Last week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which sits here in Atlanta, Georgia, issued its opinion in U.S. v. Garcia-Cordero. The Court held that the federal immigration law that requires persons transporting international passengers to “bring and present” those passengers to immigration officers does not violate the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination as applied to criminal defendants who smuggle aliens into the United States.
The federal immigration statute at 8 U.S.C. § 1324 criminalizes bringing illegal immigrants to the United States and provides an increased penalty for failure to “bring and present” the alien to an immigration officer at a designated port of entry. The Court held that, because the immigration laws are more regulatory than criminal, and because the statute applies to all persons transporting all aliens (rather than only those without prior authorization to enter,) the statute “does not target a highly selective group inherently suspect of criminal activities.” Thus, the statute is a part of a regulatory regime, against which the Fifth Amendment privilege may not be asserted.
The Court’s opinion is available here.