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U.S. Supreme Court Urged to revive a ban on encouraging illegal immigration

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U.S. Supreme Court Urged to revive a ban on encouraging illegal immigration

U.S. Supreme Court Urged to revive a ban on encouraging illegal immigration

The justices took up the Biden administration’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling invalidating the law for infringing on rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

A league of Republican-led states told the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday that striking down a federal law making it a crime to encourage illegal immigration would negatively affect criminal rules adopted by every state in the country.

The coalition was Led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s office. The 25 states in an amicus brief said an appeals court was wrong to rule that the decades-old law violated the free speech provisions of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

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U.S. Supreme Court Urged to revive a ban on encouraging illegal immigration

The Supreme Court is considering whether to reverse that ruling in a case affecting Helaman Hansen, a California man who was charged with violating the law by running a sham “adult adoption” program for immigrants.

Last year, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law, which makes it a crime to encourage or induce illegal immigration, was too broad and could apply to a swath of constitutionally protected speech.

U.S. Supreme Court Urged to revive a ban on encouraging illegal immigration

But the states, in their amicus brief, said the terms “encourage” and “induce” have a particular meaning in criminal law and that every U.S. state uses them to define an array of criminal conduct.

“The Ninth Circuit’s decision threatens to upend these criminal laws, undermining the state’s power to create and enforce a criminal code,” they said.

Knudsen was joined by the attorney generals of Texas, Florida, Georgia and Ohio, among other states.

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U.S. Supreme Court Urged to revive a ban on encouraging illegal immigration

The U.S. Department of Justice and a lawyer for Hansen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Arguments in the case are scheduled for March 27, with a decision expected by June.


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