H.R. 1029: Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2009

H.R. 1029

Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2009

Date
March 31, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On March 31, 2009, H.R. 1029 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Rep. Hill (D-IN) on February 12, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 1029 would require the Department of Homeland Security to conduct checks on any alien smugglers or smuggled individuals that are apprehended at any U.S. borders against all available terrorist watch lists.

The bill sets specific penalties for individuals convicted of smuggling illegal aliens into the United States of:

  • Up to 5 years incarceration for smuggling;
  • Up to 20 years for smuggling that results in serious bodily injury; and,
  • The death penalty or life in prison for smuggling that results in death.

The bill sets mandatory minimum penalties for smugglers convicted of smuggling for commercial or personal gain and for smuggling an alien into the U.S. to commit a felony.

The bill adds up to an additional 30 years imprisonment for alien smugglers convicted of smuggling a person who intends to engage in terrorist activity.

The bill adds up to an additional life sentence if the smuggler is convicted and the offense involves kidnapping or attempted kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse or attempted aggravated sexual abuse, or attempted homicide.

The bill amends U.S. maritime law to add the following penalties:

  • Up to 10 years imprisonment for maritime offenses committed in the course of smuggling, trafficking, shipping, stolen property, drug, and other offenses;
  • Up to 15 years for offenses resulting in serious bodily injury;
  • Up to life in prison for an offense resulting in death, or involving kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse, or attempted homicide.

The bill limits the ability to which defendants in both alien smuggling and maritime offense cases can employ the use of "necessity" as a defense.

The bill directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to promulgate regulations in accordance with this legislation.

Background

Similar legislation, H.R. 2399, passed the House on May 22, 2007, by a vote of 412-0-6

Within the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) is charged with securing our nation's land and maritime borders between official ports of entry (POE) to deter and interdict terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and aliens attempting to enter the country unlawfully.

Trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation or forced labor, both within a country and across international borders, is a lucrative criminal activity that is of major concern to the United States and the international community. While most trafficking victims still appear to originate from South and Southeast Asia or the former Soviet Union, human trafficking is a growing problem in Latin America and the Caribbean. Countries in Latin America serve as source, transit, and destination countries for trafficking victims. Latin America is also a primary source for the up to 17,500 people that are trafficked to the United States each year. (CRS: RL 33200)

Cost

A CBO score is not yet available.