United States ex Rel. Stapf v. Corsi
287 U.S. 129 (1932)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States ex Rel. Stapf v. Corsi, 287 U.S. 129 (1932)

United States ex Rel. Stapf v. Corsi

No. 10

Argued October 17, 1932

Decided November 7, 1932

287 U.S. 129

CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT

Syllabus

An alien seaman who had entered the United States irregularly in 1923, but under the three-year limitation of the Immigration Act of 1917, was not subject to deportation, signed in 1929 as a member of the crew of an American ship for a round-trip voyage to Germany. Some time after his return, he was arrested for deportation as an alien who had remained here in violation of the Act of 1924.

Held:

1. Upon his return in 1929, the alien came from a place outside the United States within the meaning of the immigration laws, and his arrival was an entry into this country notwithstanding he was a member of the crew of an American ship which had made a round-trip voyage. P. 287 U. S. 132.

2. That he entered without permission does not entitle him as an alien seaman to more than the sixty days stay allowed by the regulations. P. 287 U. S. 132.

3. The statutory duty of the master to bring back to the United States a seaman who signs for a round-trip voyage could not make his entry in 1929 lawful, nor confer on him the right to remain here permanently. Pp. 287 U. S. 132-133.

4. The fact that he could not have been deported at the time he signed for the round-trip voyage could not make his status upon

Page 287 U. S. 130

his return in 1929 that of an " immigrant previously lawfully admitted to the United States who is returning from a temporary visit abroad," and thus a nonquota immigrant within § 4 of the 1924 Act, since he was not lawfully admitted for permanent residence in 1923. P. 287 U. S. 133.

54 F.2d 1086 affirmed.

Certiorari, 285 U.S. 535, to review a judgment affirming a judgment which dismissed a writ of habeas corpus to secure the release of an alien in deportation proceedings under the Immigration Act of 1924.

MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

By writ of habeas corpus, petitioner challenged the legality of his arrest for deportation as an alien alleged to have remained in the United States in violation of the terms of § 14 of the Immigration Act of 1924 (c. 190, 43 Stat. 153, 162). That section provides:

"Any alien who at any time after entering the United States is found . . . to have remained therein for a longer time than permitted under this subchapter or regulations made thereunder shall be taken into custody and deported. . . ."

The undisputed facts are that petitioner, a German citizen, deserted his ship, the Hansa, February 15, 1923, in the port of New York, and remained in this country until March, 1929, when he signed as a member of the crew of a vessel of United States registry, the America, for a voyage to Germany and return. This vessel stayed in Germany two and a half days, but it does not appear whether petitioner went ashore. He arrived in the

Page 287 U. S. 131

United States on the return voyage in April, 1929, and was discharged from the ship, but was not examined by any immigration officer, nor did he possess an immigration vise or pay a head tax. On March 20, 1931, while working in Florida as a butcher, he was arrested on a warrant charging that he had remained in the country for a period longer than permitted by the Immigration Act of 1924 and the regulations thereunder. After hearing, an order of deportation was made. On this showing, the District Court dismissed the writ, and the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

The entry in 1923 was irregular, and petitioner was not entitled to remain. [Footnote 1] Under the statute then in force, he was subject to be deported, but such action could be taken only within three years of his entry. [Footnote 2] The Immigration Act of 1924 did not alter the status of one who had unlawfully entered the country or remained after the passage of the Act of 1917, [Footnote 3] but abolished the three-year period of

Page 287 U. S. 132

limitation only as to those entering after 1924. Section 14, quoted supra; Philippides v. Day,283 U. S. 48. The petitioner was therefore entitled to invoke immunity under the Act of 1917 unless he lost it by making the voyage to Germany in 1929.

The question is whether, by so doing, he made a new entry into the United States which left him amenable to the provisions of the Act of 1924. The court below answered in the affirmative. [Footnote 4] Other Circuit Courts of Appeal have held the contrary. [Footnote 5] In view of these conflicting decisions, certiorari was granted.

