Intellectual disability: A quandary for immigration

Rachel Mills, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Current immigration options for individuals with intellectual disabilities do not adequately address their special needs and under existing immigration laws, intellectually disabled adult dependents of United States citizens suffer an excessive burden. This problem causes undue hardship of persons whose families lawfully reside in the United States or have the opportunity to immigrate to the United States. The aim of this review is to examine materials relevant to the issue and answer the question: What are the barriers and pathways for adults with intellectual disability within the family-based preference system under United States immigration law? Adults with intellectual disability are a vulnerable population that often relies upon family members to be their principle caregiver and provide financial support. Under the family-based preference system, the United States has maintained that the reunion of family members with their close relatives promotes the health and welfare of the United States, but a review of the number of findings of inadmissibility due to a mental/physical disorder with associated harmful behavior and the number of waivers granted show otherwise. The lack of reviewability of the decisions made by the Board of Immigration Appeals in addition to the lack of transparency surrounding the immigration process only serve to compound this problem.

Subject Area

Law|Public health

Recommended Citation

Mills, Rachel, "Intellectual disability: A quandary for immigration" (2011). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1505117.