Immigration is tightly regulated in the United States. Along with that regulation comes penalties for those people who break the law. While there has been much political discussion about the future of immigration law, one thing remains clear. Those people who are caught breaking immigration laws risk deportation, prison and fines. Good New York immigration crimes lawyers help these people, providing them with important legal counsel during a time of great need. Understanding these crimes and their penalties is critical. Whether you are being accused of a crime of this nature or you have a loved one who is under the pressure of the law, adding to your knowledge can help ease the situation.
Federal illegal entry statute
Federal law dictates that people can only enter the United States in approved ways. How a person enters can be different depending on that person’s purpose. Some enter for travel purposes, while others have limited visas to work. Others still are granted asylum if their country has a problem. Immigrants are at all times supposed to follow the directives of immigration officials. If they do not, they can be subject to federal penalties.
8 U.S. Code § 1325 is the part of federal criminal law that covers illegal entry. That law states that it is illegal for a person to attempt to evade inspection by an immigration officer, to entry the country in a way not allowed by an immigration officer or to entry the country using fraud to trick one of these officers. In short, the statute is written in a broad manner to cover all sorts of behaviors that might get a person into the country in a way that is not legal. A person caught doing this can be subject to jail time of not more than six months for the first offense, and in almost every instance, that person will be deported once they have served their sentence.
Not all immigration crimes involve a person sneaking into the country in a way that flouts the law. In some cases, people can be charged with trying to remain in the country through a fraudulent marriage. Immigration law grants residence in the US for people who are married to US citizens. This can lead at times to marriages that are designed only to confer on one partner the legal right to live in the US. These marriages happen most often when a person is about to lose his or her immigration standing because of the loss of a job or simply having their time in America run out.
The federal government goes to great lengths to investigate those people suspected of marrying only for the purpose of getting around the law. The penalties for marriage fraud can be even higher than the penalties for sneaking into the country. Marriage fraud can lead to five years in a federal prison. It can also lead to a fine of $250,000, though judges have wide discretion on how to fine and whether they fine at all. Importantly, people can be charged with marriage fraud whether they are immigrants or not. Americans found to be helping an immigrant remain in the country are culpable in their own right.
Business establishment fraud
One of the ways that people earn their right to stay in the US is by starting a business. Because this is a well-known way to earn legal status in the US, many people have started fake businesses or businesses that do not really provide a service. Some have done this just to give themselves the ability to gain a green card. In other cases, businesses have broken the law by providing legal documentation for workers that did not actually work for them. The law holds that any person who establishes a business venture for the sole purpose of remaining in the United States has committed a felony punishable with a fine and a five-year prison sentence.
Immigration crimes lawyers work everyday with people who are facing deportation and prison time. These crimes are serious and many people from New York and elsewhere in the country should contact a good immigration crimes attorney if they fear they may be in trouble.