[G.R. No. 10972. January 28, 1916. ]
LEE CHING, Petitioner-Appellant, v. THE INSULAR COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, Respondent-Appellee.
Beaumont & Tenney for Appellant.
Attorney-General Avanceña for Appellee.
1. ALIENS; CHINESE EXCLUSION; AUTHORITY OF COURT TO ORDER DEPORTATION. — The Court of First Instance has no authority to make an order of deportation in a habeas corpus proceeding begun by a Chinese alien seeking to enter the Philippine Islands and who, after a hearing before the customs authorities, is held for deportation to China; its authority is limited to the determination of the legality or illegality of the detention and of terminating the detention where it is illegal, or, in case the detention is legal, to return the alien to the custody of the customs officials with proper instructions.
2. ID.; ID.; DEPORTATION TO PROPER COUNTRY. — Where the Collector of Customs orders a Chinese alien deported to a country not authorized by law the detention is illegal from that time forward and the court may correct it in habeas corpus proceedings.
3. ID.; ID.; ID. — Where it appears from the record made in proceedings to deport a Chinese alien who had surreptitiously entered the Philippine Islands, that the alien entered the Philippine Islands from China through Sandakan, North Borneo, selecting that route as offering better facilities than any other for entering the Philippine Islands from China surreptitiously, the alien should be deported to China and not to Sandakan.
D E C I S I O N
MORELAND, J. :
The record in this case shows that on October 6, 1914, the appellant in this case, who was charged with being a Chinese alien without right to land in the Philippine Islands, was taken before a board of special inquiry, where his right to enter was duly investigated with full opportunity to be heard. The board found that he was a Chinese alien and was not entitled to be or remain in the Philippine Islands and decreed his deportation to China. In its decision it is stated:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The board finds that Lee Ching is a Chinese alien who entered the Philippine Islands at Zamboanga unlawfully and in violation of the Act of Congress of the United States, about two months ago. He admits that he is a Chinese laborer, that he came to the Philippine Islands through the port of Zamboanga in a Moro vinta, and was not examined by any immigration inspector or board of special inquiry as required by law."cralaw virtua1aw library
The case was taken to the Insular Collector of Customs who, after due consideration, affirmed the decision of the board and ordered the appellant held for deportation to China. Appellant thereupon made application to the Court of First Instance of Manila for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that he was illegally detained. A hearing on the application was had before the court, which modified the decision of the Insular Collector of Customs and directed that the petitioner be deported to Sandakan, North Borneo, at the expense of the Philippine Government. This appeal was taken from that judgment.
There is only one error assigned in this court. It is:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The trial court erred in ordering the deportation of the accused upon a proceeding in habeas corpus, or in making any other disposition or finding than that the detention of the plaintiff was legal or illegal and ordering his release or remanding him to the custody of the detaining official."cralaw virtua1aw library
This assignment states in effect the position of the Appellant. It is, in substance, that the only matter for investigation in proceedings for a writ of habeas corpus is the legality or illegality of the detention; and that the court in such cases has no authority to pronounce a judgment of its own on the merits of the case but must either release the petitioner or remand him into the custody of the official who held him when the proceedings were begun. Arguing from this basis it is claimed that the court erred when it ordered the deportation of appellant to Sandakan, thereby modifying the order of the Insular Collector of Customs requiring his deportation to China.
We are inclined to agree with appellant in his contention. Proceedings in habeas corpus are separate and distinct from the main case from which the proceedings spring. They rarely, if ever, touch the merits of the case and require no pronouncement with respect thereto. They deal simply with the detention of the prisoner and stop with the authority by virtue of which he is detained. As a necessary consequence, that part of the judgment of the Court of First Instance which orders the deportation of appellant to Sandakan, North Borneo, is without authority and must be set aside. It was held long ago in the case of Ex parte Bollman (4 Cranch, 75,101), that "the question whether the individual shall be imprisoned is always distinct from the question whether he shall be convicted or acquitted of the charge on which he is tried, and therefore these questions are separate, and may be decided in different courts." (Ex parte Tom Tong, 108 U.S., 556; Cross v. Burke, 146 U.S., 82; Farnsworth v. Montana, 129 U.S., 104; Kurtz v. Moffit, 115 U.S., 487; Ex parte Burrus, 136 U.S., 586.)
If the Court of First Instance found on the law and the facts that the prisoner was unlawfully detained, he should have ordered his release or, if the error which rendered the detention illegal was merely technical and, therefore, curable, he should have remanded him with the proper instructions for the correction of the error; if, on the other hand, it was found that his imprisonment was legal, the application for the writ should have been dismissed.
