In the US Code, there is a statute that is specifically related to illegal entry into the United States. This is 8 U.S.C. § 1325 that provides for fines (up to a whopping $500 for someone violating a second time or more) and jail time of 6 months for first offense and up to 2 years for subsequent offenses. This refers to Title 18, which is the Title that contains Federal Crimes, but illegal entry is not specifically identified there. So, basically, this is handled on a civil basis and not a Criminal basis. In addition, a $500 fine, and the fact most of these people don't get put in jail for the offense, is not a deterrent to someone committed to getting into the United States.
While looking through this section of the code, I decided to look at voting rights of aliens, and how they could possibly vote legally in the United States. This led me to 18 U.S.C. § 611 that states it is illegal for aliens to vote in Federal Elections for President, Vice President, Presidential Electors, Senators, Representatives, or Resident Commissioner, including voting in the District of Columbia for any of the above and the Delegate of District of Columbia.
This seems really quite straight forward, until you read subsection (c) which provides for an exemption to the restriction noted above and in subsection (a) of the chapter of Title 18. The exemptions provide s that an alien can vote in Federal Elections if -
- Both parents are or WERE citizens of the United States by birth or naturalization,
- The alien permanently resided in the United States since before age 16, and,
- The alien reasonably believed they were a citizen at the time of the election.