; conditions in the country of removal; financial impact of departure from this country; and significant health conditions, particularly when tied to an unavailability of suitable medical care in the country to which the qualifying relative would relocate. Matter of Cervantes, 22 I&N Dec. 560, 566 (BIA 1999); see also INS v. Jong Ha Wang, 450 U.S. 139 (1981).

For noncitizens who are also permanent residents in Texas, a Texas drug conviction makes it difficult to keep his or her legal status. One Texas State Jail Felony or misdemeanor for possession of an illegal drug still gives you a fighting chance to keep your status. Two drug possession convictions make it very difficult. Moreover, the timing of the conviction is crucial. Any noncitizen with a drug conviction must consult with an attorney before attempting any application with immigration or the immigration court.