Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, August 27, 2010

Di Pietro: Immigration Marriage Law Not Void for Vagueness

In U.S. v. Di Pietro, No. 09-13726 (Aug. 27, 2010), the Court affirmed a conviction for aiding and abetting individuals to enter into marriage for the purpose of evading federal immigration laws, and rejected constitutional challenges to 8 U.S.C. § 1325(c).

The Court rejected a void for vagueness challenge to the law, pointing out that Di Pietro conceded that the law was not vague as it applied to her. She could not challenge the law as it applied to others. The Court recognized that certain First Amendment “overbreadth” challenges can be raised by one person for others. Here, however, Di Pietro was raising a void for vagueness challenge, and her arguments did not implicate sufficiently “weighty” concerns for others to support her going forward on her challenge.

The Court also rejected the argument that the immigration law unconstitutionally preempts Florida’s marriage law. The Court noted that, to the extent there was a conflict, federal law would invalidate state law. Moreover, there was no conflict: the federal law was like other criminal laws that involve the use of legal means for illegal purposes.