The relator's arrival in the United States in April, 1929, was an entry into this country notwithstanding he was a member of the crew of an American ship which had made a round-trip voyage. He came from a place outside the United States, and from a foreign port or place, within the meaning of the immigration laws. United States ex rel. Claussen v. Day,279 U. S. 398. While that case construed § 19 of the Act of February 5, 1917, and the time limitation on deportation therein contained, the decision as to what constitutes an entry is equally conclusive in construing other sections of the immigration law.

That petitioner entered without permission does not entitle him as an alien seaman to more than sixty days' stay in the United States. His noncompliance with the regulations respecting such seamen cannot confer upon him greater rights than if he had satisfied their requirements. Philippides v. Day, supra.

The statutes requiring the master of a ship, under penalties, to bring back to the United States a seaman who signs for a round-trip voyage are said to make the entry

Page 287 U. S. 133

of April 1929, lawful. The argument, in substance based upon the theory that an American vessel is American soil, was effectively answered, as respects the requirements of the Immigration Acts, in the Claussen case, supra. Irrespective of any statutory duty to return the seaman to this country, the petitioner's entry would have been lawful had he complied with the provisions of statute and regulation for temporary sojourn as an alien seaman. The obligation of the master to return him did not, as contended, confer the right to remain here permanently.

If we are to disregard petitioner's status as an alien seaman, the law required that he should have submitted himself to inspection, should have produced an immigration visa, and paid a head tax, if, as an immigrant, he desired to apply for citizenship. [Footnote 6] He did none of these things, and, in this aspect, remained here in violation of law.

The suggestion is made that, since the relator could not have been deported after the expiration of three years from his original entry in 1923, his status, when discharged as one of the crew of the America in 1929, was that of an "immigrant previously lawfully admitted to the United States, who is returning from a temporary visit abroad," and thus he was a nonquota immigrant within § 4 of the Act of 1924. [Footnote 7] But he was not lawfully admitted for permanent residence in 1923, and his stay here cannot be converted into such lawful residence by the mere fact that the then-applicable statute limited the time within which deportation proceedings could be had. United States ex rel. Georgias v. Day, 43 F.2d 917.

The judgment is

Affirmed.

[Footnote 1]

Section 32 of the Act of February 5, 1917, c. 29, 39 Stat. 874, 895, then in force, but since repealed by the Immigration Act of 1924, provided:

"That no alien excluded from admission into the United States by any law . . . and employed on board any vessel arriving in the United States from any foreign port or place shall be permitted to land in the United States, except temporarily for medical treatment, or pursuant to regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Labor providing for the ultimate removal or deportation of such alien from the United States. . . ."

[Footnote 2]

Section 34 of the Act of February 5, 1917, c. 29, 39 Stat. 874, 896:

"Any alien seaman who shall land in a port of the United States contrary to the provisions of this subchapter shall be deemed to be unlawfully in the United States, and shall at any time within three years thereafter, upon the warrant of the Secretary of Labor, be taken into custody and brought before a board of special inquiry for examination as to his qualifications for admission to the United States, and, if not admitted, said alien seaman shall be deported. . . ."

[Footnote 3]

Section 20(d) of the Immigration Act of 1924, c.190, 43 Stat. 153, 165:

"Section 32 of the Immigration Act of 1917 is repealed, but shall remain in force as to . . . all seamen, arriving in the United States prior to the enactment of this Act."

[Footnote 4]

United States ex rel. Stapf v. Corsi, 54 F.2d 1086.

[Footnote 5]

Kirk v. U.S. ex rel. Lawreason, 24 F.2d 64; Weedin v. Banzo Okada, 2 F.2d 321; Matsutaka v. Carr, 47 F.2d 601.

[Footnote 6]

U.S.C. Tit. 8, §§ 132, 167(a), 202, 203, 204, 205, 208.

[Footnote 7]

U.S.C. Tit. 8, § 204.

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