About the Law

Federal prosecutors frequently choose to charge individual defendants with a variety of crimes under a number of different statutes. An illegal alien who is caught while negotiating a drug deal, for example, might be indicted for drug dealing, numerous conspiracy offenses, as well as immigration violations. During the data collection process, the Justice Department asks the prosecutors to select the "lead charge" on all referrals that they handle. Obviously, these judgments often are somewhat subjective when multiple serious charges are involved. Sometimes, they are influenced by the political needs of the moment: an administration, for example, that wants to show the public it is concentrating on narcotics or illegal immigrants along the southwest border.

Here then, as viewed through the lens of federal prosecutors across the country, are the most frequently cited "lead charges" involved in referrals coming from the DHS. The complete text of these frequently cited lead charges can be viewed by selecting the particular statute of interest in the following table.

Click on statute to view text

U.S. Code Description
 08 USC 01253 Alien hindering his/her removal from the US
 08 USC 01306 Immigration - Penalties
 08 USC 01324 Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
 08 USC 01325 Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.
 08 USC 01326 Reentry of deported alien
 08 USC 01328 Importation of alien for immoral purpose
 18 USC 00002 Aiding and Abetting
 18 USC 00003 Accessory after the fact
 18 USC 00111 Assaulting, resisting, impeding certain officers
 18 USC 00287 False, fictitious or fraudulent claims
 18 USC 00371 Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
 18 USC 00542 Entry of goods by means of false statements
 18 USC 00545 Smuggling goods into the United States
 18 USC 00549 Removing goods from customs custody; breaking seal
 18 USC 00551 Concealing or destroying invoices or other papers
 18 USC 00554 Smuggling goods from the United States
 18 USC 00641 Public money, property or records
 18 USC 00751 Escape - Prisoners in custody
 18 USC 00758 High speed flight from immigration checkpoint
 18 USC 00846 Explosives - Additional powers of the Secretary
 18 USC 00875 Interstate Communications
 18 USC 00911 False personification - Citizen of the US
 18 USC 00912 False personification - Officer or employee of US
 18 USC 00922 Firearms; Unlawful acts
 18 USC 00924 Firearms; Penalties
 18 USC 00930 Possession of firearms/dangerous weapons in federal facility
 18 USC 01001 Fraud/false statements or entries generally
 18 USC 01015 Fraud - Natzation, citizenship, alien registry
 18 USC 01028 Fraud and related activity - id documents
 18 USC 01028A Aggravated Identity Theft
 18 USC 01029 Fraud and related activity - access devices
 18 USC 01030 Fraud and related activity - computers
 18 USC 01040 Fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits
 18 USC 01341 Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles
 18 USC 01343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television
 18 USC 01344 Bank Fraud
 18 USC 01347 Health Care Fraud
 18 USC 01349 Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy
 18 USC 01361 Malicious Mischief - Govrnmt property or contracts
 18 USC 01425 Procurement of citizenship or naturalization unlaw
 18 USC 01542 False statement in application and use of passport
 18 USC 01543 Forgery or false use of passport
 18 USC 01544 Misuse of passport
 18 USC 01546 Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents
 18 USC 01591 Sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion
 18 USC 01791 Providing or possessing contraband in prison
 18 USC 01952 Racketeering -interstate/foreign travel/transport
 18 USC 01956 Laundering of monetary instruments
 18 USC 01962 RICO - prohibited activities
 18 USC 02237 Criminal Sanction for Failure to heave to or provide false information
 18 USC 02250 Fail to register as sex offender after traveling interstate commerce
 18 USC 02251 Sexual exploitation of children
 18 USC 02251A Selling or buying children
 18 USC 02252 Material involving sexual exploitation of minors
 18 USC 02252A Activity relating material constituting/containing chil
 18 USC 02314 Transportation of stolen goods, etc
 18 USC 02320 Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services
 18 USC 02342 Trafficking in contraband cigarettes Unlawful acts
 18 USC 02421 Transportation for illegal sexual activity and related crimes
 18 USC 02422 Transport for sex - Coercion and enticement
 18 USC 02423 Transportation of minors for sexual activity
 18 USC 03146 Penalty for failure to appear
 19 USC 01459 Reporting requirements for individuals
 21 USC 00841 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
 21 USC 00844 Penalty for simple possession
 21 USC 00846 Attempt and conspiracy
 21 USC 00952 Importation of controlled substances
 21 USC 00960 Prohibited acts A
 21 USC 00963 Attempt and conspiracy
 31 USC 05316 Exporting and importing monetary instruments
 31 USC 05324 Structuring transactions to evade reporting requir
 31 USC 05332 Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States
 33 USC 01908 Prevention of Pollution from Ships - Penalties
 42 USC 00408 Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties
 46 USC 02302 Operation of Vessels; Penalties for negligent op
 46 USC 70503 Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US
 46 USC 70506 Penalties

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