The left-wing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is set to argue before the Supreme Court that encouraging illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. is “plainly protected” by the First Amendment, according to Breitbart News.
This week, the ACLU and the Federal Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of California filed a brief on behalf of Helaman Hansen, who was previously convicted for operating an adoption program that enticed illegal aliens to come to the U.S. and for visa-holders to overstay their visas in the hopes of securing naturalized American citizenship.
As part of his conviction, Hansen was found to have encouraged illegal immigration for his own financial gain under a federal law that makes it a felony to encourage illegal immigration. Hansen appealed that specific conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, claiming the law is broad and unconstitutional.
The court of appeals eventually sided with Hansen, spurring the government to petition SCOTUS to hear the case. Last month, SCOTUS announced that it would hear the case on March 27.
“The Supreme Court should not expand the category of speech that can be criminalized to include speech that merely encourages conduct that is not a crime,” the ACLU’s Esha Bhandari said in a statement:
The encouragement provision chills a large amount of constitutionally protected, everyday speech to and about the tens of millions of noncitizens in the country. To permit the government to make speech a crime when it does not even encourage criminal activity would be unprecedented.
This wouldn’t be an issue if there weren’t tens of millions of “noncitizens” in the country. Let’s start there.