United States v. Nord Deutscher Lloyd,
223 U.S. 512 (1912)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Nord Deutscher Lloyd, 223 U.S. 512 (1912)

United States v. Nord Deutscher Lloyd

No. 611

Argued January 12, 1912

Decided February 19, 1912

223 U.S. 512


The object of § 19 of the Immigration Act of 1907, prohibiting the owners of vessels from making any charge or receiving any security for return passage of aliens brought to this country, was to carry out a policy of preventing the transportation of aliens within the excluded class by rendering it unprofitable, instead of profitable, for the vessel owner.

While a statute has no extraterritorial force, and one cannot be indicted here for what he does in a foreign country, the making of a contract in a foreign country may, as in this case, create a condition operative in this country under which acts of omission or commission can be punished here. American Banana Co. v. United Fruit Co., 213 U. S. 347, distinguished.

A vessel owner taking security in a foreign country for the return passage of aliens brought to a port of the United States violates § 19 of the Immigration Act of 1907, and the retention of the money in the United States for the return passage is an offense at the place where it is retained.

185 F. 158 reversed.

Writ of error to review a judgment sustaining a demurrer to an indictment charging the defendant with taking security and making charge for the return passage of aliens unlawfully brought into the United States, and ordered to be returned in pursuance of the Immigration Act of February, 1907.

The indictment charges that the Nord Deutscher Lloyd, a German corporation, operated a line of steamers between Bremen and New York, maintaining an office and place of business in both cities. On November 25, 1910, in Bremen, it sold tickets to two aliens entitling them to passage to New York and return. Before their embarkation, the defendant collected from them 150 rubles for the return passage money in steerage. On arrival in New

Page 223 U. S. 513

York, the aliens were ordered to be deported to Germany as likely to become public charges because of senility and inability to make a living. On December 16, 1910, after the unlawful bringing into this country of said aliens, and while they were liable to deportation on the vessel by which they came, the said 150 rubles were still held and retained in possession of the defendant up to (April 3, 1911) the date of filing the indictment,

"the defendant so holding and retaining the same and making charge thereof for the return of such aliens, and being taken and continuously held by the said defendant, as security from the said aliens, for the payment of such charge for their return passage to Germany aforesaid, in violation and evasion of § 19 of the immigration laws of the United States, approved February 20, 1907. The defendant . . . , by the means aforesaid at and within the Southern District of New York, on December 16, 1910, unlawfully and willfully did make charge for the return of aliens, so as aforesaid brought into this country in violation of law, and take security from them and keep and hold the same for the payment of such charge, then and there well knowing that such aliens had been brought to this country in violation of law."

The court sustained the demurrer on the ground that the money was paid and received in Germany, and that the facts did not amount to a violation of § 19, which provides:

"That all aliens brought to this country in violation of law shall, if practicable, be immediately sent back to the country whence they respectively came, on the vessels bringing them. The cost of their maintenance while on land, as well as the expense of the return of such aliens, shall be borne by the owner or owners of the vessels on which they respectively came."


". . . if such owner shall refuse to pay the cost of their maintenance while on land, or shall make any charge for the return of any such alien, or shall take any security from him for the

Page 223 U. S. 514

payment of such charge,"

such owner shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Page 223 U. S. 516

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