From Texas to New York, U.S. attorneys have started prosecuting and, in some cases, closing cases against U.S. citizens who detained and transported migrants from the southern border across the nation over the past nine months.
In that time, illegal immigration at the southern border has reached the highest level in 21 years. Yet with Border Patrol agents overwhelmed and pulled away to move and process people in custody, many migrants manage to get across.
On Sept. 10, a Florida man was convicted to six years in federal prison for driving a tractor-trailer that contained 149 non-citizens inside. The driver was arrested on Dec. 30 after trying to pass through a Border Patrol checkpoint on I-35 headed from Laredo, Texas, to San Antonio. He expected to make $10,000 for running the group from the border.
A man from Long Island, New York, pleaded guilty last week to conspiring to bring people illegally into the nation. The 53-year-old man was driving 42 non-citizens from Laredo to a northern U.S. location in June. Soon after leaving, he was pulled over for a traffic violation and was taken into custody when police discovered he had active warrants. Police on the scene opened the back of the truck and discovered dozens of people hiding inside.
In Brownsville, Texas, a 35-year-old man was ordered to serve 30 months in federal jail for holding 57 people, including two children without parents, in a one-bedroom hotel room in June.
A Dallas man was sentenced on Sept. 7 to six and a half years in federal prison for planning to bring 126 non-citizens in a tractor-trailer that was 50 degrees inside. He was arrested on Jan. 6 while driving a truck from Laredo after he tried to go through a Border Patrol checkpoint.
On Sept. 2, a Texas couple in their 20s were convicted for holding more than 50 non-citizens in hotel rooms in Pharr, Texas. They rented a U-Haul truck and used it to transport migrants between the hotel and pickup location. They further held 45 people in their home.