Even if no questions are asked at the port of entry, are non-citizens admitted once waved through?
The American Immigration Council advises that, to be admitted, if a non-citizen has…
- physically presented themselves for inspection
- has not made a false claim related to citizenship of the United States
- been inspected and permitted to enter the United States
…then yes, the non-citizen has been admitted into the United States even if the officer who administers the inspection does not ask a single question. The individual at this point has committed an entry without inspection (EWI). In fact, at port of entries, it is common for non-citizens to be waved through inspection without questioning.
The Matter of Areguillin
Ms Areguillin, a non-citizen passenger of a car, had no entry documents in her possession. She was not questioned and did not offer any information. The driver was questioned by the inspection agent and the car was allowed to pass. Some time later, Ms Areguillin married a US Citizen.
During her deportation proceeding to determine if her entry was an admission for the purpose of adjustment of status, the Board of Immigration Appeals confirmed that Ms Areguillin, a non-citizen, was inspected when she presented herself in person for questioning and made no false claims regarding United States Citizenship, regardless that she provided no information or was not asked any questions. Furthermore, Ms Areguillin was admitted when the inspecting agent either verbally or via physical gesture allowed her to enter the United States. She was found to have been inspected and admitted for the purpose of adjustment of status.
Some time later, in the Matter of Quilantan, the Board reached the decision that the admission recognized in the Matter of Areguillin, was the definition of admission. Under both these matters, a non-citizen who physically presents themselves for inspection at a border or port of entry and does not make a false claim with regards to being a US Citizen and are allowed to enter the United States are admitted. This is the case even if they are not questioned by an immigration officer or if they do not have documentation for valid entry. The term admission requires only the process and does not require substantive compliance.