(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) The American Civil Liberties Union and the Federal Defender’s Office for the Eastern District of California will appear before the Supreme Court to argue for Helaman Hansen, who is being charged with encouraging illegal immigrants to cross the border.
In defense of their client, ACLU argues that encouraging illegal immigration is “plainly protected” by the First Amendment and charging him is a violation of his right to free speech.
The court of appeals sided with Hansen and pushed SCOTUS to hear the case as well, according to Breitbart. The case will go to trial on March 27.
The defense team argued that not only is encouraging illegal immigration protected by the First Amendment but that the law is also in violation of the Constitution.
“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.”
Hansen operates an “adoption program” that encourages illegal immigrants to come to the U.S. and emboldening ones with expired visas to stay in the country to secure naturalized American citizenship, which he profited from, leading to the felony charges.
Cases like these have cropped up before. The former mayor of Oakland, California, Libby Schaaf, faced accusations of similar crimes after sending out a warning to businesses in the city about upcoming Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids.
“Important Alert! Credible information ICE Raids in Oakland Sunday 2/25 and Monday 2/26,” the message from the mayor’s office read. “This information comes directly from the Mayor.”
Despite her best efforts to defend herself, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions slammed Schaaf for endangering ICE agents.
Helaman’s trial comes at a critical time in the crisis at the southern border. 2022 was a record-breaking year for immigrants illegally crossing into the U.S., and 2023 looks as if it will match or possibly outpace that record.
Despite the increasing number of illegal immigrants, the Biden administration has not lifted a finger to stymie the flow causing chaos, particularly in border towns.