US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that "crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil.". She said this in a context in which she was referring to sneaking across the boarder, not legal immigration. Well, "In fact, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 1325, crossing the border illegally is a crime--a misdemeanor for the first offense and a felony for the second and subsequent offenses" (http://www.steinreport.com/archives/012406.html).
More at http://michellemalkin.com/2009/04/21/janet-napolitano-said-what.