Understanding the Consequences of Aiding Undocumented Immigrants’ Entry Into the United States

For foreign nationals, interest in coming to the United States shows no sign of slowing down. As the process for doing so within the bounds of the law is time-consuming and complex, some individuals attempt to circumvent the law, either by venturing onto U.S. soil on their own or with the help of a smuggler—and sometimes the latter approach is encouraged by relatives already living in the United States.

Unfortunately, the mere act of attempting to help an undocumented immigrant enter the United States is illegal, regardless of whether the attempt is successful. The penalties can be severe, ranging from fines to significant prison time, particularly if someone is injured or killed in the attempt.


When alien smuggling makes the news, it’s often in the form of a vehicle full of undocumented immigrants being pulled over, or worse, being involved in a tragic accident. But under the law, assisting someone’s attempt to unlawfully enter the United States isn’t limited to actually transporting the individual yourse