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Alien Smuggling and Harboring Illegal Aliens

Under Title 8 of the United States Code Section 1324 any of the following acts or attempts of these acts are illegal:

  • Alien Smuggling: According to Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(i) it is illegal for any person to knowingly and intentionally bring or attempt to bring into the US an alien at any place other than an official point of entry to the country, such as an airport, port or land immigration checkpoint. The crime is applicable to both aliens who are in the country with the US permission and to those who have entered illegally.
  • Domestic Transporting: According to Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(ii) it is illegal for any person to transport or move an alien within the US by any means of transportation, with knowledge or reckless disregard of the alien’s unlawful immigrations status.
  • Harboring: According to Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iii), it is illegal for any person to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection or attempt to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection an alien in any place, including buildings or means of transportation with knowledge or reckless disregard of the alien’s illegal immigrations status.
  • Encouraging/Inducing: According to Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) it is illegal for any person to encourage or induce an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the US, with knowledge or reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is a violation of law.
  • Conspiracy/Aiding or Abetting: According to Subsection 1324(a)(1)(A)(v) it is illegal for any person to engage in a conspiracy to commit or aid and abet the commission of any of foregoing crimes.
  • Bringing Aliens to the United States: According to Subsection 1324(a)(2), it is illegal for any person to bring or to attempt to bring an alien into the US with knowledge or reckless disregard that the alien was not authorized to come to, enter or reside in the country.
  • Unlawful Employment of Aliens: According to Subsection 1324(a)(3)(A) it is illegal for any person, during any twelve-month period, to knowingly hire at least ten individuals with knowledge that these individuals are unauthorized aliens.

 “Knowledge” as the element of crime

According to federal law to convict the defendant under Title 8 of the United States Code 1324(a)(1)(A)(i) the prosecutor must establish that the defendant had knowledge or recklessly disregarded that the person brought to the United States was an alien.

Penalties Human Smuggling and Harboring Illegal Aliens

Penalties for human smuggling and harboring illegal aliens are as follows.

Penalties for Alien Smuggling

Penalties for Alien Smuggling include

  • Up to 10 years in federal prison
  • Up to 20 years in federal prison if the defendant caused serious bodily injury or put in jeopardy the life of another person
  • Death penalty can be imposed in case the defendant’s actions caused death.

Penalties for Domestic Transportation, Harboring, and Encouraging/Inducing

  • Up to 5 years in federal prison
  • Up to 10 years in federal prison if the crime was done for commercial advantage or financial gain.
  • Up to 20 years in federal prison if the defendant caused serious bodily injury or put in jeopardy the life of another person

Death penalty can be imposed in case the defendant’s actions caused death.

Penalties for Conspiracy

  • Up to 10 years in federal prison

Penalties for Aiding or Abetting

  • Up to 5 years in federal prison

Penalties for Bringing Aliens to the US

  • Up to 1 year in federal prison
  • Up to 10 year in federal prison in case a first or second violation happened where the alien was not immediately brought to official point of entry upon arrival
  • Up to 10 years in federal prison in case if the crime was done for commercial advantage or financial gain, or if committed with intention that the alien would commit a crime against the US or any state that is punishable by more than one year.

Penalties for Unlawful Employment of Aliens:

  • Up to 6 months in federal prison
  • A fine of $3,000 per alien employed
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