The Federal Crime of Illegal Reentry

Illegal Reentry Is a Federal Crime

If you know someone who has been deported before and he or she has re-entered the United States, they may face criminal charges of Illegal Reentry. There are a variety of reasons why someone previously deported or denied admission to the U.S. may need to re-enter the United States, but regardless they may be charged with Illegal Reentry under the federal statute of 8 U.S.C § 1326.

Sometimes, people are not aware that they have been officially deported. For example if they missed a court date or failed to attend an immigration court hearing, they may have an order of deportation against them. If they then leave the U.S. and try to return they could be charged with illegal reentry which is a federal crime.

Sentences for Illegal Reentry

If someone is convicted of illegal reentry, his or her sentence will depend on their prior criminal record and if they have a history or earlier illegal reentries. Therefore prison sentences can range from a few months to several years. If the person has a previous conviction of an aggravated felony, they could face up to 10 years in prison for an illegal reentry conviction.

“Fast Track” Early Disposition Program

The United States Department of Justice has “Fast-Track” Early Disposition Programs under which a person may receive significant reductions in sentence length based upon certain circumstances. The factors considered include the following:

  • The defendant’s prior violent felony convictions (including murder, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, forcible sex offenses, child-sex offenses, drug trafficking, firearms offenses, or convictions which otherwise reflect a history of serious violent crime)
  • The defendant’s number of prior deportations, prior convictions for illegal reentry under 8 U.S.C. § 1326, prior convictions for other immigration-related offenses, or prior participation in a fast-track program
  • If the defendant is part of an independent federal criminal investigation, or if he or she is under any form of court or correctional supervision
  • With supervisory approval, circumstances at the time of the defendant’s arrest or any other aggravating factors identified by the United States Attorney.

When Can You Challenge an Illegal Reentry Charge?

If a person has been charged with illegal reentry after having been deported in the past, they may be able to challenge the charges against them if they can prove that their original deportation was unlawful or unfair. The person may also be able to show that they were denied an opportunity for judicial review of their case, or that they wished to file for asylum but were not given the opportunity to do so.

It is essential if you or someone you know, has been charged with the crime of illegal reentry, that they contact an attorney who is familiar with both this federal crime and the immigration laws.