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 INS. 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
8 USC 1324 immigration-bringing in/harboring aliens
8 USC 1325 immigration-improper entry by aliens
8 USC 1326 immigration-reentry of removed aliens
18 USC 4 misprision of felony
18 USC 111 assaulting or intimidating govt employee
18 USC 371 conspiracy to defraud the U.S.
18 USC 911 false personification of U.S. citizen
18 USC 922 firearms-illegal procedures
18 USC 1001 fraud and false statements
18 USC 1028 fraud and false statements - ID documents
18 USC 1073 flight to avoid prosecution or testimony
18 USC 1512 obstruction of justice
18 USC 1542 false statement-application/use of passport or visa
18 USC 1543 forgery or false use of passport
18 USC 1546 passport/visa - fraud or misuse of visas/permits
18 USC 1623 criminal procedure-grand jury perjury
18 USC 1952 interstate travel in aid of racketeering
18 USC 1956 laundering of monetary instrument
18 USC 1962 racketeering-prohibited acts
18 USC 3146 failure to appear-judicial proceeding
21 USC 841 drugs-prohibited acts
21 USC 846 drugs-attempt and conspiracy
21 USC 952 export-controlled substances
21 USC 960 controlled substances-export or import
21 USC 963 drugs-conspiracy in export or import
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