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Human Smuggling


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Human Smuggling
ICE is the lead U.S. law enforcement agency responsible for fighting human smuggling and human trafficking.

Human smuggling is the importation of people into a country via the deliberate evasion of immigration laws. This includes bringing illegal aliens into a country, as well as the unlawful transportation and harboring of aliens already in a country illegally. Some smuggling situations may involve murder, rape and assault.

ICE has embarked on an ambitious strategy to dismantle organized human smuggling networks:

  • First, ICE pursues intelligence-driven investigations to target large-scale smuggling organizations regardless of where they operate. Particular emphasis is placed on smuggling rings that pose a national security risk, jeopardize lives or engage in violence, abuse, hostage-taking or extortion.
  • Second, ICE coordinates with partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure aggressive investigation and prosecution of smuggling cases along the border.
  • Third, ICE targets all links in the smuggling chain, beyond the immediate smugglers. For example, ICE seeks to target the overseas recruiters and organizers, the fraudulent document vendors, and the transportation and employment networks that benefit from alien smuggling within the United States.
  • Finally, ICE will pursue legislation to increase penalties against organized smugglers and provide additional criminal offenses to better address spotters who assist criminals with smuggling aliens and contraband.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/24/2020