What if he was a foreigner?

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
By: Jonathan MontagJ.D.

Martin Lawrence

Martin Lawrence was born in Germany, but is a U.S. citizen by derivation. He apparently was convicted after he was caught in the Burbank Airport while attempting to board an airplane with a 9 mm. Beretta in his carry-on. He got two years probation for this according to media reports. Firearms offenses are deportable offenses. INA § 237(a)(2)(C). News reports note a long criminal record yet no other convictions are noted in the media despite allegations of domestic violence and drug use, which are also deportable offenses. There are also reports of sexual battery, which under certain circumstances could render a person deportable on its own. Admitting to sexual battery, even with no conviction, could bar admission to the United States. Similarly, admission to drug use, also even with no conviction, is also a ground of inadmissibility.

Mr. Lawrence could be forgiven for the firearms offense if he was a permanent resident for five years and had seven years in the United States after a lawful admission. Because firearms offenses are not grounds of inadmissibility, he could also remain in the United States if he applied for and was granted permanent residence, even if he already was a permanent resident. He would need to have a U.S. citizen wife or adult (over 21 years old) son or daughter to do that. However, he is divorced and his daughter is not yet 21. Forgiveness is discretionary and all aspects of his life would have to be weighed in determining worthiness for it. I would give him extra points for Black Night, which I thought was a funny movie. Posted June 28, 2011.



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