Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 17.20 7. Firearm/Destructive Device Conviction

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A noncitizen is deportable for conviction after admission of violation of “any law of purchasing, selling, offering for sale, exchanging, using, owning, possessing, or carrying, or of attempting or conspiring to purchase, sell, offer for sale, exchange, use, own, possess, or carry, any weapon, part, or accessory which is a firearm or destructive device” as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a).[155]


      The firearms ground of deportation[156] has the following elements:


(1)       conviction

(2)       after admission

(3)       of attempting to commit, conspiring to commit, or of committing

(4)       a qualifying offense,

(5)       involving a weapon which “is” a firearm or destructive device, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(a).


This ground was added effective November 18, 1988.[157]  It has been amended several times since then.[158]  If the government cannot prove by clear and convincing evidence that each of these elements exists, the noncitizen is not deportable under this ground.  See § 17.9, supra.  For a detailed discussion of this ground, see § § 23.8-23.18, infra.


[155] INA § 237(a)(2)(C), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(C).

[156] INA § 237(a)(2)(C), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(C). 

[157] Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. No. 100-690, § 7348(a), 102 Stat. 4181.

[158] INA § 237(a)(2)(C), 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(C), as amended by the Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. No. 101-649, § 602, 104 Stat. 4978, 5077, as further amended by the Immigration and Nationality Technical Corrections Act of 1994, Pub. L. No. 103-416, § 203(b)(1), 108 Stat. 4305, 4311, as redesignated by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA) (enacted as Division C of Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997, Pub. L. No. 104-208, § 305(a)(2), 110 Stat. 3009, 3009-597).  The 1994 amendment added the words “attempting or conspiring.”