Immigration crimes encompass a range of criminal offenses arising under the Immigration and Nationality Act involving aliens attempting, to enter the country and misconduct by those already in the country. The crimes outlined under the Immigration and Nationality Act range from illegal entry into the country, providing false information to obtain immigration benefits or aiding and abetting an individual committing an immigration crime.
Often the subject of an immigration crimes investigation is not aware of the potential risk until it is too late, and they are arrested and placed in a detention facility. At this time, the alleged offender will most likely be forced to contend with removal/deportation proceedings and the underlying criminal offense. The complicated nature of immigration charges and ancillary deportation/removal proceedings makes obtaining experienced immigration crimes defense counsel an imperative for reducing risk and increasing the chances of a favorable outcome.
Immigration crimes can encompass a range of conduct including:
- False personation as citizen of the United States
- Fraud and false statement in connection with a naturalization, citizenship, or alien registry
- Fraud and misuse of visas or documents related to naturalization, citizenship, or alien registry
- Passport crimes
- Illegal entry into the United States
- Aiding or abetting an individual in committing a criminal act under the Immigration and Naturalization Act
Criminal schemes related to immigration crimes often occur while an alien is present in the United States, usually involving criminal conduct in relation to obtaining immigration benefits or misrepresenting immigration status in order to remain in the United States unlawfully. However, illegal entry crimes are becoming more common given the mobility of populations globally.
Offenses under the general category of immigration crimes are generally classified as fraud crimes in that they involve a deceptive act in order to obtain benefits under the Immigration and Naturalization Act.
The immigration and Naturalization Act specifies a number of offenses related to obtaining and maintaining immigration and naturalization benefits.
Penalties for immigration crimes can involve incarceration, fines and often precipitate deportation and removal actions against the offender.
Defending an individual charged with an immigration crime often involves raising technical defenses as to the Defendant’s knowledge or intent in committing the alleged crime and whether the accused’s conduct fits the legal definition of the crime.