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Understanding federal immigration charges

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2024 | Federal Crimes |

Federal immigration laws in the United States govern the entry, residency and deportation of foreign nationals. Violations of these laws are federal offenses that can result in serious consequences, including criminal charges and jail time.

If you or someone you know is facing immigration-related legal problems, it is important to understand the following specific charges.

Illegal entry (8 U.S. Code § 1325)

Illegal entry refers to entering the United States without authorization, including crossing the border without inspection or by using false documents. A first-time offense is typically a misdemeanor punishable by fines and up to six months in prison. Subsequent offenses can be felonies, carrying steeper penalties.

Visa fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1546)

Visa fraud involves providing false information or documents to obtain a visa or other immigration benefit. Penalties vary but can include fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years, especially if the fraud was part of an act of terrorism or drug trafficking.

Alien smuggling (8 U.S. Code § 1324)

Alien smuggling is the act of bringing unauthorized immigrants into the United States for financial gain. Doing so can result in fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years. If the smuggling leads to serious injury or death, those convicted may face life in prison.

Reentry after deportation (8 U.S. Code § 1326)

Reentry after deportation refers to returning to the United States after prior removal. Penalties vary depending on the individual’s criminal history and the reason for deportation but can include fines and imprisonment for up to 20 years.

Document fraud (18 U.S. Code § 1001)

Document fraud occurs when someone falsifies or alters documents related to immigration, such as passports or green cards. Creating these documents can result in fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years. The maximum penalty usually applies to cases of terrorism or drug trafficking.

If SB 4 goes into effect, Texas will have its own state immigration laws on top of the existing federal ones. However, this bill is receiving opposition and lawsuits may prevent its passage.