The Wrongs of Unlawful Immigration (Ana Aliverti, Criminal Law and Philosophy, Vol, 11, Issue 2, pp 375–391, June 2017)

For too long, criminal law scholars overlooked immigration-based offences. Claims that these offences are not ‘true crimes’ or are a ‘mere camouflage’ to pursue non-criminal law aims deflect attention from questions concerning the limits of criminalization and leave unchallenged contradictions at the heart of criminal law theory. My purpose in this paper is to examine these offences through some of the basic tenets of criminal law. I argue that the predominant forms of liability for the most often used immigration offences are, at least in principle, controversial and depart from what is often presented as the paradigm in criminal law. Above all, immigration offences are objectionable because they fall short in fulfilling the harm principle and, given that criminal punishment as used against immigration offenders is often a secondary, ancillary sanction to deportation, they license excessive imposition of pain.