Federal Immigration Crimes

Criminal Immigration Attorney

According to the Pew Research Center, there are currently 12.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States. Last year, according to ICE, 177,960 of the illegal immigrants that were deported had criminal convictions.

While Visa overstay is not itself a crime, there are a number of immigration-related federal offenses.

Improper Entry by Alien

Under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(a), any alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall, for the first commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

Marriage Fraud

As commonly known, the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens may obtain permanent residency or Green Card. Marriage fraud occurs when the marriage is contract under false pretenses, in order to avoid the immigration laws of the United States.

Under 8 U.S.C. § 1325(c), any individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined not more than $250,000, or both.

USCIS is also authorized to cancel any citizenship or naturalization certificate in cases where it is deemed that the certificate was illegally obtained or created by fraud.

Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents

Under 18 U.S. Code § 1546,

  • whoever knowingly forges, counterfeits, alters, or falsely makes any immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, permit, border crossing card, alien registration receipt card, or other document prescribed by statute or regulation for entry into or as evidence of authorized stay or employment in the United States (…),
  • whoever, personates another, or falsely appears in the name of a deceased individual, or evades or attempts to evade the immigration laws by appearing under an assumed or fictitious name without disclosing his true identity (…),
  • whoever knowingly makes under oath, or as permitted under penalty of perjury, knowingly subscribes as true, any false statement with respect to a material fact in any application, affidavit, or other document required by the immigration laws or regulations prescribed thereunder, or knowingly presents any such application, affidavit, or other document which contains any such false statement or which fails to contain any reasonable basis in law or fact (…)

shall be fined or imprisoned not more than 25 years if the offense was committed to facilitate an act of international terrorism, 20 years if the offense was committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime, 10 years in the case of the first or second such offense, if the offense was not committed to facilitate such an act of international terrorism or a drug trafficking crime, or 15 years in the case of any other offense, or both.

Moreover, whoever uses an identification document, knowing that the document was not issued lawfully for the use of the possessor, an identification document knowing that the document is false, or a false attestation, for the purpose of satisfying a requirement of section 274A(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), shall be fined, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

Bringing In and Harboring Illegal Aliens

Under 8 U.S. Code § 1324, any person who, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has not received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever, such alien, regardless of any official action which may later be taken with respect to such alien shall be fined or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; or in the case of

  1. an offense committed with the intent or with reason to believe that the alien unlawfully brought into the United States will commit an offense against the United States or any State punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year,
  2. an offense done for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
  3. an offense in which the alien is not upon arrival immediately brought and presented to an appropriate immigration officer at a designated port of entry,

shall be fined and shall be imprisoned, not more than 10 years, in the case of a first or second violation, not less than 3 nor more than 10 years, and for any other violation, not less than 5 nor more than 15 years.

Alien Hindering Removal

Under 8 U.S.C. § 1253, any alien who does not leave the United States within the removal period, does not take steps to secure travel arrangements, conspires to prevent their departure, and/or fails to present himself for removal at the time and place required by the Attorney General may also be found guilty of hindering his or her removal. This offense carries a maximum term of imprisonment of four years, a period of supervised release following imprisonment, and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Re-entry of Deported Alien

Under 8 U.S.C. § 1326, any alien who has been denied admission, excluded, deported, or removed or has departed the United States while an order of exclusion, deportation, or removal is outstanding, and thereafter enters, attempts to enter, or is at any time found in, the United States, unless prior to his reembarkation at a place outside the United States or his application for admission from foreign contiguous territory, the Attorney General has expressly consented to such alien’s reapplying for admission; or with respect to an alien previously denied admission and removed, unless such alien shall establish that he was not required to obtain such advance consent under this chapter or any prior Act, shall be fined, or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both. If the alien was removed for having committed a felony, the alien can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. If the basis of removal was an aggravated felony, the term of incarceration can be up to 20 years.

As a criminal immigration lawyer licensed in New York and Jersey, I have handled many criminal and immigration cases in both State and Federal Courts. I provide the highest level of advocacy, and do anything possible to get my clients the best result possible in their criminal and immigration matters.

Contact my office immediately if you have been charged with a Federal Immigration Crime.

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