Federal appeals court rules immigration law violates free speech rights

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found a 1985 federal immigration law unconstitutional for imposing criminal penalties on those “encouraging or inducing” someone to enter or remain in the U.S. illegally. The court said the law could be used against a person urging a close relative to stay in the country beyond a visa limit or to stifle political speech against immigration laws. (San Francisco Chronicle, December 4, 2018, by Bob Egelko)

In writing for the court in a 3-0 decision, Justice A. Wallace Tashima said “abstract advocacy” could not be prohibited, only concrete assistance or inducements. (Constitutional Law Prof Blog, December 4, 2018, buy Steven D. Schwinn)

Although it has been noted that the government would not use the law to prohibit speech, Tashima cited a 2012 case in Massachusetts of a woman prosecuted under the law for advising  her undocumented house cleaner about immigration laws. (Reason, December 4, 2018, by Jacob Sullum)


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