Supreme Court Upholds Law That Protects Migrants From Schemes

( – The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on Friday in a case disputing the legality of laws that make it a crime to “encourage or induce” illegal immigration, ruling that such laws are in fact legal.

The case, United States v. Hanson, focused on California man Helaman Hansen, who in 2017 was convicted of fraud and promoting illegal immigration by promising a path to citizenship via “adult adoption.” While no such pathway even exists in U.S. law, Helaman was nevertheless able to procure $2 million out of the operation, scamming over 250 foreign nationals.

Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, writing the opinion in the case, noted how foreign nationals used their life savings to pay Helaman for the scheme.

The opinion dismissed Hansen’s argument behind the appeal, holding that a challenger must demonstrate a law prohibits protected speech outside the law’s original coverage, which according to Barrett, this particular law did not do. Helaman therefore, according to Barrett, did not meet the requirements necessary to mount a legitimate challenge.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Kentanji Brown Jackson dissented, pointing to support documents from lawyers, such as briefs, or also news articles and immigration advocacy organizations “from across the ideological spectrum,” which argue that the law could very well inhibit their operations “in the shadow of the law.”

The Court also ruled 8-1 in United States v. Texas, striking down Republican states’ efforts to challenge the Biden administration on the enforcement of federal immigration law.

The news comes as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) recently estimated that there were more than 16 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S., and that number has only increased since President Joe Biden took office. The report showed a 16% increase ever since Biden was inaugurated in 2021.

In 2021, there were over 15 million illegal immigrants in the United States. In 2023, that number climbed to 16.8 million. The report also estimates that illegal immigration is now costing the U.S. at least $150.6 billion in taxpayer dollars.

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