U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court will consider ban on encouraging illegal immigration in case of 'adult adoption' promoter

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Immigrants behind a wall painted with the American flag and topped with barbed wire

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The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider the constitutionality of a law making it a crime to encourage or induce illegal immigration for commercial advantage or private financial gain.

The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the law violates the First Amendment in the case of Helaman Hansen, who was convicted under the law for promoting “adult adoption” as a way to for noncitizens to gain U.S. citizenship, according to the government’s cert petition.

No one had achieved citizenship under an adult adoption program, but Hansen nonetheless charged up to $10,000 “to pursue the false hope of that outcome,” the cert petition says. He was convicted of mail and wire fraud in addition to violations of the inducement law.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at San Francisco had overturned the illegal inducement convictions, ruling the law was overbroad in violation of the First Amendment.

The 9th Circuit had ruled the same way in another case, United States v. Sineneng-Smith. That case went before the Supreme Court, which did not reach the First Amendment issue, according to SCOTUSblog.

Instead, the court ruled that the 9th Circuit should not have addressed the overbreadth issue because it was not raised by the defendant.

The Associated Press, Reuters and SCOTUSblog had coverage of the new cert grant in United States v. Hansen. The SCOTUSblog case page is here.

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