Illegally Entered the US? Tips from an Immigration Attorney


So, you have entered US territory in what can be considered an illegal way. Does this mean you have committed a crime? Below are a few specialized immigration attorney answers and tips.

Under US immigration laws, is entering illegally a crime?

There are many ways of getting on US territory without legal approval, but no matter how you have crossed the border, you can be convicted of a crime and held responsible for a civil violation under the U.S. immigration laws. Illegal entry also carries consequences for anyone who might later attempt to apply for a green card or other immigration benefits. Keep in mind that penalties will get progressively harsher, if a person enters illegally more than once, or enters illegally after a deportation order was placed on their name.

How can illegal entry be defined?

From a legal standpoint, illegal or improper entry is more than just slipping across the U.S. border at an unguarded point. Improper entry can equally include attempting to enter US territory at any time or place other than one designated by U.S. immigration officers, eluding proper legal inspection by U.S. immigration officers , attempting to enter or obtain entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading .

What is an inadmissible person?

A person who comes to the US without permission of the immigration authorities is considered legally inadmissible.  But what does this mean in legal practice? This basically means that if the person became eligible for a green card or any other immigration status, they cannot legally adjust status within the United States. By leaving the U.S. and applying from overseas, the inadmissibility problem could be solved – unless the person had already stayed in the U.S. for six months or more without a right to be there.

What are the criminal penalties for improper entry?

As an immigration attorney will explain, penalties differ drastically, depending on whether the person is committing a first or second offense. For the first improper entry offense, the person can be fined or imprisoned for up to six months, or both.  For a subsequent offense, they are facing two years in prison.

Are there penalties for reentry?

a separate section of the immigration law adds penalties for attempted reentry, especially in cases where the person  had been convicted of certain types of crimes and thus deported from US grounds. People liable for such penalty can be either ones removed for a conviction of three or more misdemeanors involving drugs, crimes against the person, or a felony. These can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. People who were removed as a result of committing an aggravated felony can face 20 years in prison.

If you or someone you know have been involved in an illegal entry in the US, the most important thing to do is to immediately contact a specialized immigration attorney who can help with the case.

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