Human smuggling poses a threat to U.S. border security and public safety and is one of the many forms of cross border crimes HSI investigates. Human smuggling involves bringing illegal aliens into the United States via the deliberate evasion of immigration laws, as well as the unlawful transportation and harboring of aliens already in the country illegally. Human smuggling is a gateway crime for additional criminal offenses, including illegal immigration, identity theft, document and benefit fraud, gang activity, financial fraud and terrorism.
To mitigate this threat, HSI strives to identify, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal human smuggling networks operating around the globe. HSI prioritizes its work in this arena by focusing on criminal investigations into smuggling networks that pose a national security and public safety risk, jeopardize lives or engage in violence, abuse, hostage-taking or extortion. In coordination with domestic and international partners, HSI targets and investigates all links in the human smuggling chain, including overseas recruiters and organizers, fraudulent document vendors and facilitators, corrupt officials, financial facilitators, and transportation and employment infrastructures that facilitate and benefit from human smuggling. As a result, HSI and its partners have disrupted the efforts of several organizations attempting to smuggle humans into the U.S from special interest countries; identified and dismantled pipelines used to smuggle illegal aliens through Central and South America; seized millions of dollars from entities actively violating U.S. immigration and money laundering statutes, and dismantled networks of transportation and harboring cells that endanger illegal aliens by exposure, abandonment or unsafe transportation methods.