Supreme Court Ruling In United States v. Sineneng-Smith Leaves Little Decided On Case To Protect First Amendment Rights of Immigrant Rights Advocates and Service Providers

Advancing Justice | AAJC Says Fight’s Not Over to Protect Immigrant Rights Advocates
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins 202-296-2300, ext. 0144
Mary Tablante 202-296-2300, ext. 0114

Washington, D.C.—May 7, 2020Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of United States v. Sineneng-Smith that was anything but decisive in protecting the First Amendment rights of immigrant rights advocates and service providers. In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court said the Ninth Circuit should not have raised the issue of the law being overbroad when the parties did not do so. Thus, the Court has sent the case back down to the Ninth Circuit.

Advancing Justice | AAJC (Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC) issues the following statement in response to today’s ruling:

“Advancing Justice | AAJC remains concerned that the federal statutory provision that makes it a felony to “encourage or induce” individuals to enter or remain in the U.S. remains in place and threatens the everyday work of immigrants’ rights advocates and service providers across the country.

Advancing Justice | AAJC filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court in United States v. Sineneng-Smith to urge the Court to strike down this dangerous federal statute. As long as the statute remains in place, it has the potential to chill the everyday work of immigrants’ rights advocates and service providers who often assist undocumented individuals, their families, and their communities.

The overbroad nature of this statute could impact community-based, advocacy, and social service organizations in countless ways. Advancing Justice-AAJC’s amicus brief highlights the potentially impacted work of organizations across the country, including, Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon Communities United Fund (APANO), Arab American Institute, Asian Services in Action, Inc., Chinese-American Planning Council, Farmworker Justice, MinKwon Center for Community Action, National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC), New Mexico Asian Family Center, OneAmerica, Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and ReleaseMN8.   These and other immigrant rights advocates and service providers may remain subject to prosecution.”