Alien Smuggling

Providing effective representation for immigration crimes

Controlling immigration has long been the exclusive role of the federal government. This means that immigration crimes, including alien smuggling and immigration fraud, are exclusively within federal jurisdiction. Nevertheless, people smuggling is an increasingly sophisticated operation that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies aggressively investigate. Individuals implicated in human smuggling operations can find themselves facing substantial jail sentences and weighty monetary fines. Therefore, if you or your business has been implicated in this type of conduct, contacting the attorneys at Alliant Law Group, LLC is an essential first step to building your defense and preserving your freedom.

What constitutes illegal alien smuggling?

Section 274 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, now codified as Title 18, Section 1324 of the U.S. Code, illegalizes a variety of intentional or reckless actions involving illegal aliens in the United States:

  • Assisting aliens in entering the United States illegally
  • Transporting illegal aliens within the United States
  • Harboring or concealing illegal aliens
  • Encouraging another to enter the United States illegally
  • Engaging in an attempt or conspiracy to accomplish any of these actions
  • Aiding or abetting anyone else in accomplishing any of these actions

Considering the breadth of this definition, a variety of acts can be construed as a federal offense under the Alien and Nationality Act, including employing or sheltering illegal aliens or transporting illegal aliens domestically.

Immigration crime penalties

The harshest penalties for immigration crimes apply to those convicted of alien smuggling. Human smuggling for financial gain carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. If the act results in serious bodily injury or places anyone in jeopardy of life, the penalty increases to 20 years. If the act results in death — often of one of the people being smuggled — a life sentence is possible. Additional human trafficking charges may apply if the smuggler intended to sexually exploit the victims.

Knowingly harboring or domestically transporting an illegal alien carries a potential penalty of up to five years in prison. Alien smuggling without financial gain still carries a penalty of up to one year in prison. This may increase to up to 10 years if the smuggler has reason to believe the person being smuggled is entering the United States to commit a felony.

Get help defending against people smuggling charges

Individuals and businesses can easily face suspicion and even prosecution for immigration crimes based on seemingly innocuous conduct or even the unsanctioned acts of employees or agents. When this occurs, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to avoid compromising your defense. If you or your business is being investigated by ICE or other federal authorities for alien smuggling or other immigration crimes, Please contact Managing Partner Daniel Conidi for a free consultation at