Illegal re-entry, particularly from the south of the border, has long been a problem for immigration officials. Federal lawmakers have imposed increasingly punitive legislation over the years that aims to discourage individuals from taking an often-perilous, unlawful journey into the U.S., but this hasn’t stopped many from doing so. Immigrants have come up with increasingly sophisticated options for entering the country instead.
Anyone convicted of illegally entering this country faces deportation and potential barring from returning here.
How often do immigrants illegally re-enter the U.S.?
Data published by the United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) chronicles how in 2017, there were at least 15,000 immigrants convicted of re-entry. All but 1% were Hispanic, and all but 3% were males. The average age of the immigrants caught was age 36.
What penalties did convicted re-entry offenders face?
At least 97% of the immigrants convicted of re-entry end up in prison for at least 12 months. That same USSC data shows that at least 30% of defendants in these illegal re-entry cases ended up receiving enhanced sentences as repeat offenders once the Trump administration instituted their immigration reform in 2016. Many of these immigrants who faced enhanced sentencing also had previous convictions on their records for violent offenses, drug trafficking or multiple misdemeanors.
USSC data published in 2017 also showed how re-entry offenders often end up with sentences that fall below the federal government’s recommended guidelines. Their statistics show that these immigrants’ participation in the Early Disposition Program resulted in at least 25% of a sooner resolution, or what equates to a 42.7% reduction in their sentences than initially expected.
What happens post-conviction?
A natural progression of events is for federal officials to go ahead and argue for deportation after your conviction for illegal re-entry. You’ll be allowed to put up a case before a judge signs off on any removal order. You’ll want to consult with a deportation attorney here in Lancaster before you attend any such hearing, given how a Pennsylvania judge may forbid you from re-entering the U.S. if things don’t go as planned in your case.