Entering the United States without Inspection is a crime- kinda.

Whenever an article having anything to do with immigration is written in the I find there are always thousands of people commenting below the article about how bad a crime it is and we are a nation of laws and we cannot let criminals be rewarded, and on and on. Many claim that it is a heinous crime. Some claim it is a felony. Many make the comparison to murder and rape and bemoan how our country will be ruined if we allow even this little change, proposed by the Obama administration, designed with U.S. Citizens in mind, to take place.

I looked it up, just to see what kind of a penalty it was because I would feel very badly if I were to be lobbying for a cause as evil as rape or murder, but I wasn’t about to just go and believe everything these angry voices so emphatically proclaimed.  I had to look it up and see for myself.

Here is what I found.

According to Findlaw.com it is not called illegal immigration either.  The correct term is Entering Without Inspection or EWI for short.  Their definition is as follows:


8 U.S.C. § 1325 : US Code – Section 1325: Improper entry by alien

(a) Improper time or place; avoidance of examination or inspection;

misrepresentation and concealment of facts

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, shall, for the first

commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18 or

imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both, and, for a subsequent

commission of any such offense, be fined under title 18, or

imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both.

(b) Improper time or place; civil penalties

Any alien who is apprehended while entering (or attempting to

enter) the United States at a time or place other than as

designated by immigration officers shall be subject to a civil

penalty of –

(1) at least $50 and not more than $250 for each such entry (or

attempted entry); or

(2) twice the amount specified in paragraph (1) in the case of

an alien who has been previously subject to a civil penalty under

this subsection.

Civil penalties under this subsection are in addition to, and not

in lieu of, any criminal or other civil penalties that may be


(c) Marriage fraud

Any individual who knowingly enters into a marriage for the

purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws shall be

imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or fined not more than

$250,000, or both.

(d) Immigration-related entrepreneurship fraud

Any individual who knowingly establishes a commercial enterprise

for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws

shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years, fined in accordance

with title 18, or both.


It was pretty hard to find this, but that was because I was using the same terminology as all those angry protesters. I never heard the correct term until recently, and that helped me find this article. Funny how simple things are when you relax and call things by their correct names and use the correct definitions.


This is a civil crime, NOT a felony– think traffic ticket.


Hopefully this clears things up a bit and allows some people to calm down a bit and examine this problem with a little clarity and compassion, because I have to assume that most people have gotten a traffic ticket or two in their lives and I don’t think anyone thinks they are a bad person because of it.  Not only that, but if we go the next step and think about how many times a day we break the law or do immoral things, it is hardly for any one of us to condemn another for any of these petty grievences. We all pick and choose which laws we obey and which ones we decide don’t pertain to us at that particular moment. We all drive ocer the speed limit just about every day and roll through stop signs and fail to use turn signals when changing lanes. We may get away with it most times, but that does not mean we did not break the law. Are people who entered this country without inspection ruining the moral fabric of this country? I think not. We are just as guilty as they are every day of the week.

And one last thing. People are calling the latest proposal by the Obama administration as amnesty, and some people are even calling for the American Citizens to be deported along with their spouses. This wasn’t my first clue that I needed to take some of their arguments with a pound or two of salt.

It so happens that before 1997, spouses and parents could file the paperwork, pay a thousand dollar fee and the documents for their family member would be in the mail. All President Obama is trying to do is repeal this last little amendment to the immigration policies because it turns out that it doesn’t just punish the immigrant, it punishes the American citizens that our laws are designed to protect.

There is no law against marrying anyone we choose, so we should not go around breaking families up because one of them committed a civil infraction. We would be a nation of single people if we did.

If we all just take a breath and relax a moment, we will see that the sky is not falling and America will not go “down the toilet” if we allow our fellow citizens who found themselves in love with someone who entered without inspection to keep their families together, just like they had so easily done before 1997.


The Civil Code by Findlaw.com can be found here




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