ON CERTIFICATE FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT.
Taft, Holmes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Sanford, Stone
MR. JUSTICE McREYNOLDS delivered the opinion of the Court.
Petitioners, Chang Chan and three others, claiming to be native born citizens of the United States permanently domiciled therein, sought release from detention by the Immigration Commissioner of four young Chinese women, alleged to be their lawful wives wedded in China prior to July 1, 1924. On that day the young women were on the high seas as passengers upon the President Lincoln. Arriving at San Francisco, July eleventh, without immigration vises as provided for by § 9, Immigration Act of 1924, c. 190, 43 Stat. 153, they sought and were
finally denied permanent admission. In support of this action the Secretary of Labor said --
"Neither the citizenship of the alleged husband, nor the relationship of the applicant to him, has been investigated for the reason that even if it were conceded that both elements exist she would still be inadmissible, as Section 13 of the Act of 1924 mandatorily excludes the wives of United States citizens of the Chinese race if such wives are of a race or persons ineligible to citizenship, and the Department has no alternative than to recommend exclusion."
The court below inquires, Jud. Code, § 239: "Should the petitioners be refused admission to the United States either, (a) because of the want of a vise; or (b) because of want of right of admission if found to be Chinese wives of American citizens?"
This cause involves no claim of right granted or guaranteed by treaty and is therefore radically different from Cheung Sum Shee et al. v. John D. Nagle, etc., this day decided, ante, p. 336.
The excluded wives are alien Chinese ineligible to citizenship here. Rev. Stat. 2169; Act May 6, 1882, c. 126, § 14, 22 Stat. 58, 61. Notwithstanding their marriage to citizens of the United States they did not become citizens and remained incapable of naturalization.
Prior to September 22, 1922, Rev. Stat. 1994 applied. It provided --
"Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen of the United States, and who might herself be lawfully ...