Supreme Court Rules that Criminal Encouragement of Illegal Immigration is Constitutional

On June 23, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of United States v. Hansen, holding that a statute that makes it a crime to “encourage” or “induce” someone to enter or remain in the US illegally does not violate the free speech protections of the First Amendment. 

What they’re saying:

  • The defendant in the case had argued, and the Ninth Circuit agreed, that the language of the statute was too broad and ended up prohibiting speech that should be protected under the First Amendment.
  • In its ruling, however, the Supreme Court clarified that the words “encourage” and “induce,” as used in the statute, are legal terms of art that do not carry the same broad meanings they would have in ordinary conversation.

In the context of criminal law, these terms are limited in their application to include only offenses analogous to criminal solicitation or facilitation under already established common law precedent, not the types of protected free speech that the Ninth Circuit was concerned about. The statute was upheld as Constitutional.

Erickson Insights

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