Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Are You Surprised that All Nine Justices Agreed on an Immigration Case?

            I did not think that it was possible, but I discovered I was wrong. All nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court voted the same way in a unanimous decision. Unanimous! Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most liberal justice on the Court, wrote the decision. The whole thing is almost impossible to believe, but it is true.

            The case is United States vs. Sineneng-Smith, and it came up through the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The nine Justices on the Supreme Court slapped it down because it “drastically” deviated from judicial norms. The “case involved a statute which prohibits encouraging illegal immigration for financial gain.” 

            It seems that a grand jury in California indicted Evelyn Sineneng-Smith in 2010 on charges that she encouraged illegal immigrants to apply for “a labor certification program that once provided a path for aliens to adjust to lawful permanent resident status.” The problem is that they did not qualify for the program, but Sineneng-Smith did not care. The ruling from the Supreme Court noted the following:

To qualify for the labor-certification dispensation she promoted to her clients, an alien had to be in the United States on December 21, 2000, and apply for certification before April 30, 2001….

Sineneng-Smith knew her clients did not meet the application-filing deadline; hence, their applications could not put them on a path to lawful residence. Nevertheless, she charged each client $5,900 to file an application with the Department of Labor and another $900 to file with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

            The federal law in question states that it is a crime to “encourage[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 made $3.3 million in her scam, and her defense claimed that she was merely engaging in free speech when she encouraged illegal immigrants to apply for something that they were not qualified to do.

            The Ninth Circuit struck down her conviction after seeking three “friends of the court” for their expert opinions about the overbreadth doctrine – no law can allow can have “an overbroad restriction on free speech.” The Ninth Circuit judges made this ruling, and this is the reason why the Supreme Court came down hard on the Ninth Circuit: 

…the appeals panel departed so drastically from the principle of party presentation as to constitute an abuse of discretion. We therefore vacate the Ninth Circuit’s judgment and remand the case for an adjudication of the appeal attuned to the case shaped by the parties rather than the case designed by the appeals panel.

            It is shocking to me to hear that there was a unanimous decision on the Supreme Court on an immigration matter because I did not expect to ever see it. The justices did not rule on the constitutionality of the law itself, but the decision did leave the law in place. In case you did not understand the law, it is illegal to encourage, suggest, or persuade an illegal alien to enter or reside in the United States knowing that it is against the law for them to be here. It seems to me that this law would apply to whomever and whatever the circumstances whether it is for money or for family. It is illegal to invite an illegal alien into the United States!

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