Experienced Chicago Defense Lawyers
Living in Chicago, you may not even think of the border. After all you don’t live anywhere near it. However, you can reach the border in about five hours if you go through Michigan. At the border you will encounter the United States Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) who enforce federal laws at the United States’ borders with Canada and Mexico. The CBP’s job is to “secure the border and facilitate lawful international trade and travel while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws and regulations, including immigration and drug laws.” The U.S.-Canada border (aka the “International Boundary”) has a relatively low level of security in comparison to the U.S.-Mexico border.
The total number of agents at both the Canada and Mexico borders increased after the September 11th attacks. Now, there are more than 17,000 USBP personnel stationed at the Mexico border. With added security and a need to protect border interests, agents can get excessive with questions and even improperly detain you. If you or someone you love has been arrested at either the U.S.-Mexico border or the U.S.-Canada border at a checkpoint station or elsewhere, a Chicago criminal defense attorney at Okabe & Haushalter can help. Our lawyers are extremely experienced when it comes to federal criminal cases such as this, and can defend your innocence after being arrested at one of our borders.
Common Border Arrests
Even though you may think being arrested at the border isn’t something you think can happen to you, it can. It may also be for some of the strangest reasons or for ignorance of the different laws. Some of the most common reasons that individuals are arrested at the border include:
- Drug CrimesOne common criminal offense that people are arrested for at the border is drug trafficking. USBP personnel stop vehicles as they go through checkpoints. They will typically ask for your passport or legal form of identification and sometimes they will ask to search vehicles. If there is reasonable suspicion, they may use a drug dog or other methods in attempt to uncover illegal narcotics. According to recent CBP statistics, border agents seize over 11,000 pounds of drugs per day.
- Immigration OffensesStatistics change every year, but there are on average an estimated half a million illegal entries into the United States every year. The CBP also reports receiving at least 60 fraudulent identification documents per day. This fact creates a heightened sense of urgency for border patrol agents to make immigration-related arrests. You may have been arrested at the border even if you possess lawful permanent resident status, a visa or other immigration paperwork that allows you entry into the U.S. If you are arrested for an immigration offense at the border, a possible consequence could be deportation.
- Weapons, Human & Various Contraband SmugglingBorder agents also heavily patrol for the trafficking and smuggling of other things such as weapons, illegal contraband and even human trafficking. On a daily basis, the CBP reports approximately $274,000 in illicit currency seizures and just fewer than 1,000 apprehensions for various criminal offenses at our borders. If you were arrested for a federal weapons offense or some type of smuggling offense, you will need aggressive defense representation.
Retain A Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer
Agencies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security make arrests at our borders every day. If you were arrested for and have been accused of a criminal offense, please do not hesitate to contact a Chicago federal criminal defense attorney from our firm. We understand how to deal with federal agencies and we are effective in advocating for our clients’ rights and innocence. Whether the arrest involves a drug offense, an immigration offense or another type of alleged offense, Okabe & Haushalter is here to help. To receive a free evaluation of your case, please call us at (818) 722-3452.