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The penalties you could face if apprehended attempting to re-enter the U.S. unlawfully

| May 13, 2021 | Immigration |

Know that unlawful reentry into the U.S. is a federal offense. You may want to learn more about this offense and the penalties you face for engaging in it if you’re considering this option yourself. 

How often does the U.S. convict people for “illegal reentry”?

Data compiled by the federal government shows that they convicted at least 22,077 individuals for illegal reentry into the United States in 2019. Almost 97% of those that were convicted were males. Nearly 99% of them were Hispanic, with an average age of 36 years.

Do most people who attempt illegal reentry have criminal records?

Nearly 40% of the convicted illegal reentry defendants had little to no criminal history. Just over 44% had either Criminal History Category (CHC) II or III statuses, two of the lower tiers in the federal government’s classification system. 

At least 6.6% of the convicted illegal reentry defendants had a CHC V or VI status, the highest criminal history tiers on the federal government’s classification chart. 

What penalties did the convicted defendants face for illegal reentry?

Nearly 32% of the convicted defendants received enhanced sentences for being previously convicted on misdemeanor or felony reentry charges. At least 33% received enhanced sentences because of having prior reentry convictions and three or more misdemeanor drug trafficking or violent crime convictions on their record. 

The 2019 statistics show that 92% of illegal reentry offenders received sentences below the recommended guidelines. Nearly 20% of cases resulted in a departure as per the Early Disposition Program. This resulted in a net average sentence reduction of almost 40%.

Options for avoiding illegal reentry charges

The best step that you can take if you’re planning to come to the U.S. is to consult with an immigration attorney who can advise you of the many different options that may allow you to lawfully come here. While a prior criminal record, your past experience in overstaying a visa or illegal reentry may impact your case, you may have options. An attorney can go over what those are with you.