Supreme Court takes up law criminalizing speech that encourages illegal immigration

The Supreme Court agreed to consider a 1986 federal law found by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to be a violation of free speech rights. Ninth Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima authored an opinion that found the law could be used to chill political speech and prohibit simple statements of support. (The New York Times, November 11, 2019, by Adam Liptak)

The case will test the conservative wing of the Supreme court on its commitment to free speech. Tashima discounted the Trump administration’s argument that the law was not against speech but required specific acts in aid of illegal entry into the U.S. He noted that the government had already prosecuted someone for advising an employee about immigration law. Immigration lawyers fear that the administration intends to employ the rarely used law to intimidate lawyers and others helping undocumented immigrants. (Slate, November 18, 2019, by Lorelei Laird)

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