Monday, June 22, 2015
Do Immigrants Have Freedom of Speech? by Michael Kagan ,Unversity of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law 2015
California Law Review Circuit, 2015, Forthcoming UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper
The Department of Justice recently argued that immigrants who have not been legally admitted to the United States have no right to claim protections under the First Amendment. If the DOJ argument is right, then most of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. could be censored or punished for speaking their minds – as many of them have in support of comprehensive immigration reform and the Dream Act. This Essay explores the complicated and conflicted case law governing immigrants’ free speech rights, and argues that, contrary to the DOJ position, all people in the United States are protected by the First Amendment. Moreover, it argues that for reasons that have not been widely appreciated, Citizens United v. FEC offers significant doctrinal support for immigrant speech rights, because it articulates a strong rule against speech discrimination based on identity rather than content.