The court evidently found that the detention was legal but that the Collector of Customs had ordered the deportation of petitioner to the wrong country; and, accordingly, pronounced a judgment of deportation of its own. We are of the opinion that the court erred in both of these particulars. If the Collector ordered the petitioner to be deported to the wrong country, the detention for that purpose was so far illegal as to give the petitioner the right to correct it by habeas corpus. While it is beyond question that the person detained had no right to enter the Philippine Islands, and it was, therefore, the duty of the customs officials to detain him to prevent his landing, that did not authorize the Collector to deport him in a manner or to a place not sanctioned by the law. If the Collector ordered the petitioner to be deported to China when, under the law, he should have been deported to Sandakan, North Borneo, he exceeded his authority and the detention of the petitioner was to that extent illegal. But, even if the court correctly found that the petitioner should have been deported to Sandakan instead of China, it should not itself have pronounced a judgment of deportation to Sandakan but should have declared the detention for the purpose of deportation to China illegal and, thereupon, should have remanded the petitioner to the custody of the Collector of Customs with instructions to deport him in accordance with the finding of the court. The court has no authority to deport in this class of cases (immigration); that power rests exclusively with the customs authorities. The power of the court is limited to determining the legality or illegality of the detention.
We are of the opinion that the court was wrong not only in the form of its judgment but in the substance also. It is well known that Sandakan, North Borneo, is one of the intermediate stations by which Chinese from the main land enter the Philippine Islands surreptitiously. Cases are frequent in the court and before the customs officials demonstrating that fact. In the present case the appellant testified that he was born in China, that he was a farmer there, that he went from there to Sandakan, and from Sandakan to the Philippine Islands in a Moro vinta, landing surreptitiously and without the knowledge or consent of the customs authorities. We are of the opinion that, under the statute, where it appears with fair clearness that the alien whose deportation is sought used Sandakan simply as a means of entering the Philippine Islands from China, the order should provide for deportation to China rather than to Sandakan. It is entirely a matter of the intention of the alien as to whether he came to the Philippine Islands from China, although by way of Sandakan, or whether he was bona fide in Sandakan and came from there to the Philippine Islands. On the whole case we are of the opinion that Sandakan was not the place from which the appellant really came to the Philippine Islands, but, rather, that he selected that place as offering better facilities than any other for entering the Islands surreptitiously. In the case of Ex parte Gytl (210 Fed., 918), discussing this same question, the court said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"It is wholly a question of intent to be gathered from all the facts and circumstances. When these are subject to different inferences, the finding of the Labor Department would be conclusive upon the courts. An alien whose ultimate object was to enter the United States might tarry for some considerable time in Canada for the purpose of eluding or deceiving the immigration officers. In any such case his entry into the United States pursuant to a previous intent so to do would justify and require his deportation to the trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic port at which he embarked. This interpretation will, in my judgment, fully meet the evil which the last clause of section 35 was intended to provide against.
"The present case does not fall within the above rule. The evidence leaves no room for doubt that these aliens never intended to enter the United States. They came to northwestern Canada with the intent of making it their home. . . . The evidence shows, and the inspector has found, that their entry into the United States was an innocent mistake. Surely, under this state of facts, neither justice nor law requires their deportation to Austria."cralaw virtua1aw library
The same question arose in the case of Ex parte Bun Chew (220 Fed., 387). There it was necessary to determine whether the petitioner in the habeas corpus proceedings should be deported to China or Mexico, he having gone from China to Mexico, where, according to the testimony, he lived about 2 years, when he entered the United States. He had been arrested and ordered deported for a violation of section 36 of the Immigration Act of 1907. In that case the court said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Complaint is also made in that he was ordered deported to China, the country whence he came originally; the contention being that, under the claim of the government that he came to the United States last from Mexico, in the event of his deportation at all he should be deported to that country, that being the country ’whence he came.’ (Section 20 of the Immigration Act.) With respect to this, however, it is clear to me that the phrase above quoted refers to the country from which the alien originally came, and not to some other country from which, he being temporarily domiciled therein, he came immediately to the United States."cralaw virtua1aw library
To the same effect is the case of Ex parte Jung Sew (221 Fed., 500), in which the District Court for the Western District of New York affirmed an order of the Acting Secretary of Labor ordering the petitioner returned to China in accordance with the provisions of the Act of Congress under which the present case is prosecuted. He had entered the United States from Canada by crossing the Niagara River and the question was whether he should be returned to China or to Canada. The court said:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"The Immigration Act merely provides for the return of certain aliens, unlawfully entering the United States and unlawfully found therein, to the trans-Atlantic or trans-Pacific ports ’from such embarkation was for a foreign contiguous territory, to the foreign port from which said aliens embarked for such territory.’ This provision would seem to indicate the legislative intent that aliens unlawfully entering the United States may be returned to the country of their birth, if they embarked from there for the United States or territory bordering thereon. It was substantially so held by the Circuit Court of Appeals in the recent case of Lee Sim v. United States (218 Fed., 432; 134 C. C. A., 232), a holding which has application to the facts herein, and which, of course, I am bound to follow."cralaw virtua1aw library
We are of the opinion on the whole case that the order of deportation entered by the Insular Collector of Customs was correct and that the proceedings for the writ of habeas corpus should have been dismissed.
The judgment of the court below is modified in the particular just stated and the cause returned to that court with instruction to dismiss the proceedings for the writ and to remand the petitioner into the custody of the Insular Collector of Customs. Without costs in this instance. So ordered.
Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Carson, and Trent, JJ., concur.
Back to Home | Back to Main