alien smuggling

The term “alien smuggling,” refers to the act of assisting an individual in any way and at any time in entering the United States unlawfully. The Immigration and Nationality Act 40.6 § 212(a)(6)(E) defines alien smugglers as “any alien, who at any time knowingly has encouraged, induced, assisted, abetted, or aided any other alien to enter or to try to enter the United States in violation of the law, is inadmissible.” The smuggler must have the intent that the alien achieves the illegal entry.

What are the Penalties for Alien Smuggling?

Alien smuggling is not only a ground of inadmissibility, but it can also impact an immigrant in several other ways. A conviction for alien smuggling is an aggravated felony, a bar to having good moral character, and it is a ground for deportability from the United States.

Are there Any Defenses to a Charge of Alien Smuggling?

Mistaken belief is a defense to inadmissibility for anyone suspected of alien smuggling. § 212(a)(6)(E) provides an excellent example of how the defense of mistaken belief is applied:

In Tapucu v. Gonzales, 399 F.3d 736 (6th Cir. 2005), the alien drove his friends from Canada to the United States. He knew that one (1) of them was not a U.S. citizen or national, and that this friend had been living in the United States illegally. However, at the time of the trip, the alien believed that the friend’s pending adjustment of status application made it lawful for the friend to return to the United States. The court held that he did not knowingly assist the friend to reenter illegally.      

If I Have Been Charged of Alien Smuggling, What Relief Can I Seek?

If you have been convicted of alien smuggling, you are considered to be inadmissible to the United States. You should seek the assistance of an immigration attorney, who could look into the possibility of obtaining a waiver, or any other defenses which might apply to your situation. Consider setting up a consultation with an attorney at Gilles Law, PLLC. You can reach us at 980-272-8438 at our office in Uptown Charlotte. We are here to assist with your inquiries.

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