(SANTA CLARA, CA – 2/3/2020) – The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) today announced its filing of an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in United States v. Sineneng-Smith. Alongside more than a dozen other religious organizations, including Church World Service and New Sanctuary Coalition, CAIR-CA urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a law which criminalizes some kinds of aid to undocumented people. The law does so by making it a crime to do anything that could “encourag[e] or induc[e] an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States…in violation of law.”

In 2018, the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that this law criminalizes a substantial amount of protected expression.

SEE: Encouraging Undocumented Immigrants to Stay Isn’t a Crime, Ninth Circuit Says

In the amicus brief, CAIR-CA and 15 other religious organizations explain that the law “would require amici to either turn away those in need based on immigration status, cease to perform certain charity and advocacy work entirely, or face the realistic possibility of criminal prosecution.”

SEE: Brief for Religious Organizations as Amici Curiae in Support of Respondent

In a statement, CAIR-SFBA Civil Rights and Legal Services Coordinator Ammad Rafiqi said:

To penalize individuals, groups, and organizations such as CAIR California for providing comfort, counsel and support to community members seeking a better life for themselves and their families would significantly impair advocacy efforts, muzzle constitutionally protected speech and ramp up the atmosphere of fear that is inimical to American values of freedom and equal opportunity for all who come to our shores.

CAIR-SFBA is an office of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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CONTACT: Communications Coordinator Zoha Raza, 408.986.9874, zraza@cair.com