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9th Circuit Court Vacates Convictions for Encouraging Aliens

United States v. Hansen Docket: 17-10548, Opinion Date: February 10, 2022. Hansen operated AHA, which ran a program that purported to help undocumented immigrants become U.S. citizens through adult adoption. Hansen falsely told victims that many immigrants had become U.S. citizens through the Program. No one had achieved U.S. citizenship through the Program; it is not possible to become a U.S. citizen through adult adoption. At least 471 victims participated in the Program; each paid between $550 and $10,000. Hansen was convicted of 12 counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, and two counts of encouraging or inducing unlawful immigration for private financial gain. The Ninth Circuit vacated Hansen's convictions for encouraging or inducing an alien to reside in the U.S. for private financial gain, 8 U.S.C. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv). Subsection (iv) is overbroad and unconstitutional. Subsection (iv) prohibits someone from inspiring, helping, persuading, or influencing, through speech or conduct, one or more specified aliens to come to or reside in the United States in violation of civil or criminal law. The court rejected an argument that subsection (iv) is limited to speech integral to criminal conduct--solicitation and aiding and abetting. Subsection (iv) covers a substantial amount of speech protected by the First Amendment, given that many commonplace statements and actions could be construed as encouraging or inducing an undocumented immigrant to come to or reside in the U.S. Subsection (iv)’s narrow legitimate sweep pales in comparison to the protected expression encompassed by the subsection. #convictionvacated #unconstitutional

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