Supreme Court upholds law that bars encouraging illegal immigration

NBC News 23.06.2023 17:54:08 Lawrence Hurley

The Supreme Court on Friday endorsed a federal law that criminalizes encouraging or inducing illegal immigration, saying it does not unconstitutionally infringe on free speech rights.

The court ruled in a 7-2 vote to uphold defendant Helaman Hansen's convictions under the law.

Writing for the majority, Justice Amy Coney Barrett said that the provision in question "forbids only the intentional solicitation or facilitation of certain unlawful acts," not including protected speech. As such the law does not sweep so broadly that it is unconstitutional, Barrett wrote.

The justices were considering the Biden administration's appeal of a ruling in Hansen's case that struck the law down, saying it violated free speech protections under the Constitution's First Amendment.

Hansen from 2012 to 2016 ran a program in which he charged as much as $10,000 for a purported pathway to citizenship. He claimed that undocumented immigrants could become citizens via an adult adoption service and persuaded 471 people to participate.

At trial in 2017 he was convicted of two counts of violating a federal law that prohibits encouraging or inducing unlawful immigration for private financial gain. He was also convicted of 12 counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud, convictions that are not at issue in the Supreme Court case.

He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck the law down in February 2022, saying its language was broad that it could lead to someone's being convicted merely for saying, "I encourage you to reside in the United States."

The Supreme Court in 2020 heard a similar case but sidestepped a ruling on the law's constitutionality.

This article was originally published on

vendredi 23 juin 2023 20:54:08 Categories:

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