Under This Law, Encouraging Undocumented Immigrants to Seek Shelter Could Be a Crime

As wildfires raged across Northern California last week, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) took to Twitter to encourage those in need to seek shelter, even if they didn’t have lawful immigration status.

Senator Harris’s desire to protect all her constituents is admirable. It also may be a crime.

A section of the federal Immigration and Naturalization Act states that any person who “encourages or induces” a non-citizen to “come to, enter, or reside” in this country in violation of the law is guilty of a felony, and may be imprisoned for up to five years. For a person to be found guilty, the prosecution must show that the person knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that the non-citizen’s action was unlawful. Harris’s tweet arguably “encouraged” undocumented immigrants to “reside” in the country. That’s precisely the type of speech a zealous federal prosecutor could target for criminal sanction under this law.

Senator Harris is in good company. Other potential “criminals” include:

  • A woman who tells her undocumented housekeeper that she should not depart the U.S. or else she won’t be allowed back in. (A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection official stood trial in just such a case.)
  • A university president who publishes an op-ed arguing that DACA recipients should consider her campus to be a “sanctuary” after their deferred action expires.
  • A community organization that announces its shelters and soup kitchens are open to homeless undocumented youth in their area.

This law clearly oversteps the First Amendment, which does not allow the government to criminalize these kinds of speech. The Supreme Court has stated clearly: “The mere tendency of speech to encourage unlawful acts is not a sufficient reason for banning it.” That’s why the ACLU yesterday submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit arguing that this law is unconstitutional.

The government can only prohibit “unprotected” speech, like incitement to violence or speech that itself constitutes a crime, like harassment. Speech “encouraging” immigration violations does not qualify. This makes the law we challenged “presumptively unconstitutional,” because it regulates the content of things we can say.

The ACLU filed its brief in a criminal case against Evelyn Sineneng-Smith, an immigration consultant from San Jose, California. Ms. Sineneng-Smith was convicted in 2013 for filing labor applications for clients she knew were not eligible for green cards at the time. Despite the fact that all the information Ms. Sineneng-Smith filed was accurate — including disclosure of the fact that her clients had been in the country illegally for years — she was convicted of “encouraging or inducing” her clients to remain in the U.S. She has appealed her conviction.

Our brief argues that the First Amendment protects the right of an individual — whether Evelyn Sineneng-Smith or Sen. Kamala Harris — to speak their mind on this hotly debated, sensitive subject without fear of prosecution. This includes speaking with and advocating for undocumented individuals who must navigate the complex web of U.S. immigration law. With this anti-encouragement law on the books, the only sure way to avoid prosecution for such speech is self-censorship.

Now, as ever, immigration is an issue of enormous public concern and controversy, especially given the hostile stance of the Trump administration and some state officials toward immigrant communities. For those in our communities who are undocumented immigrants, or whose loved ones are undocumented immigrants, there is nothing more important than speaking on these issues. The last several months have demonstrated precisely how movements for immigrant justice rely on robust political speech: organizing rallies against deportation, speaking to undocumented people about how to avoid being separated from their families, and more.

Freedom of speech is at the foundation of these efforts, and we must strive to keep it that way.

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Dr. Joseph Goebbels

" ... of the people, by the people and for the people... " Undocumented immigrants (A.K.A. Illegal aliens) are people.

DeadPrivates

Let’s call a spade a spade... Most young minority, even many whites, in the US armed forces joined for financial reasons. Look it up. General Kelley and his son are privileged whites. Their family had money and his sons grew up privileged. They also grew up brainwashed into a violent ideology.

Most minority people in the Armed forces are enlisted financial refugees in the bottom half of their high school class, come from broke families, and have no hope of affording college. YES ITS TRUE.

So they see an opportunity in the Army, Navy or which ever branch will accept them, to get the GI bill, free medical, 3 meals a day, and other common things we rich Americans take for granted. Long gone are the days of a judge forcing a young man to join the Marines because of a court case. Now they just offer the enticement of “education” and pulling yourself out of poverty.

