Guilty Plea for Illegal Alien Smuggling Reversed on Grounds of Insufficient Evidence

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Defendant Fernando Garcia-Paulin was arrested and charged with aiding and abetting an illegal alien into the United States. It was claimed that Garcia-Paulin received payment to falsify Jaime Cajica-Cano’s Mexican passport’s work status, and also for giving him advice on how to illegally come into the United States.

Garcia-Paulin admitted to knowingly have placed a fraudulent immigration stamp on to Cajica-Cano’s Mexican passport and for receiving a 15,000 pesos fee for doing so. He then informed Cajica-Cano that he would still have to come into the United States illegally, even though the new stamp he placed on his passport would allow him to work in the U.S.

The state’s statute 8 U.S.C. Section 1324(a)(1)(A)(i) makes it an offense to “bring to [or attempt] to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry…” Garcia-Paulin’s attorneys argued the meaning of the word “bring”. In Garcia-Paulin’s appeal, they stated their client took no such action and has pleaded guilty to an erroneous factual basis and would not have done so if he had known.

Aiding and abetting would have not been an issue concerning Garcia-Paulin’s case; therefore, Texas’ Fifth District Circuit vacated and remanded the guilty conviction for insufficient evidence. The actual act of “bringing” did not fit the established legal meaning of the word and they found that Garcia-Paulin did not actually violate the statute. Because of plain error, Garcia-Paulin’s case was reversed.

It is important to note that smuggling aliens is a harsh reality in the southwest border of the United States and there have been a plethora of elaborate smuggling rings that continue to jeopardize lives. Border Safety Initiative (BSI) has worked with Mexico and U.S. Government agencies to lead a strategy to help rescue aliens from being smuggled into the United States in various inhumane ways. BSI hopes to reduce injuries and fatalities at the southwest crossing borders. In 2000, BSI saved approximately 2,500 aliens, and the numbers continue to rise.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at

Texas Students Start Hunger Strike in Support of DREAM Act and Against DADT Ban

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Students from University of Texas campus at Austin, UT Dallas, and UT Pan Am are joining a hunger strike in hopes of influencing Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson to vote for the DREAM Act.

Approximately 40 students are hoping to gain attention in support of the 10-year-old DREAM Act, which enables students to get their degrees regardless of immigration status as part of the immigration reform movement.

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) would provide conditional citizenship for six years to immigrants who are 35 years and younger who came into the before they were 16 years old. Additionally, they must have lived in the United States for five years and have a high school degree. The DREAM Act will allow undocumented youths who meet this requirement to attend college and join the military.

The DREAM Act did not pass in the Senate in September, receiving a vote of 56 to 43, a result of the Republic filibuster of the defense authorization bill. However, Congress has a chance to talk over the bill this week before the new Congress arrives.

Many people are rallying and students are banning together on hunger strikes as a last ditch effort to pressure the powers that be to make the DREAM Act a reality. Up on the block for discussion is also the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” bill. Supporters from the DREAM Act and those looking to have Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repealed are now working together.

Support for the DREAM Act is coming from various people and organizations, including the National School Board Association (NSBA), the National Jewish Committee, women and moms from the Legal Momentum and MomsRising, and faculty and students from several universities all over the United States.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – who won his seat in Nevada mostly through Latino voters – had promised to bring the DREAM Act to the floor after Thanksgiving. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who voted for the earlier version of the bill, publicly announced that she currently opposes it.

A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at

Speedy Travel at the Airport

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Although I am not going anywhere, as summer rolls along, visions of distant lands dance in my head. However, that vision is marred by long lines at the airports – getting your luggage checked, getting into a plane with carry-on bags and no overhead place, and finally the immigration and customs line ups.

This year, for a fee, the government and even some airlines are helping to ease that pain.

The U.S. government (and some foreign governments as well, like Holland) has introduced the Global Entry Program. U.S. citizens over the age of 14 can pay a fee of $100 (valid for 5 years) and enroll in the program. They have to enter their data in the following website:

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After the completion of the process, there will be a one-time CBP interview.

However, once it’s complete, you do not need to stand in any immigration line. There are kiosks in most major airports. The traveler has to scan in their passport at airport kiosks, and zoom down to luggage claim.

Similarly, in Houston IAH, international travelers who are U.S. citizens and have no checked luggage can go through the lines used by pilots and flight attendants for faster processing.

This process can be used by anyone, but because of the lengthy process to get into the program, it is probably feasible for frequent business travelers only. The travelers also get expedited check-in kiosks at other participating countries, as well. As more countries sign on, the price may come down.

There is a chance that this may simply become a requirement for foreign travel in the future. It will save money on personnel for countries participating in this program. Additionally, some airlines are also letting passengers cut in line for boarding the plane or for checking in for a fee. Both American and Southwest airlines are going to be offering this perk for a fee ranging from $10 to $50 per ticket.

This will be the future of travel, in a world increasingly short for time. But then, in this world, will there even be time for vacations?

Annie Banerjee, J.D.