Friday, January 6, 2023

U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Prohibition on Encouraging Illegal Immigration; Justices to Decide if Encouraging Illegal Immigration is Protected by First Amendment

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo
U.S. Supreme Court to consider prohibition on encouraging illegal immigration:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a bid by President Joe Biden's administration to revive a federal law that makes it a criminal offense to encourage illegal immigration after it was struck down by a lower court as a violation of free speech rights.
The justices took up the administration's appeal of a February ruling by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidating the law for infringing on rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.
The 9th Circuit's ruling threw out part of the conviction of a California man, Helaman Hansen, who had been prosecuted under the law.
The dispute is similar to one that the Supreme Court heard, but did not resolve, in 2020.
The federal government accused Hansen of deceiving undocumented immigrants between 2012 and 2016 by promising them that they could gain U.S. citizenship through an "adult adoption" program operated by his Sacramento-based business, Americans Helping America Chamber of Commerce.
The government said Hansen persuaded at least 471 people to join his program, charging them each up to $10,000 even though he "knew that the adult adoptions that he touted would not lead to U.S. citizenship." --->READ MORE HERE
AP Photo/Christian Chavez 
Justices to decide if encouraging illegal immigration is protected by First Amendment:
Scammer cites free speech protection
The Supreme Court will soon decide how far someone is allowed to go in encouraging illegal immigration.
The justices this month agreed to hear a case involving a man who bilked hundreds of illegal immigrants by promising them a pathway to legal status through adult adoption — something the government has never allowed.
Helaman Hansen was convicted of mail and wire fraud, but an appeals court overturned convictions of inducing illegal immigrants to come to or remain in the U.S. The judges ruled that the statute on inducing illegal immigration outlawed so much legitimate speech that it violated the First Amendment.
The Biden administration appealed to the Supreme Court, saying the government “regularly relies” on this part of the law to target migrant smugglers. Without it, the administration said, authorities would struggle to prosecute some bad actors.
“Unless this Court intervenes now and resolves the question presented, the decision below will continue to be a substantial impediment to the nationwide administration of the immigration laws,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar told the justices.
The case comes to the justices as the border crisis spirals out of control and as the Biden administration searches for answers that don’t involve the tough policies of its predecessor.
Hansen lured at least 471 people, whom he charged up to $10,000 each for his bogus adult adoption scheme. An FBI analyst figured his outfit made more than $1.8 million.
He admitted to agents that nobody had earned citizenship through his scam and acknowledged that adult adoption is not a pathway to legal status. --->READ MORE HERE
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