Hines v. Davidowitz
Annotate this Case
312 U.S. 52 (1941)
U.S. Supreme Court
Hines v. Davidowitz, 312 U.S. 52 (1941)
Hines v. Davidowitz
Argued December 10, 11, 1940
Decided January 20, 1941
312 U.S. 52
1. Applicable legislation enacted while the case was pending on appeal will be enforced by the appellate court. P. 312 U. S. 60.
2. Whatever power a State may have to restrict, limit, regulate and register aliens as a distinct group, is subject to the national legislative and treaty-making powers. P. 312 U. S. 68.
3. The Federal Alien Registration Act of 1940 forms, with the immigration and naturalization laws, a comprehensive and integrated scheme for the regulation of aliens, and precludes the enforcement of state alien registration Acts such as that adopted by Pennsylvania in 1939. P. 312 U. S. 74.
The Pennsylvania Act requires every alien 18 years or over, with certain exceptions, to register once each year; provide such information as is required by the statute, plus any "other information and details" that the Department of Labor and Industry may direct; pay $1 as an annual registration fee; receive an alien identification card and carry it at all times; show the card whenever it may be demanded by any police officer or agent of the Department of Labor and Industry, and exhibit the card as a condition precedent to registering a motor vehicle in his name or obtaining a license to operate one. The Department of Labor and Industry is charged with the duties of classifying the registrations for "the purpose of ready reference," and furnishing a copy of the classification to the Pennsylvania Motor Police. Nonexempt aliens who fail to register are subject to a fine of not more than $100 or imprisonment for not more than 60 days, or both. For failure to carry an identification card or for failure to show it upon proper demand, the punishment is a fine of not more than $10, or imprisonment for not more than 10 days, or both. P. 312 U. S. 59.
The federal Act provides for a single registration of aliens 14 years of age and over; detailed information specified by the Act, plus "such additional matters as may be prescribed by the Commissioner, with the approval of the Attorney General"; fingerprinting of all registrants, and secrecy of the federal files, which
can be "made available only to such persons or agencies as may be designated by the Commissioner, with the approval of the Attorney General." No requirement that aliens carry a registration card to be exhibited to police or others is embodied in the law, and only the willful failure to register is made a criminal offense; punishment is fixed at a fine of not more than $1000, imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both. P. 312 U. S. 60.
30 F.Supp. 470, affirmed.
APPEAL from a decree of a District Court of three judges which restrained officials of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from enforcing against an alien provisions of the Pennsylvania Alien Registration Act of 1939.
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