Immigration Laws

It is a violation of the immigration laws to “bring” an illegal alien into the United States. Can a defendant who does not essentially or technically cross the border with an illegal alien be found guilty under these laws? What must the prosecution prove? Learning Objectives Identify the different kinds of conduct considered to be criminal under the immigration laws Examine the difference between civil contempt and criminal contempt Evaluate intentional acts that hinder, corrupt, or impede the functioning of the judicial system Reading and Resources Textbook: Criminal Law, Chapter 19 As you read, consider the following questions: What distinguishes civil and criminal contempt? Should public officials be punished differently from regular citizens for the same offenses? Should tax evasion be punished by imprisonment? What are hindrances in apprehending persons who commit espionage? Library Article: Judge Maintains 1950 Conviction This article addresses an espionage conviction during the McCarthy era. Article: “Disrespectful” Lawyer Held in Contempt After Calling Judge’s Bond Ruling “Ridiculous” This article discusses a lawyer who was held in contempt in a Chicago courtroom. Crimes against the government include bribery, extortion, resisting arrest, contempt, and obstruction (Lippman, 2014). The media has focused attention on bribery and other improper conduct by public officials. Does this mean that we have more government corruption than before? Or does it mean that the expanded prowess of the media in the last 40 years has resulted in increased scrutiny of prior back-door dealings? Crimes by public officials can range from top-level officials to lower-level officials. With top-level public officials, certain questions arise. Is the public’s confidence lessened by a public official who has been indicted and remains in office? And should the concept of innocent until proven guilty be applied to such a public official? Although his 2010 criminal conviction for improperly funneling donations was overturned, former House majority leader Tom DeLay may never return to political office due to the allegations stemming from the overturned conviction and prior ethics/racketeering allegations (Rogers, 2014). Should DeLay have been required to give up his post due to indictment? In December 2014, Chicago alderman Howard Brookins’s former chief of staff pled guilty in federal court to bribery after the FBI used an undercover informant (O’Connell, 2014). Should we make supervisory officials such as Brookins responsible for the conduct of their subordinates? This module will also cover the concepts of civil and criminal contempt. Before describing these two concepts, it is helpful to take a look at the definition of contempt of court. Contempt of court denotes an act that defies the court or inhibits a court from performing its function. Civil contempt of court occurs when one party fails to obey a court-ordered agreement. An example of this type of contempt is failure to pay court-ordered child support. On the other hand, criminal contempt of course is direct defiance of the court within the courtroom. This type of contempt would include someone getting up and yelling in the midst of court proceedings or committing battery on a court official. Both civil and criminal contempt of court can result in penalties, including incarceration. Obstruction of justice is closely related to contempt due to the interference aspect of the act. Obstruction of justice is committed when a person attempts to interfere or misdirect an ongoing investigation or proceeding. The most common forms of obstruction include bribery, deception, and intimidation. An example of obstruction would include a person intentionally hiding evidence from an official during a criminal investigation. Threatening or bribing a witness during a judicial proceeding would also constitute obstruction of justice. Immigration crimes are those in which citizens from one country enter another territory illegally. The number of illegal immigrants entering the United States has risen dramatically over time. The U.S. government estimated a staggering 12 million illegal immigrants in the country in 2007, and that number continues to rise despite U.S. efforts to secure its borders. Many immigrants who enter the United States illegally are seeking legitimate opportunities such as employment or safety. However, there are many immigrants who enter illegally and commit criminal infractions, such as drug trafficking or gang-related activity. Often times, an illegal immigrant will seek to change his or her status to a legal resident through marriage. While many illegal immigrants obtain forged green cards to work, there are some who attempt to gain legal alien status to justifiably contribute to society (Lippman, 2014). Another example of crimes against the government is espionage. Espionage, by definition, is spying that often involves a government to obtain protected or confidential information from another government without permission. Aldrich Ames is a former CIA employee who, while employed, sold confidential U.S. government information to the Soviet Union. In return, Ames received millions of dollars for sharing this information. Aldrich eventually revealed the identities of a number of spies in the Soviet Union and Russia. As a result, those spies were jailed, and most were later executed. Aldrich is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole after pleading guilty to the crime of espionage (Lippman, 2014). Given the circumstances surrounding this incident, do you feel that Aldrich’s sentence is just? References Lippman, M. (2014). Essential criminal law. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. O’Connell, P. (2014). Alderman’s ex-chief pleads guilty to bribery. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from Rogers, A. (2014). Tom DeLay celebrates “new life” following court win. Time. Retrieved from

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