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Encouraging illegal aliens to remain in the US is a crime, Supreme Court rules

Jason Hopkins on May 8, 2020

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.”

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.

Sineneng-Smith earned more than $3.3 million off of her clients, legal affairs outlet Jurist reported.

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.

The Ninth Circuit’s reversal however, was not based on arguments presented by her defense, but by third party arguments submitted to the panel of judges.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Ninth Circuit overstepped its authority by injecting an argument not made by the defendant herself. The decision ultimately reaffirms that parties — not the courts — shape issues in a court case.

The case is now to be sent back to the Ninth Circuit “for reconsideration … bearing a fair resemblance to the case shaped by parties.”

The decision was hailed by immigration hawks.

“We applaud the Court’s well-reasoned decision,” Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of Immigration and Reform Law Institute, said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the Court did not have to reach the issue of whether this important statute is constitutional, but it did keep the law in place. When and if the overbreadth issue is brought up properly by a defendant in the future, we will be there,” Wilcox said.

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  1. Tex Bender May 8, 2020

    It’s about time! Now it’s time to arrest and Indict governors like Washington’s Jay Inslee as well as the AG from Washington and the legislators who passed, Signed and enforce the illegal law!

  2. Anonymous May 8, 2020

    Feinstein is as real as a 3 dollar bill. Typical Democrat Political Hack trying to run with 2 sets of rules. “Believe the Woman” is only in place if the accused is Republican or Conservative. When it is a member of her own party, the rules change . Feinstein, you old rodent, you are busted!

  3. Donald Draper May 8, 2020

    You’re pretty bad on the left when Ruthie smacks you down. I can just hear leftist commentators spinning.. Amazing they don’t get dizzy. Oh that’s right they already are

  4. Ted May 9, 2020

    Of course you can not openly advocate for breaking a Federal law and think that you would be covered under the First amendment ! The same way that you may not incite a riot or yell fire in a crowded movie theater unless there is actually a fire. These “judges” could not understand that ? Is this the same 9th circuit court that has its decisions REVERSED by the Supreme court in the majority of cases that they review ? They should be disbanded and replaced ..

  5. Wolf May 9, 2020

    Despite the illegality of their actions, nothing will happen to these lawyers. They should be charged with fraud if nothing else.

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