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
 05 USC 00552 Violation of privacy act by a federal employee
 08 USC 01324 Bringing in and harboring certain aliens
 08 USC 01324a Unlawful employment of aliens
 08 USC 01325 Entry of alien at improper time or place; etc.
 08 USC 01326 Reentry of deported alien
 18 USC 00003 Accessory after the fact
 18 USC 00004 Misprision of Felony
 18 USC 00111 Assaulting, resisting, impeding certain officers
 18 USC 00371 Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud US
 18 USC 00472 Uttering counterfeit obligations or securities
 18 USC 00545 Smuggling goods into the United States
 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 00911 False personification - Citizen of the US
 18 USC 00922 Firearms; Unlawful acts
 18 USC 00924 Firearms; Penalties
 18 USC 00952 Diplomatic codes and correspondence
 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 01341 Mail Fraud - Frauds and swindles
 18 USC 01343 Fraud by wire, radio, or television
 18 USC 01344 Bank Fraud
 18 USC 01349 Mail Fraud - Attempt and Conspiracy
 18 USC 01361 Malicious Mischief - Govrnmt property or contracts
 18 USC 01470 Transfer of obscene materials to minors
 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 01951 Hobbs Act
 18 USC 01955 Prohibition of illegal gambling businesses
 18 USC 01956 Laundering of monetary instruments
 18 USC 01959 Violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity
 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 02252 Material involving sexual exploitation of minors
 18 USC 02252A Activity relating material constituting/containing chil
 18 USC 02312 Transportation of stolen vehicles
 18 USC 02320 Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services
 18 USC 02422 Transport for sex - Coercion and enticement
 18 USC 02423 Transportation of minors for sexual activity
 18 USC 03144 Release or detention of a material witness
 18 USC 03583 Term of supervised release after imprisonment
 19 USC 01459 Reporting requirements for individuals
 21 USC 00841 Drug Abuse Prevention & Control-Prohibited acts A
 21 USC 00846 Attempt and conspiracy
 21 USC 00952 Importation of controlled substances
 21 USC 00963 Attempt and conspiracy
 22 USC 02778 Control of arms exports and imports
 31 USC 05332 Bulk Cash Smuggling into or out of the United States
 42 USC 00408 Fed Old Age, Survivors & Disab Insur -Penalties
 46 USC 70503 Possession control substance on vessel subject to jurisdiction of US
 46 USC 70506 Penalties

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