Kansas judge rules that immigration law is unconstitutional

Published: Aug. 22, 2019 at 1:13 PM CDT
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A federal judge in Kansas has ruled that a law making it a crime to "encourage" or "induce" immigrants to enter the country illegally is unconstitutional.

KCUR-FM reports that U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia issued his ruling from the bench Wednesday before throwing out the convictions of Jose Felipe Hernandez-Calvillo and Mauro Papalotzi. They worked for a Lawrence drywall company while in the country illegally.

After they were convicted, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco found that the law violated the First Amendment. Kansas isn't governed by that court, but Murguia found the argument persuasive.

Violations of the contested law carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, with another five tacked on if the defendant acted for "commercial advantage or private financial gain."