WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Friday upheld a section of federal law used to prosecute people who encourage illegal immigration, ruling against a California man who offered adult adoption that he falsely claimed would lead to U.S. citizenship.
The court rejected arguments by a vote of 7 to 2 that the law is too broad and violates the constitution.
The case concerns a section of federal immigration law that says a person who “encourages or induces” a non-citizen to come or stay illegally in the United States is punishable by up to five years in prison. That is increased to 10 years if the person encouraging is doing so for personal financial gain.
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The case in court This involved Helaman Hansen, who lived in Elk Grove, California, near Sacramento. The federal government says Hansen misled hundreds of non-citizens from 2012 to 2016 into believing he could guarantee them a path to citizenship through adult adoption.
Based on Hansen’s promises, officials say, people have illegally come to the United States or stayed there, even though Hansen knew the adult adoptions he arranged would not lead to citizenship. The government says at least 471 people paid him between $550 and $10,000 each and he raised more than $1.8 million in total.
Hansen was eventually convicted of inducement charges and fraud. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for encouragement and another 20 years for fraud. But a federal appeals court ruled that the inducement law is too broad and violates the First Amendment’s freedom of speech and overturned only those convictions.
The case is United States v. Helaman Hansen, 22-179.
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