SCOTUS Looks At Whether Law Against Encouraging Illegal Immigration Violates Free Speech

This should be interesting, and probably full of legal gobbledegook. Is encouraging someone to commit a federal crime free speech?

US Supreme Court examines law against encouraging illegal immigration

illegal alien DemocratThe U.S. Supreme Court on Monday will consider whether a federal law that made it a crime for a person to encourage illegal immigration violates constitutional free speech protections in a case involving a California man who deceived immigrants through a phony “adult adoption” program.

The justices are due to hear arguments in an appeal by President Joe Biden’s administration of a lower court’s decision to strike down the decades-old provision, part of a larger immigration statute, as overly broad because it may criminalize legitimate speech protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

In invalidating the law, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the 2017 conviction of Helaman Hansen for violating the provision, which bars inducing or encouraging noncitizens “to come to, enter or reside” in the United States illegally, including for financial gain.

Hansen also was convicted of mail and wire fraud and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He is out of prison while his appeal is pending.

Federal prosecutors accused Hansen of deceiving immigrants in the United States illegally by promising them between 2012 and 2016 that they could gain American citizenship through an “adult adoption” program operated by his Sacramento-based business, Americans Helping America Chamber of Commerce.

It’s interesting that the Biden admin/DOJ want to support the provision (I’m assuming it is Title 8, U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)), as Democrats are constantly encouraging/inducing people to come to the U.S. illegally and stay illegally.

The prosecution said Hansen persuaded at least 471 people to join his program, charging each of them up to $10,000 even though he “knew that the adult adoptions that he touted would not lead to U.S. citizenship.” Hansen and his program collected more than $1.8 million through the scheme, authorities said.

In its February 2022 ruling striking down the law, the 9th Circuit ruled that it criminalizes even commonplace speech such as telling immigrants who are in the country illegally, “I encourage you to reside in the United States,” or advising them about available social services. The 9th Circuit upheld Hansen’s other convictions and ordered that he be resentenced.

Hansen should be in jail for the fraud in that 1st paragraph. As to the free speech portion, people are rarely prosecuted for it, but, we know how the liberals on the Court will vote. What will the Constitutional Conservatives rule? On one hand, you have a stringent belief in the 1st Amendment provision of free speech, and Congress did make a law. However, there is no free speech when it comes to encouraging/inducing people to commit an illegal act. However, this is usually held when encouraging someone to commit a felony, and illegal entry is not a felony, at least not the first offense. We should have the ruling by June.

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7 Responses to “SCOTUS Looks At Whether Law Against Encouraging Illegal Immigration Violates Free Speech”

  1. Professor Hale says:

    It is a whole new level of insanity to claim that encouraging people to commit crimes is protected speech. It is a pretty well established legal principle that such a thing is a criminal act like Incitement to riot and has deep roots in common law. To be protected, the speech would need to be in an academic or political venue where it is obvious that the law itself is being reviewed. Thus, for example, it is legal to advocate for repeal of weed prohibition, but not legal to advocate that people buy weed where it is still prohibited. Judges should know this. Sadly, too many judges today are activists and use their courts to create law to their liking.

  2. Professor Hale says:

    Since Hansen has already been sentenced for 20 years for fraud, it is pointless to even consider the speech part of the case. Looks like some immigration activist is trying to push it forward as a test case.

  3. MrLiberty says:

    We have laws against inciting a riot and similar. What is the difference as encouragement in this case is towards the commission of a federal crime (yes, the current worthless administration doesn’t see this as the federal crime it is, but you get my point)?

  4. H says:

    Would reading the Biblical verses that say that we must welcome strangers and treat them as we treat each other, be deemed unlawful?
    Asking for a friend

  5. Dan says:

    This isn’t difficult. Finding against such a law would call into question laws against “inciting to riot”. How bout we simply arrest and punish those who violate immigration laws. Do that and all the “verbal encouragement” in the world won’t matter.

    • Professor Hale says:

      There is another application to this law that is beneficial to society. If FBI agents and informants were guilty of violating the law themselves when they “encouraged” some “militia group” into kidnapping a governor, there would be less of that sort of thing going on.

      Remember, the only “terrorists” that the FBI has caught are ones that they themselves supported.

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