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Federal Court Rules That Encouraging Illegal Immigration Is Protected in Constitution



Encouraging illegal immigration has been ruled as a form of free speech that is protected under the First Amendment.

The ruling was handed down by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to Politico.

The law that was struck down pre-dates the administration of President Donald Trump.

“Criminalizing expression like this threatens almost anyone willing to weigh in on the debate,” Judge A. Wallace Tashima wrote in his opinion. Tashima, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, was supported by fellow Clinton appointee Marsha Berzon and Andrew Hurwitz, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

In his 42-page ruling, Tashima explained his reasoning.

“A speech addressed to a gathered crowd, or directed at undocumented individuals on social media, in which the speaker said something along the lines of ‘I encourage all you folks out there without legal status to stay in the U.S.! We are in the process of trying to change the immigration laws, and the more we can show the potential hardship on people who have been in the country a long time, the better we can convince American citizens to fight for us and grant us a path to legalization,’ could constitute inducement or encouragement under the statute,” he wrote.

“But, this general advocacy could not be considered incitement because there is no imminent breach of the peace. It would not be aiding and abetting or solicitation because it is general and is not advocating a crime. Instead, it is pure advocacy on a hotly debated issue in our society,” he added.

Tashina said the law could be construed to hold a grandmother in violation of it if she told her grandson to stay in the U.S. past the expiration date on his visa.

During a 2017 hearing in the case, Berzon foreshadowed the court’s rejection of the law.

“What is the limit of this statute?” she said then, according to Politico.

“If I have a neighbor and he’s illegal, and he comes to me and says, ‘Should I stay or should I leave? What should I do?’ and I say, ‘Stay, because they’re probably not going to find you,’ is that a crime? … Encourage is a pretty loose word; what does it mean?” she said.

Prosecutors had used the law to convict former immigration consultant Evelyn Sineneng-Smith, who encouraged illegal immigrants to apply for various government benefits they were ineligible to receive.

Sineneng-Smith was convicted on tax and mail fraud charges in addition to the law thrown out by the 9th Circuit this week. The other convictions were upheld by the 9th Circuit panel.

It was unclear if there would be an appeal. The Justice Department did not issue any comment on the ruling.

According to a press release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the time of her conviction, Sineneng-Smith “encouraged immigrants from the Philippines to overstay their tourist visas so they could work illegally in residential healthcare facilities.”

“Those who choose to undermine our nation’s legal immigration system will be held accountable for their actions,” said Tatum King, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in San Francisco. “We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement counterparts to investigate criminals who have no regard for the law and often disrupt the lives of innocent victims.”

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  • Diana says:

    No way is illegal anything ok or protected in our Constitution that includes illegal immigrants, same sex marriage, abortion it only been done by perverted sick so called judges that should have been removed from the courts immediately for doing such illegal garbage also obcare another illegal garbage think we are going to have to go to Washington and clean it up ourselves to get this nation back on track use to be a beautiful country the leftist perverted socialist communist are destroying it.

  • Terry says:

    Show it to me in the Constitution where this is written, because I’m having a real hard time right now finding something that says it’s ok to break the law.

  • VaWhiteTailHunter says:

    Imagine my surprise when in the first paragraph I read that it is the 9th Circuit. Anytime you read that a law has been found unconstitutional, you can bet that opinion came out of the LobotomizedLeftist 9th Circuit.

  • Maurice says:

    It’s more like aiding, ( mentally ), and abetting illegals, does this apply to someone encouraging them to vote as well, ( obuamss ).

  • Robert Kenneth Pavlick says:


    Freedom of Speech does NOT include: inciting to violence, or encouraging others to break our laws, you absolute moron !!!!

  • Rockne Hughes says:

    Ms Berzon would have committed a crime if she had advocated that her neighbor stay because he/she might not have been found. It is called “aiding and abetting a fugitive” for an illegal in the country is just that, a fugitive from the law.

  • RWF