Recently in Illegal Aliens Category

Immigration: Criminal Consequences of Illegal Entry

October 8, 2012, by The McKellar Law Firm, PLLC

I recently heard a noted immigration advocate comment that it was not a crime to enter the United States without proper documentation or authorization. Simply put, this immigration advocate is wrong. For example, federal laws such as 8 U.S.C. §§ 1325 and 1326, govern illegal entry into the United States. Individual states may also have laws which address illegal entry as well.

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Title 8 Section 1325 of the U.S. Code makes it a crime for "any alien" to gain or attempt to gain access into the U.S. without proper examination or inspection, at times or locations apart from those authorized by immigration officers, or by gaining entrance by providing false or misleading information. The typical fines for these violations range from $50-$500 with possible imprisonment up to two years. However, entrance into the U.S. by other fraudulent means such as illegitimate marriage or deceptive immigration-related entrepreneurship also constitute illegal entry and those convicted face fines up to $250,000, imprisonment up to 5 years, or both.

Additionally, 8 U.S.C. § 1326 expands on the criminal aspects and punishments of illegal entry for those who have previously been denied entry, disqualified, extradited, or removed from the U.S., or who have left the U.S. with pending orders of exclusion, deportation, or removal and re-enter or attempt to re-enter the U.S. unlawfully. The punishments carry prison terms up to 2 years, fines, or both. In addition, there are criminal penalties that may amount to imprisonment up to 20 years with possible additional fines for individuals re-entering the U.S. who have been previously removed on specific grounds, such as those convicted of three or more misdemeanors related to drugs or crimes against others or those convicted of felonies.

Federal Prosecutors Indict 9 Defendants in East Tennessee Prostitution Organization

Prostitution charges are typically the domain of State and local law enforcement, but yesterday prosecutors in Greeneville, Tennessee, unveiled an indictment charging 9 defendants with several federal prostitution-related charges, including conspiracy to transport prostitutes in interstate commerce (18 U.S.C. § 2421), conspiracy to induce interstate travel for prostitution (18 U.S.C. § 2422(a)), and conspiracy to operate brothels with illegal aliens (18 U.S.C. § 2424), among others.

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According to the allegations in the Indictment, here are some of the highlights of the operation:
1. The Defendants recruited Spanish-speaking women who illegally entered the United States and engaged them to become prostitutes.
2. The defendants handled the prostitutes, keeping a prostitute in one location for a week at a time. The prostitutes worked Monday through Saturday and traveled between cities on Sundays. Most of the defendants' prostitutes began working at 1:00 p.m. and worked through midnight, six days per week. The defendants' prostitutes were generally expected to engage in sexual intercourse with 30 customers per day
3. Alleged customers paid the defendants $30 for fifteen minutes of sexual intercourse with a prostitute.
4. The defendants advertised their brothels and prostitution delivery services via word of mouth in the Spanish-speaking communities in the foregoing cities and via business cards printed in Spanish. The business cards used code words for prostitution services including but not limited to, haircuts, flowers, and appetistas.
5. The brothels were located in various locations in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and South Carolina.

Knoxville News Sentinel writer Natalie Alund reports that the indictment was the result of a 5-month investigation. In the article, Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnagin claims that "The women were enticed to come here and paid to enter on the pretense they had an upstanding job or at least a law-abiding job. Once they got here, they'd realized they'd been tricked. They're here, they're hungry, they don't have any friends and have been threatened to cooperate."

If convicted, each defendant could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.