Look up the Basic Enlisted Pay scale. On it you will find that a Seargent makes 30,000 a year in pay. It’s increased to about 40,000 a year for a married sergeant with kids. FOURTY FUKIN THOUSAND DOLLARS THATS IT! Trump gets 200,000 for being a fukin dumbass donkey!

So of course the poor minorities volunteer for special duty. The special operations enlisted men get additional pay for serving overseas etc.. So all in all, this black minority sergeant who was killed in Nigeria was probably making around $70,000 a year and saw his family 4 months out of every other year.

Fuck You General Kelley! We join for lots of reasons, not just because we “love the service..” And yes, many because they are broke have no join other option but the street. We are the majority of your precious Corps.

Re: DeadPrivate

Yup, it’s for real. Since white America left the military for the corporate world it is mostly minority. Don’t be fooled by the “official” numbers because they count even the darkest Hispanics as whites. So when you exclude Hispanics from the white numbers, they become the minority.

Whites don’t want to believe this. But don’t be fooled, 90% of officers are white as are warrant officers. However, they only make up 10-15% of the entire force. So we are left with the 85% of enlisted people. Of the enlisted people, minorities including Hispanics counted as “white” account for 70% of the population.

So only 30% of the enlisted military is non-Hispanic white!

Y’all whites better get a clue, when we decide to coup this shit, the white generals are first!

Wikileaks

The previous poster speaks mostly truth. The DoD will lie and bend the truth, also notice they are all white accept the one token black lady spokes person they have. You can download the OPM (office of personnel management) files of all military personnel on the DarkWeb and do your own analysis. You will see most of the military is minority including Hispanics.

Richard Spencer

Aww do you poor little babies not want to hear through? Awww, that’s to bad, we are here, we are the majority and your white ass is now the minority! Awww, too bad, buddy.

Anonymous

...shall not perish from the Earth.

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/abrahamlin101395.html
Not law... not United States.

Anonymous

If they're ILLEGAL and are seeking shelter where they're expecting more aid from the US TAXPAYER then arrest them as the worthless CRIMINALS that they are and ship them back to where they belong - OUT OF THE USA ASAP!!!!!

Runnerstud

Why don't you call a spade a spade - they are not "undocumented immigrants" (immigrants imply they are here legally) - they are ILLEGAL ALIENS. Cut the PC BS.

Dakota

Unless you are astonishingly bigoted, you can't possibly think that being here illegally should result in death, which is what NOT taking shelter against wildfires could easily mean.

DeadKernal

Let’s call a spade a spade... Most young minority, even many whites, in the US armed forces joined for financial reasons. Look it up. General Kelley and his son are privileged whites. Their family had money and his sons grew up privileged. They also grew up brainwashed into a violent ideology.

Most minority people in the Armed forces are enlisted financial refugees in the bottom half of their high school class, come from broke families, and have no hope of affording college. YES ITS TRUE.

So they see an opportunity in the Army, Navy or which ever branch will accept them, to get the GI bill, free medical, 3 meals a day, and other common things we rich Americans take for granted. Long gone are the days of a judge forcing a young man to join the Marines because of a court case. Now they just offer the enticement of “education” and pulling yourself out of poverty.

Look up the Basic Enlisted Pay scale. On it you will find that a Seargent makes 30,000 a year in pay. It’s increased to about 40,000 a year for a married sergeant with kids. FOURTY FUKIN THOUSAND DOLLARS THATS IT! Trump gets 200,000 for being a fukin dumbass donkey!

So of course the poor minorities volunteer for special duty. The special operations enlisted men get additional pay for serving overseas etc.. So all in all, this black minority sergeant who was killed in Nigeria was probably making around $70,000 a year and saw his family 4 months out of every other year.

Fuck You General Kelley! We join for lots of reasons, not just because we “love the service..” And yes, many because they are broke have no join other option but the street. We are the majority of your precious Corps.

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