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

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

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