Citizens Free Press: "
"Encouraging Illegal Immigration Is Protected Speech, 9th Circuit Rules"
"A federal law that bars Americans from encouraging or inducing a foreigner to stay in the U.S. illegally violates the First Amendment’s protections of free speech, an appeals court ruled Tuesday.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of California immigrant counselor Evelyn Sineneng-Smith on the grounds that she was prosecuted under a law that the judges called “unconstitutionally overbroad.”
The Justice Department prosecuted a San Jose woman who ran an immigration consulting firm, for allegedly helping arrange green cards for those working in the country illegally.
“We do not think that any reasonable reading of the statute can exclude speech. To conclude otherwise, we would have to say that ‘encourage’ does not mean encourage, and that a person cannot ‘induce’ another with words. At the very least, it is clear that the statute potentially criminalizes the simple words – spoken to a son, a wife, a parent, a friend, a neighbor, a coworker, a student, a client – ‘I encourage you to stay here,’” the opinion said. “The statute thus criminalizes a substantial amount of constitutionally-protected expression. The burden on First Amendment rights is intolerable when compared to the statute’s legitimate sweep.”
The law would make it punishable if someone “encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States” if the encourager knew, or recklessly disregarded “the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.”
There was no immediate response to the decision from the Justice Department."