What Happens When A Legal Immigrant Is Caught With An Illegal Firearm?
When a legal immigrant is caught with an illegal firearm, they can face several penalties. Each one of these penalties can, and will, affect this immigrant’s future in the United States.
What Are The Penalties For An Immigrant Who Is Caught With An Illegal Firearm?
A variety of penalties exist for an immigrant who is caught with an illegal firearm. Some of the most notable penalties an immigrant found in this situation can face are as follows:
- Being deported back to their home country.
- Being charged with an aggravated felony.
Each one of these penalties is a very real possibility for immigrants caught with an illegal firearm.
Being Deported For Being Caught With An Illegal Firearm
Every immigrant who is caught with an illegal firearm faces a significant risk of being deported. But, in order for an immigrant to be deported for this crime, the following must occur:
- The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency – or “ICE,” for short – must prove that it is a crime of moral turpitude.
A “crime of moral turpitude” is a morally reprehensible action that is intrinsically wrong. Some of the intentions that turn a crime into a crime of moral turpitude are as follows:
- The intent to deprive someone of their property.
- The intent to cause bodily harm to another person.
- The intent to defraud an individual.
Since crimes of moral turpitude are deportable crimes, if an immigrant possesses an illegal firearm as a means to accomplish one of the above intentions, they can be deported.
Even though deportation is a possibility, it is unlikely, as ICE must prove that the immigrant did, in fact, commit a crime of moral turpitude. This is quite challenging and, as such, it is likely that an immigrant will be given another sentence.
Being Charged With An Aggravated Felony For Being Caught With An Illegal Firearm
Even though many immigrants are not charged with a crime of moral turpitude, when caught possessing an illegal firearm, an aggravated felony charge is not uncommon.
Some of the most notable consequences of an aggravated felony charge are as follows:
- Being deported from the United States.
- Being forbidden to enter the United States.
- Being unable to seek permanent residency.
Each one of these consequences is quite significant. But, fortunately, an aggravated felony charge is not a guarantee, even if an immigrant is found with an illegal firearm.
Rather, possessing an illegal firearm is only guaranteed if the firearm was used to commit crimes involving the following:
- Drug trafficking.
- Acts of violence.
- Significant theft.
Other crimes can be considered aggravated felonies, but these are the most common.
Given the reasons above, an immigrant who possesses an illegal firearm and commits one of the following actions can, and will, have their immigration status permanently damaged.
Speak With A Houston Immigration Lawyer
Being caught with an illegal firearm can, and will, affect your future in the United States. Speak with a Houston immigration lawyer today and we will assist you in staying in the United States.