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Palm Beach County Immigration Attorney > Blog > Deportation Defense > What Happens if You Try to Take Too Much Cash Across the US Border?

What Happens if You Try to Take Too Much Cash Across the US Border?


When entering the United States, you might be tempted to carry large amounts of cash into the country. Perhaps this cash represents your life savings, and you had no other way to safely transport it from a war-torn nation. Maybe you prefer to deal in cash due to a general distrust of the financial system. Whatever the case may be, you should be very careful when carrying cash across the border – particularly if you want to remain in the United States as a new immigrant.

Border Protection Officers Seize $85,000 in Undeclared Cash 

People attempt to bring large quantities of cash across the US border all the time. In April of 2024, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that a teenager had been caught crossing the border with $85,000 in cash. Agents discovered the notes hidden within the teen’s vehicle, seized it, and triggered a criminal investigation.

In the report, CPB stressed that carrying more than $10,000 across the border is not illegal. However, failing to declare cash above the $10,000 limit is a federal offense. If agents discover undeclared cash in excess of this limit, they will seize it. You can try to get your cash back, but you must prove that the money comes from a legitimate source. If you fail to do this, CBP will keep your cash.

Is Bulk Cash Smuggling a Deportable Offense in Florida? 

The specific federal offense for crossing with more than $10,000 in undeclared notes is “bulk cash smuggling.” If convicted of this offense, you face up to five years in prison. However, it is not a “crime of moral turpitude.” In addition, bulk cash smuggling is not specifically highlighted as a “deportable offense” under 8 USC 1227. A conviction of bulk cash smuggling may not lead to automatic deportation in the same way as other offenses.

That being said, bringing $85,000 in cash across the border will undoubtedly trigger a criminal investigation. If authorities discover that the cash is connected to certain criminal activities, this may lead to additional charges. Some of these secondary charges may be deportable offenses. For example, authorities might charge you with money laundering after discovering the source of your cash. This is a deportable offense. Alternatively, they might discover that the cash stems from human or drug trafficking operations. These are also deportable offenses.

 Work With a Deportation Defense Lawyer in Palm Beach County 

Carrying suspicious amounts of cash across the US border is just one example of behavior that can lead to deportation. If you face deportation, however, you may still have a chance to remain in the country. To discuss the most appropriate legal strategies, book a consultation with a deportation defense lawyer in Palm Beach County. Choose The Devore Law Group – and get started with an action plan today.





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