Supreme Court Case Could Criminalize Speech ‘Encouraging’ Illegal Immigration

by Admin on December 3, 2019

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The US Supreme Court has decided to hear a case regarding an immigration law that criminalizes anyone who “encourages” or “induces” illegal immigration.

More specifically, the rarely-enforced immigration law states that any person who engages in speech that “encourages or induces an alien to reside in the United States” while knowing the immigrant has no legal status, can be punished.

The case involves an immigration consultant who told her undocumented clients that they could remain in the US under a program that no longer existed.

In a prior court case, she was convicted by the government under fraud charges.

On top of that though, the government also charged and convicted her for “encouraging” illegal immigration, which she said violates her free speech.

US immigration attorneys and activists also agree that the ruling and the underlying law pose a massive threat to political speech in favor of immigration and legal work on behalf of illegal immigrants.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also agreed, striking down the “encouragement” conviction while upholding the fraud charges.

The court stated, for example, that the law could be used to prosecute social media users for arguing that undocumented workers should stay until US immigration laws are changed or lawyers that tell their illegal immigrant clients that they have better due process rights in the US.

The government has argued that the “encouragement” law doesn’t criminalize speech but specifically requires actions to be taken to facilitate undocumented immigration.

But read broadly, the law makes no statement of this requirement.

The government has already convicted a Customs and Border Protection official for knowingly employing an undocumented worker and telling her not to go back to her country.

Read the full story here.

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