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False Personation of a U.S. Citizen (18 U.S.C. § 911). Illegal aliens often present themselves as U.S. citizens, an act punishable by up to five years in jail, a felony. This law is often cited in immigration prosecutions and may involve, for example, an alien claiming U.S. citizenship to his employer.
Fraud and False Statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001). It is common for illegal aliens to make false statements to the government or on official documents. An illegal alien violates this law when claiming to be a U.S. citizen on an I-9 Employment Eligibility form and faces a fine and up to five years imprisonment.
Social Security Fraud (42 U.S.C. § 408). This statute has been invoked where an illegal alien provided a false Social Security number for the purpose of acquiring a job, where an illegal alien used a fraudulent Social Security number for the purpose of acquiring a driver's license, and when an illegal alien used a Social Security card belonging to a citizen in order to obtain Section 8 housing, for example. Violation of this statute can result in a fine and/or imprisonment up to five years. The court can also require violators to provide restitution to the victims.
mproper Entry by Alien (8 U.S.C. § 1325). While some illegal aliens entered the United States legally and then overstayed a visa, the majority of illegal aliens in the United States have violated this entry-focused statute.15 This statute is aimed at any alien who "(1) enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, or (2) eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers, or (3) attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact." The first time an alien is convicted, he faces a fine and/or up to six months in prison. A second violation results in another fine and/or imprisonment up to two years.
Penalties -- The basic statutory maximum penalty for violating 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(i) and (v)(I) (alien smuggling and conspiracy) is a fine under title 18, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both. With regard to violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(ii)-(iv) and (v)(ii), domestic transportation, harboring, encouraging/inducing, or aiding/abetting, the basic statutory maximum term of imprisonment is 5 years, unless the offense was committed for commercial advantage or private financial gain, in which case the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years. In addition, significant enhanced penalties are provided for in violations of 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1) involving serious bodily injury or placing life in jeopardy. Moreover, if the violation results in the death of any person, the defendant may be punished by death or by imprisonment for any term of years. The basic penalty for a violation of subsection 1324(a)(2) is a fine under title 18, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(A). Enhanced penalties are provided for violations involving bringing in criminal aliens, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(i), offenses done for commercial advantage or private financial gain, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(ii), and violations where the alien is not presented to an immigration officer immediately upon arrival, 8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(2)(B)(iii). A mandatory minimum three year term of imprisonment applies to first or second violations of § 1324(a)(2)(B)(i) or (B)(ii). Further enhanced punishment is provided for third or subsequent offenses.