Encouraging Illegal Aliens To Remain In The US Is A Crime, Supreme Court Rules
By Jason Hopkins
The Supreme Court unanimously upheld a federal statute that forbids encouraging illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. unlawfully in a decision Thursday.
The Supreme Court justices voided an earlier decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had ruled that a federal anti-harboring statute was unconstitutional on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment by restricting free speech. The ruling by the nation’s highest court Thursday upholds the law.
The Supreme Court not only vacated the appeals court’s decision, but also criticized the judges for “drastically” straying from judicial norms.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal stalwart of the bench, wrote the high court’s opinion.
“[T]he appeals panel departed so drastically from the principle of party presentation as to constitute an abuse of discretion,” Ginsburg wrote, and later stated that “a court is not hidebound by the precise arguments of counsel, but the Ninth Circuit’s radical transformation of this case goes well beyond the pale.” (RELATED: Trump’s Win With Appeals Court Prevents Release Of 250 ICE Detainees)
The decision brings to a close a court battle that lasted roughly 10 years.
A grand jury indicted California immigration consultant Evelyn Sineneng-Smith in 2010 for multiple violations of anti-harboring laws, which make it a felony to “encourag[e] or induc[e] an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.”
Sineneng-Smith encouraged illegal alien clients to apply for a certification that would allow them to remain legally in the country, despite them not qualifying for the certification, according to the indictment. She would charge her clients a fee for this service, and allegedly made millions off of the scheme.
In a challenge to the decision, Sineneng-Smith argued that the law violated her right to free speech. The Ninth Circuit reversed her conviction, finding that the entire law was invalid as an over broad restriction of speech.