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Criminal Law

Primary Authority

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

This federal agency, responsible for securing America's land borders and coastal waters surrounding Florida and Southern California, compiles a list of public laws it investigates, including illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling, and illegal importation.

Federal Statutes

Federal statutes prohibiting criminal activity and delineating the rules for border enforcement activities are scattered throughout the United States Code. See the Statutes and Legislation page of the Law Library's Federal Legislature research guide for information on researching federal legislation.

State Statutes

State statutes concerning border enforcement and criminal activity are scattered throughout the Arizona Revised Statutes. See the Arizona Legislature page of the Law Library's Arizona Law research guide for information on researching state legislation.

Federal Regulations

The following titles of the Code of Federal Regulations are related to border security, immigration, citizenship, and nationality:  

See also the Regulations page of the Law Library's Federal Agencies and Executive Branch research guide for information on the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register.

State Regulations

State regulations concerning immigration and border security are scattered throughout the Arizona Administrative Code. See the Arizona Agencies page of the Law Library's Arizona Law research guide for information on the Arizona Administrative Code and the Arizona Administrative Register.

Texts and Treatises

ASU Library One Search
To see a complete list of materials available in the library related to crime along the Southwest border, search the catalog for SUBJECT:  Organized Crime -- Mexico, SUBJECT:  Crime Prevention -- Mexico, or SUBJECT:  Human Trafficking -- Mexican-American Border Region. Otherwise, peruse the list below.

Border Wars (Tom Barry, 2011)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, takes a critical view of U.S. border security efforts and examines their social, financial, and moral costs.

Borderline Slavery:  Mexico, United States, and the Human Trade (Susan Tiano & Moira Murphy Aguilar, eds., 2012)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, examines potential policy solutions to address the problem of labor and sex trafficking along the Southwest border.

Crimmigration Law (Cesar Cuauhtemoc Garcia Hernandez, 2021)
With the areas of immigration law and criminal law increasingly overlapping, "crimmigration" law implicates unique policy concerns, including immigration detention, migrants in the criminal justice system, the right to counsel, and border policing.

Gender Violence at the U.S.-Mexico Border:  Media Representation and Public Response (Hector Domínguez-Ruvalcaba & Ignacio Corona, 2010)
This book examines the portrayals of one aspect of border crime and the legal status of women who have experienced violence.

Handcuffs and Chain Link:  Criminalizing the Undocumented in America (Benjamin Gonzalez O'Brien, 2018)
This book examines anti-immigration practices, such as linking immigrants to the potential for criminality, to effectively treating border crossing as a crime justifying a militarized border. Also available as an eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central.

Human Smuggling and Border Crossings (Gabriella Sanchez, 2014)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, delves into the topics of coyotes, or smugglers of immigrants; the criminalization of immigration; gender issues; and, violence in human trafficking.

Immigration Law & Crimes (Dan Kesselbrenner & Lory D. Rosenberg, 2021)
This treatise, available on Westlaw (login required), gathers information about border crimes and enforcement, including details on federal agency action.

Organized Crime in Mexico:  Assessing the Threat to North American Economies (Cameron H. Holmes, 2014)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, considers the impact of border crimes on legitimate commerce and suggests policies to alleviate those problems.

Our Lost Border:  Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence (Sarah Cortez, ed., 2013)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, examines how drug violence has changed life along the border. Presented in both Spanish and English.

Using the Narcotrafico Threat to Build Public Administration Capacity between the US and Mexico (Donald Klingner & Roberto Moreno Espinosa, eds., 2014)
This volume identifies ways in which the governments of the United States and Mexico can collaborate to reduce militarization of border security and foster a more peaceful region. Also available as an eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central.

Women Drug Traffickers:  Mules, Bosses, and Organized Crime (Elaine Carey, 2014)
This eBook, from ProQuest Ebook Central, details the history of women's involvement in the illicit trade of human beings and drugs at the Southwest border.

Web Resources

Arizona Department of Homeland Security
This agency is dedicated to protecting the state from border crimes and terrorist threats.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection:  Border Security
This government resource provides information on border security initiatives and rules for use of force and safe tactics. Researchers can find information on border areas and ports of entry in Arizona and other states where law enforcement officials may screen foreign visitors. Links on the website enable users to find ports of entry in other states as well.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security:  Border Security
This federal agency provides an overview of actions to curtail border crime as well as the results of those activities. An independent ombudsman within DHS oversees immigration detention to provide oversight and address complaints.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
This federal law enforcement agency focuses on immigration enforcement, preventing terrorism, and combating the illegal movement of people and goods. It also manages the Online Detainee Locator System, a tool to track people in ICE custody.

American County Histories:  The Southwest (available on campus or remotely through ASURITE)
These volumes include historical accounts of crimes committed in states along the border with Mexico.

Border and Migration Studies Online (available on campus or remotely through ASURITE)
This collection provides historical background to more than thirty key worldwide border areas, including the U.S. and Mexico.

Digital National Security Archive (available on campus or remotely through ASURITE)
This resource, hosted by George Washington University, collects and publishes declassified government documents pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection:  Stats and Summaries
This federal agency provides organized operational data, including criminal enforcement efforts, use of force, and immigration at the Southwest border.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:  ICE Statistics
This federal agency provides data on administrative arrests, criminal arrests, and removals.

American Immigration Council:  Immigration and Crime
This organization, which promotes a more fair and just immigration system, provides access to a variety of materials concerning immigration and crime, including fact sheets, reports, legal resources, a blog, and press releases.

BorderReport:  Border Crime
This resource reports on stories about crime along the U.S. border with Mexico.

North American Congress on Latin America:  Border Wars
This blog from NACLA, an organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of Latin American and Caribbean peoples, examines issues surrounding Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and immigration policy.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection:  Media Releases
This resource contains press releases related to illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling, and illegal importation.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:  News
This resource, available on Westlaw (login required), contains press releases distributed by ICE.