South Texas Border Patrol removes tracks that could lead to aliens following for illegal access across the border..Photographer: Donna Burton [Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons]

Court Rules Law Criminalizing Encouragement to Enter US Illegally is Invalid

It is no longer illegal to encourage non-citizens to enter the United States illegally.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a law banning the encouragement of non-citizens to enter or reside in the country illegally by a margin of 2-1.

The reason the court stated was the the federal law criminalized “vast amounts of protected speech.”

That speech included informing non-citizens about social programs and encouraging family member to stay after their Visas expire, The Daily Caller reports.

The Caller report also stated:

The law places criminal punishment on those who “encourages or induces 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,” according to 8 U.S. Code 1324.

The 10th Circuit’s ruling aligned with a Kansas judge’s decision to dismiss indictments that accused two men of violating the law by helping organize an operation that employed illegal migrants in construction jo.

Wednesday’s 10th Circuit’s opinion differs from the 4th Circuit, which upheld the law in the 2011 case United States v. Tracy. In an unpublished opinion, the court said the law could infringe on peoples’ free-speech rights in particular cases, but was not overly broad, according to Reuters.

Judge Bobby Baldock who dissented in the case said that the law requires proof the defendant meant to solicit activity that violated US Immigration law and that the communication was essential to the criminal activity.

This would have not been covered by thew First Amendment.

The majority disagreed and saw the law as punishing free speech, which is constitutionally protected.

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