Two unusual immigration-related cases currently before the United States Supreme Court involve how non-citizens participate in American political processes. This year’s Presidential election makes these cases particularly noteworthy.
In Bluman v. Federal Election Commission, the plaintiffs argue that non-citizens living legally in the United States but who don’t yet have Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status (“green cards”) should have a First Amendment right to contribute to political candidates.
The plaintiffs, Benjamin Bluman and Asenath Steiman, are both foreign nationals who lawfully live and work in America but don’t yet have green cards. Current federal law prohibits foreign nationals (other than green card holders) from making political contributions in connection with any federal, state or local election in the United States. Violating the law is a crime and can result in jail time and substantial fines. The plaintiffs claim that the foreign national ban violates the First Amendment and want the U.S. Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional.
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