Addiction goes beyond choice. It is not something that reflects poor choices that the person just continues to make, as many on the outside tend to assume. It goes much deeper than that.

In reality, experts refer to addiction as a medical condition, as a brain disease. It may have started out based on choice — someone decides to start drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs — but the impact of those drugs on the body is such that the brain develops a medical dependency. When that happens, it may be impossible for the person to break that addiction on their own.

With that in mind, it’s important to note that drug abuse and addiction are reasons for deportation in the United States. There are waivers that can be used, but the rule of thumb is that the United States can deport someone simply because they are struggling with addiction. They can also deny that person entry if they are trying to immigrate to the country and have not yet obtained permission. Everything else may get a green light, but they could still get denied.

Is this a fair stance? While drug use is illegal and alcohol addiction is dangerous, is an addiction — a medical disorder — really a good reason to deny someone entry or deport them, both of which could keep them from the medical care that they actually need? It is definitely a bit of a controversial topic that has been debated at length, but this is where it stands right now in a legal sense.

As such, those who get accused of drug abuse or addiction and worry about getting deported must know all of the legal options they have.