Could picking up loved ones lead to trafficking charges?

The southern border of Texas is a focal point for immigration law enforcement. The border patrol and even unofficial organizations try to stop people from crossing the border without paperwork or permission. 

There are underground professionals whose sole occupation involves helping get people across the border, sometimes with their consent and for money, other times without their permission, treating them like livestock. 

You don’t need any involvement with the criminal organization performing these kinds of activities to face human trafficking charges. You only need a connection to the movement of illegal immigrants. 

What you don’t know could hurt you

A distant family member or a former neighbor reaches out to you to tell you that they will be in Texas and would love to visit with you. They don’t have a car, so could you come and pick them up? 

You feel suspicious, but the location that they suggest is not right at the border or near any border checkpoints on the road. What you may not realize is that an increasingly large number of undocumented immigrants have started to cross the border on foot. Rather than risk getting picked up close to the border, they may continue walking for a few more days before making plans to leave Texas. 

If you pick up a family member and then drive them to Oklahoma, you could face trafficking charges if you get caught with them in your vehicle. Even if you did not move them across the border yourself, you will have a hard time proving your ignorance and innocence in the eyes of law enforcement. 

Learning more about what may constitute human trafficking or other immigration crimes can reduce the risk of making a potentially criminal mistake.