Posted on May 8, 2020

US Top Court Tosses Ruling Against Illegal Immigration Encouragement Law

Andrew Chung, Reuters, May 7, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday threw out a lower court ruling that had invalidated a decades-old federal law defended by President Donald Trump’s administration that makes it a felony to encourage illegal immigration.

The high court, ruling 9-0, did not resolve the legal merits of the dispute but faulted the 2018 decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as an overreach. The justices found that the 9th Circuit had based its decision on an issue never presented in the California case – the question of whether the law at issue was overly broad.

The Supreme Court, in its tersely worded ruling written by liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sent the case back to the 9th Circuit to start its work again. {snip}

The 9th Circuit struck down the law as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech because it is overly broad, criminalizing a wide array of ordinary conversations and advice. The 9th Circuit found that the law could criminalize even simple speech, such as a grandmother suggesting to her relative whose visa had expired to stay in the country.