Examples of Illegal Alien Smuggling

Traditional stone-made sign in the form of a state map welcoming to the state of Texas on a rural road.

The issue of illegal immigration has taken center stage in American politics, particularly in Texas and New Mexico, which share a border with Mexico. Texas Senate Bill 4 (SB4) and its litigation have been to the Supreme Court and back, possibly changing the dynamic of federal and state relations.  Between strict immigration policies and rising gang violence and political unrest in nearby countries, illegal immigration has become increasingly more common. To combat this rise, countless agencies, including local law enforcement, the U.S. Border Patrol, ICE, and the FBI, have been tasked with vigilantly monitoring these borders, patrolling for even the tiniest indicia of illegal activity, leading to an uptick in illegal alien smuggling charges. 

Illegal alien smuggling occurs when an individual transports, harbors, aids, or encourages another individual or individuals to enter or remain in America without valid immigration authorization, which is a violation of the federal Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These charges carry strict penalties and can result in long prison sentences, large fines, asset forfeiture, and even deportation for the accused. That’s why, if you or a loved one are facing illegal alien smuggling charges, you need aggressive representation from a skilled and seasoned criminal defense attorney. The Benjamin Law Firm is ready to start fighting for you today.

The terms below help understand the system, but there are two major types. Alien Smuggling which is a Texas crime, a second degree felony possibly with a 10 year mandatory sentence; or federal alien conspiracy, transportation or harboring which possibly has no mandatory minimum and is prosecuted federally.

1. “Coyotes” Acting as Guides

One extremely common form of illegal alien smuggling occurs when individuals, known as “coyotes”, guide undocumented immigrants through remote and dangerous terrain to evade detection by law enforcement for hefty fees. These immigrants often face dehydration, injury, and even death when trying to reach American soil.

2. False or Fraudulent Documentation

One common manifestation of illegal alien smuggling occurs when a smuggler facilitates illegal entry to the United States by providing immigrants with fraudulent visas or counterfeit documents, designed to deceive law enforcement at ports of entry. These documents allow illegal immigrants to enter the country under false pretenses.

3. Concealing Immigrants in Vehicles or Cargo

Illegal alien smugglers often profit heavily by hiding undocumented immigrants within their vehicles or cargo shipments for a hefty fee, allowing them to bypass border checkpoints and remain undetected. However, the individuals being concealed face serious risks, as they commonly are exposed to extreme temperatures or suffocate in transit.

4. Employment-Based Smuggling

Some employers knowingly hire undocumented workers for cheap labor, where they are subject to poor working conditions and substandard wages. As they are not in the country legally, they cannot call attention to mistreatment and aren’t legally entitled to the benefits of minimum wage laws. These employers may facilitate illegal entry and arrange residence in the United States, a form of illegal alien smuggling.

5. Corrupt Border Officials

It’s an unfortunate truth that working as a border official doesn’t pay well, and some officials may succumb to the temptation of bribery. These officials may assist alien smuggling networks by facilitating illegal border crossings, providing sensitive information to smugglers, advising smugglers on how to evade law enforcement, or turning a blind eye to illegal activities for personal and financial gain.

6. Human Trafficking

Illegal alien smuggling frequently intersects with human trafficking, as undocumented immigrants are an ideal population for human traffickers – vulnerable, willing to go to great lengths for the promise of a better life, and outside many vital legal protections. Undocumented immigrants are frequently unaware of their rights and fear turning to law enforcement as they believe they’d be turned away, face deportation or worse. Because of this, human traffickers may coerce or deceive immigrants into crossing the border under false pretenses.

7. Organized Crime Smuggling Rings

Illegal alien smuggling is frequently an operation that involves many individuals who orchestrate complex plans, operating across international borders. These criminal enterprises carry out sophisticated operations with the help of technology, bribery, and extensive networks to facilitate the illegal immigration of countless individuals, turning a considerable profit.

8. Commercial Transportation

Alien smuggling operations may use commercial transportation methods, including airplanes, boats, and commercial vehicles, to transport undocumented immigrants across borders. They often use forged documents or bribe transportation personnel to facilitate these operations. Maritime smuggling is common, using rivers and coastal areas.

9. Using Safe Houses

Smugglers may utilize locations known as safe houses or stash houses to temporarily harbor undocumented immigrants along smuggling routes. These safe houses serve as a temporary shelter before the migrants are transported further.

10. Tunnels and Underground Passages

Smugglers have been known to construct elaborate tunnels under the U.S.-Mexico border to facilitate the entry of undocumented immigrants, complete with lighting and ventilation systems.

Illegal Alien Smuggling Defense Attorney, Serving the People of Texas and New Mexico

If you or a loved one are facing illegal alien smuggling charges in Texas or New Mexico, it’s critical that you act fast and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You need an advocate who will fight aggressively and relentlessly for you, your rights, your freedom, and your future. The sooner you reach out, the better your chances are at mitigating the charges’ impact, protecting your future, and reaching the best possible outcome.

Proudly serving clients across Texas and New Mexico from our home office in El Paso, the Benjamin Law Firm offers a comprehensive criminal defense practice led by a certified expert in criminal law. Founding attorney Brock Benjamin is one of few attorneys who is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, which exemplifies the true depth of Attorney Benjamin’s knowledge and experience in the field. Attorney Benjamin is also a former prosecutor, and he leverages his insider knowledge of the tricks, tactics, and strategies that prosecutors use to create especially effective defenses for his clients. Brock also participates in Operation LonesStar (OLS) defense and defends individuals charged with state offenses in those counties.

Contact us today so we can get started fighting for you. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you can put this chapter behind you and move forward on the best possible footing. También podemos ayudarte en español.

Posted in: Criminal Defense