Chy Lung v. Freeman
92 U.S. 275 (1875)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Chy Lung v. Freeman, 92 U.S. 275 (1875)

Chy Lung v. Freeman

92 U.S. 275

Syllabus

1. The statute of California which is the subject of consideration in this case does not require a bond for every passenger, or commutation in money, as the statutes of New York and Louisiana do, but only for certain enumerated classes, among which are "lewd and debauched women."

2. But the features of the statute are such as to show very clearly that the purpose is to extort money from a large class of passengers, or to prevent their immigration to California altogether.

3. The statute also operates directly on the passenger, for unless the master or owner of the vessel gives an onerous bond for tine future protection of the state against the support of the passenger, or pays such sum as the Commissioner of Immigration chooses to exact, he is not permitted to land from the vessel.

4. The powers which the commissioner is authorized to exercise under this statute are such as to bring the United States into conflict with foreign nations, and they can only belong to the federal government.

5. If the right of the states to pass statutes to protect themselves in regard to the criminal, the pauper, and the diseased foreigner landing within their

Page 92 U. S. 276

borders exists at all, it is limited to such laws as are absolutely necessary for that purpose, and this mere police regulation cannot extend so far as to prevent or obstruct other classes of persons from the right to hold personal and commercial intercourse with the people of the United States.

6. The statute of California in this respect extends far beyond the necessity in which the right, if it exists, is founded, and invades the right of Congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and is therefore void.

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