The proviso of § 22 of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917,
under which the wife of a "naturalized" citizen, married to him
after his naturalization and sent for by him, may be admitted
without detention for treatment in hospital though found to be
affected with a contagious disorder, cannot be extended by judicial
construction to include the wife of a native born citizen. P.
264 U. S.
287 F. 533 affirmed.
Certiorari to a judgment of the circuit court of appeals which
affirmed a judgment of the district court denying a petition for a
writ of habeas corpus.
Page 264 U. S. 444
MR. JUSTICE SUTHERLAND delivered the opinion of the Court.
Chung Fook is a native-born citizen of the United States. Lee
Shee, his wife, is an alien Chinese woman, ineligible for
naturalization. In 1922, she sought admission to the United States,
but was refused and detained at the immigration station on the
ground that she was an alien, afflicted with a dangerous contagious
disease. No question is raised as to her alienage or the effect and
character of her disease, but the contention is that, nevertheless,
she is entitled to admission under the proviso found in § 22 of the
Immigration Act of February 5, 1917, 39 Stat. 891, c. 29. The
section is copied in the margin. *
A petition for a writ of habeas corpus was denied by the Federal
District Court for the Northern District of California, and upon
appeal to the circuit court of appeals, the judgment was affirmed.
287 F. 533.
The pertinent words of the proviso are:
"That if the person sending for wife or minor child is
Page 264 U. S. 445
a wife to whom married or a minor child born subsequent to such
husband or father's naturalization shall be admitted without
detention for treatment in hospital. . . ."
The measure of the exemption is plainly stated and, in terms,
extends to the wife of a naturalized citizen only.
But it is argued that it cannot be supposed that Congress
intended to accord to a naturalized citizen a right and preference
beyond that enjoyed by a native-born citizen. The court below
thought that the exemption from detention was meant to relate only
to a wife who, by marriage, had acquired her husband's citizenship,
and not to one who, notwithstanding she was married to a citizen,
remained an alien under § 1994 Rev.Stats.:
"Any woman who is now or may hereafter be married to a citizen
of the United States, and who might herself be lawfully
naturalized, shall be deemed a citizen."
To the same effect, see Ex parte Leong Shee,
364. We are inclined to agree with this view; but, in any event,
the statute plainly relates only to the wife or children of a
naturalized citizen and we cannot interpolate the words
"native-born citizen" without usurping the legislative function.
Corona Coal Co. v. United States, 263 U.
; United States v. First National Bank,
234 U. S. 245
234 U. S.
-260; St. Louis, Iron Mountain
& Southern Railway Co. v. Taylor,
Page 264 U. S. 446
281, 210 U. S. 295
Amy v. Watertown, 130 U. S. 320
130 U. S. 327
words of the statute being clear, if it unjustly discriminates
against the native-born citizen, or is cruel and inhuman in its
results, as forcefully contended, the remedy lies with Congress,
and not with the courts. Their duty is simply to enforce the law as
it is written, unless clearly unconstitutional.
"Sec. 22. That whenever an alien shall have been naturalized or
shall have taken up his permanent residence in this country, and
thereafter shall send for his wife or minor children to join him,
and said wife or any of said minor children shall be found to be
affected with any contagious disorder, such wife or minor children
shall be held, under such regulations as the Secretary of Labor
shall prescribe, until it shall be determined whether the disorder
will be easily curable or whether they can be permitted to land
without danger to other persons, and they shall not be either
admitted or deported until such facts have been ascertained, and if
it shall be determined that the disorder is easily curable and the
husband or father or other responsible person is willing to bear
the expense of the treatment, they may be accorded treatment in
hospital until cured, and then be admitted, or if it shall be
determined that they can be permitted to land without danger to
other persons, they may, if otherwise admissible, thereupon be
that, if the person sending for wife
or minor children is naturalized, a wife to whom married or a minor
child born subsequent to such husband or father's naturalization
shall be admitted without detention for treatment in hospital, and
with respect to a wife to whom married or a minor child born prior
to such husband or father's naturalization, the provisions of this
section shall be observed even though such person is unable to pay
the expense of treatment, in which case the expense shall be paid
from the appropriation for the enforcement of this act."