Countless people from all over the world seek to gain entry into the United States every year. Millions of immigration applications are received for a limited number of visas, which means that many people will be left without means of lawful entry. This has led to a wave of people entering the country illegally. If you have been accused of this very action (or assisting another currently in New York in doing so), it is important that you understand exactly what constitutes an immigration crime and what potential penalties you might face if convicted.
Per the U.S. Department of Justice, any of the following offenses is viewed as an immigration violation:
- Entering into the country as an illegal alien
- Entering into a marriage under false pretenses for the express purpose of evading immigration laws
- Establishing a commercial enterprise for the express purpose of evading immigration laws
The first of these potential offenses likely needs no further clarification: if you (or another) has not been granted legal permission to enter the U.S. (on a permanent or semi-permanent basis), then doing so still is illegal. The reason that marrying into a situation that grants you access to legal entry can be illegal is because preferences for visas are given to the immediate family members of U.S. citizens or those who are here lawfully. The same applies to people looking to enter into the country solely for career purposes.
If you are alleged to have personally committed one of these offenses, you could be subject to deportation. If you are accused of aiding another, then extensive fines (and potential criminal penalties) might be levied against you.