U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted investigations on two individuals now found guilty of smuggling immigrants into the U.S. illegally for personal gain. The defendants have been sentenced to 3 years in federal prison and two additional years of supervised release.
Kaushik Jayantibhai Thakkar, 33, and Fabiano Augusto Amorim, 28, were sentenced to federal prison when they were caught smuggling groups of people into the U.S. without proper documentation. They abused the system and desperate individuals by promising them a new life in the U.S. for personal gain. Thakkar and Amorim worked together with several other co-conspirators by bribing the individuals across the border from various countries but mostly India. Individuals were willing to pay up to $60,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. Thakkar and Amorim had several associates who worked with them through a network in South America, Central America, the Caribbean and the U.S. they transported groups of immigrants from various locations to the U.S. but means of air travel, automobiles, water craft and foot. They would help them cross the U.S border through Mexico near McAllen and Laredo, Texas.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leo J. Lee III, Casey MacDonald, and Stephen Curran of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and special Prosecutions Section in Texas. The investigations were conducted under the Extraterritorial Criminal Travel Strike Force program which “focuses on human smuggling networks that may present particular national security or public safety risks, or present grave humanitarian concerns. ECT has dedicated investigative, intelligence and prosecutorial resources. ECT coordinates and receives assistance from other U.S. government agencies and foreign law enforcement authorities.” Thakkar and Amorim are among several individuals found by ICE to have helped immigrants fall through the cracks of the U.S.’s immigration system.
The new immigration bill attempts to address issues such as these that would hopefully have been prevented or at least caught earlier with a more efficient and structured system. If immigrants are willing to pay thousands of dollars to enter the U.S., it might make sense to create a system that allows them opportunities to legally enter the U.S. on a visa rather than subjecting them to scams by immigration outlaws. Several cities such as St. Louis are opening their doors to immigrants and encouraging them to open businesses to help boost their economies through employment opportunities. The new immigration legislation needs to reflect the changes in the market and needs of immigrants and cities.
If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.