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What are the penalties associated with illegal re-entry?

The United States government considers any instance in which someone attempts to re-enter the country illegally to be a federal offense. This is one of the reasons why you see such a high concentration of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) officers positioned along the Texas-Mexico boundary and in many major cities in the Lone Star State such as here in Corpus Christi. They tend to arrest anyone they suspect of illegally re-entering this country. The U.S. Attorney's Office then prosecutes them.

Data compiled by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shows that as many as 15,000 individuals were convicted of re-entering the U.S. illegally in 2017 alone. All but 3% of those who were convicted of this federal criminal offense that year were males.That same data shows that nearly 99% of those defendants who were convicted in 2017 were Hispanic. Their average age was 36-year-old.

USCIS data from that same year also reveals that all but 3% of those defendants who were ultimately convicted of illegal re-entry were sentenced to prison. An overwhelming majority of those defendants that were sent to prison were ordered to serve an average sentence of 12 months.

There were new sentencing guidelines imposed by the federal government in 2016. This resulted in more than 30% of illegal reentry offenders receiving enhanced sentences. Most of those defendants had previously been convicted of unlawfully entering the U.S. Others had served time after being convicted of drug-related or violent offenses before.

The five districts that saw the highest number of illegal reentry offenders in 2017 were The Southern District of Texas, The Western District of Texas, The District of New Mexico, The District of Arizona and The Southern District of California. Those five districts are where 77.86% of the 15,767 convictions that happened in 2017 occurred.

USCIS data shows that 21.5% of illegal reentry offenders received sentences below the recommended guidelines in 2017. At least 20% of defendants qualified for participation in the Early Disposition Program. Those defendants netted an average 42.7% reduction in their sentences.

The federal government will dedicate all its resources to prosecuting you once they charge you with a crime. This is why you need an experienced attorney to help you fight for the best outcome in your case. You face the possibility of being deported and permanently barred from entering the U.S. if you don't fight.

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Cactus Law Office, PLLC
Wilson Plaza - West
606 N. Carancahua Street
Suite 916
Corpus Christi, TX 78401

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