Attorney General Paxton has joined a Montana-led amicus brief requesting the United States Supreme Court to protect a 70-year-old criminal law that has been reliably used to stop the encouragement and inducement of illegal immigration.  

Attorney General Paxton is urging the Court to reverse a decision by the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that struck down a statute that the federal government has long used to prosecute smuggling and illegal immigration. The law made it illegal for an individual to “encourage” or “induce” illegal immigration. Unfortunately, the Ninth Circuit struck down the statute by misconstruing the overbreadth doctrine and implying that the law “chills” free speech.  

But every single state in the country has laws ensuring that individuals who “encourage” or “induce” crimes are brought to justice, and the words have long been well-understood in the context of criminal law. The Ninth Circuit’s erroneous decision has thus not only weakened the legal deterrent for those who wish to facilitate illegal immigration, but it has also opened up to challenge state laws in a way that could further aid violent criminals to avoid prosecution. To prevent that, it is important that the U.S. Supreme Court reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision and rein in the overbreadth doctrine from misapplication in future related cases.  

The brief states: “More than ever, illegal immigration imposes tremendous economic, social, and fiscal burdens on the states. The decision below, if left undisturbed, will impede the enforcement of criminal immigration laws nationwide, leading to significant adverse consequences for the Amici States.” 

To read the full amicus brief, click here.