LOW WAH SUEY V. BACKUS, 225 U. S. 460 (1912)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Low Wah Suey v. Backus, 225 U.S. 460 (1912)

Low Wah Suey v. Backus

No. 869

Argued April 30, 1912

Decided June 7, 1912

225 U.S. 460


Congress may pass laws forbidding aliens or classes of aliens from coming within the United States and may provide for their expulsion; it may also devolve upon the executive department or subordinate officers the right and duty of carrying out the law. Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U. S. 228.

Hearing on proceedings for deporting aliens before executive officers may be made conclusive when fairly conducted. One attacking such proceedings in the courts must show that the officers conducting them were manifestly unfair and abused the discretion committed to them. Otherwise the order of executive officers within the authority of the statute is final.

When a case is decided upon demurrer, the question is whether a case was made upon those allegations which are well pleaded, and not upon those that are mere conclusions of law.

A preliminary examination of an alien without counsel is permitted by the statute, and if at subsequent stages of the proceedings the alien has counsel, there is no denial of right.

The Alien Immigration Acts of 1907 and 1910 do not give authority to the Commissioner or Secretary to issue process to compel attendance of witnesses on behalf of the alien held for deportation. The alien is not denied rights if the witnesses produced on his behalf are heard.

The Act of 1907 is not unconstitutional as denying one held for deportation of his liberty without due process of law because it does not give the immigration officers power to compel his witnesses to appear.

This Court cannot pass on an objection that hearsay evidence was received and not communicated to the alien where the record does not disclose the nature of the testimony.

This Court is not prepared to declare the rules of the Secretary of Commerce and Labor in regard to proceedings for deportation of aliens to be so arbitrary as to deprive the alien of a fair hearing and chanrobles.com-red

Page 225 U. S. 461

beyond the power of the Secretary to make under the authority given by the statute. The statute expressly provides for a summary hearing.

As a general rule in habeas corpus proceedings, a copy of the record of the proceedings attacked is required, Craemer v. Washington, 168 U. S. 124, and if petitioner cannot comply with the rule by annexing a complete copy, he should comply with it so far as it is within his power.

The Alien Immigration Act in terms applies to all aliens.

An alien is one born out of the jurisdiction of the United States and who has not been naturalized under its Constitution and laws.

The effect of the marriage of an alien woman to a male citizen of the United States is not determined by the common law. That matter is regulated by statute.

Under 1994, Rev.Stat., a woman who could be naturalized becomes by her marriage to a citizen of the United States a citizen herself. See Kelly v. Owen, 7 Wall. 496.

Quaere whether a woman, incapable under the laws of the United States of being naturalized, can become a citizen of the United States by marriage to a citizen thereof.

An alien who has become a citizen of one of the states can be excluded under the Alien Immigration Act if within a class prohibited to enter.

All statutes must be given a reasonable construction, with a view of effecting the object and purposes thereof.

The object of the provisions of the Alien Immigration Acts of 1907 and 1910 providing for deportation of prostitutes was to prevent the introduction and keeping in this country of women of the prohibited class, and even if a woman married to a citizen might be permitted to enter if she does not belong to that class, if she is found violating the statute by being in a house of prostitution, she becomes subject to the deportation provisions thereof notwithstanding her marriage to a citizen.

Where Congress has power to pass an act and its provisions are plain, the court must apply it even in a hard case.

If a statute should be amended to prevent its operation in particular cases, that result can only be accomplished by an exercise of legislative authority.

The facts, which involve the construction of the Alien Immigration Act of February 20, 1907, and the right thereunder of the government to deport the alien Chinese wife chanrobles.com-red

Page 225 U. S. 462

of a Chinese citizen found within three years after entering this country in a house of prostitution, are stated in the opinion. chanrobles.com-red

Page 225 U. S. 466


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