The petitioner, an unmarried woman and a native of Russia, came to the United States in the year 1897 or 1898, at the age of about twelve years, accompanied by
The pertinent provisions of the act of 1907 are set forth in the margin.
The acts of 1903 and 1907 being revisions or compilations (with some modifications) of previous acts pertaining to the same general subject-matter, a reference list, in chronological order, is for convenience set forth in the margin.
Upon the reasoning and authority of these cases, a similar construction was given to the act of 1903 in United States v. Aultman Co. (1906), 143 Fed. Rep. 922 (affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals, 148 Fed. Rep. 1022), the attention of the court apparently not having been directed to the question whether any significant change had been made in the law by the revision of 1903.
But in Taylor v. United States (1907), 152 Fed. Rep. 1, which was a review by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit of a judgment of conviction upon an indictment for a misdemeanor for permitting an alien sailor to land in New York, contrary to § 18 of the act of
Shortly after the decision of the Circuit Court of Appeals in the Taylor Case, the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Rodgers v. United States, ex rel. Buchsbaum (1907), 152 Fed. Rep. 346, held that the provision of § 2 of the act of 1903, enumerating the classes of aliens to be excluded from admission into the United States, and amongst them "persons afflicted with a loathsome or with a dangerous contagious disease," and the provision of § 19, for the deportation of "aliens brought into this country in violation of law," could not be construed so as to extend to aliens domiciled in this country; affirming In re Buchsbaum, 141 Fed. Rep. 221. In United States v. Nakashima (1908), 160 Fed. Rep. 842, the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit adopted the same view of the act of 1903 expressed in the Aultman and Buchsbaum cases, rejecting that adopted by the Court of Appeals in Taylor v. United States.
On the other hand, the latter decision has been followed in a number of cases arising under the act of 1907, which in this respect does not materially differ from the act of
The authority of Congress over the general subject-matter is plenary; it may exclude aliens altogether, or prescribe the terms and conditions upon which they may come into or remain in this country. Chinese Exclusion Case, 130 U.S. 581, 603; Nishimura Ekiu v. United States, 142 U.S. 651, 659; Fong Yue Ting v. United States, 149 U.S. 698, 713: Lem Moon Sing v. United States, 158 U.S. 538, 547.
The question, therefore, is not the power of Congress, but its intent and purpose as expressed in legislation. The cases that have held the immigration acts not to apply to domiciled aliens returning after a temporary absence have been rested in part upon the use of the term "immigration" in the titles of the respective acts, and in part upon the employment of that or similar terms in the enacting clauses.
As authority for a liberal interpretation of the acts, two decisions of this court have at times been referred to, which have, however, little, if any, present pertinency. Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, held that the Contract-labor Law of February 26, 1885 (23 Stat. 332, c. 164), did not forbid a contract for employing a clergyman. The act was construed according to its spirit rather than its letter, and in view of its title, the evil intended to be remedied, the circumstances surrounding
The legislative history of the act of 1903 demonstrates that the elimination of the word "immigrant" and other equivalent qualifying phrases was done deliberately. The bill originated in the House of Representatives, where the Committee Report declared that its general purpose was "to bring together in one act scattered legislation heretofore enacted in regard to the immigration of aliens into the United States . . . to amend such portions thereof as have been found, either as the result of experience in administering the law or of judicial decision, to be inadequate to accomplish the purpose plainly intended thereby; and to add thereto such further provisions as seemed to be demanded by the consensus of enlightened public opinion." H. Rept. 982, 57th Cong., 1st Sess. The report of the Senate Committee likewise explained
Counsel for petitioner cites the debates in Congress as indicating that the act was not understood to refer to any others than immigrants. But the unreliability of such debates as a source from which to discover the meaning of the language employed in an act of Congress has been frequently pointed out (United States v. Trans-Missouri Freight Ass'n, 166 U.S. 290, 318, and cases cited), and we are not disposed to go beyond the reports of the committees. Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, 463; Binns v. United States, 194 U.S. 486, 495; Johnson v. Southern Pacific Co., 196 U.S. 1, 19.
It is earnestly insisted that the omission of the word "immigrant" is of little consequence, because it does not apply at all to the excluding section. It is said that the words "alien immigrant" did not occur in the acts of 1875, 1882, 1885, or 1887, and did not occur in the excluding section of the act of 1891, but only in its eighth section — that which related to manifesting. But in the act of 1893, "To facilitate the enforcement," etc., each section was made to apply to "alien immigrants." The force of the argument pretty well disappears when we recall that it was in spite of the absence of the word "immigrant" in the
Upon a review of the whole matter, we are satisfied that Congress, in the act of 1903, sufficiently expressed, and in the act of 1907 reiterated, the purpose of applying its prohibition against the admission of aliens, and its mandate for their deportation, to all aliens whose history, condition or characteristics brought them within the descriptive clauses, irrespective of any qualification arising out of a previous residence or domicile in this country.
The excluding section as found in the act of 1907 contains in its own language the clearest answer to the entire argument for the petitioner. It reads as follows (34 Stat. 898, c. 1134, § 2): "That the following classes of aliens shall be excluded from admission into the United States: All idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, epileptics, insane persons, and persons who have been insane within five years previous; persons who have had two or more attacks of insanity at any time previously; paupers; persons likely to become a public charge; professional beggars; persons afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease; persons not comprehended within any of the foregoing excluded classes who are found to be
There remains, therefore, only the use of the word "immigration" in the title of the act to furnish support for petitioner's contention. But it is only in a doubtful case that the title of an act can control the meaning of the enacting clauses, and there is no such doubt here. United States v. Fisher, 2 Cranch, 358, 386; Holy Trinity Church v. United States, 143 U.S. 457, 462; Coosaw Mining Co. v. South Carolina, 144 U.S. 550, 563; Patterson v.
It was not intended, in the opinion of this court in Taylor v. United States, 207 U.S. 120, 126, to intimate an opinion with respect to the construction of § 18 of the act of 1903 that is inconsistent with the result now reached. There the Circuit Court of Appeals (one judge dissenting) had construed that section as excluding even the ordinary sailor, if an alien; basing this construction upon the changes wrought by Congress in the revision of 1903. This court, speaking by Mr. Justice Holmes, said: "A reason for the construction adopted below was found in the omission of the word `immigrant' which had followed `alien' in the earlier acts. No doubt that may have been intended to widen the reach of the statute, but we see no reason to suppose that the omission meant to do more than to avoid the suggestion that no one was within the act who did not come here with intent to remain. It is not necessary to regard the change as a mere abbreviation, although the title of the statute is `An act to regulate the immigration of aliens into the United States.'" Of course, this language was employed with reference to the facts of that case, and was not intended to negative a purpose on the part of Congress to bring within the reach of the statute aliens who had previously resided in this country. In that case there was no element of previous residence.
SEC. 3. . . . any alien woman or girl who shall be found an inmate of a house of prostitution or practicing prostitution, at any time within three years after she shall have entered the United States, shall be deemed to be unlawfully within the United States and shall be deported as provided by sections twenty and twenty-one of this Act. 34 Stat. 899.
SEC. 20. That any alien who shall enter the United States in violation of law, . . . shall, upon the warrant of the Secretary of Commerce and Labor, be taken into custody and deported to the country whence he came at any time within three years after the date of his entry into the United States. 34 Stat. 904.
SEC. 21. That in case the Secretary of Commerce and Labor shall be satisfied that an alien has been found in the United States in violation of this Act, or that an alien is subject to deportation under the provisions of this Act or of any law of the United States, he shall cause such alien within the period of three years after landing or entry therein to be taken into custody and returned to the country whence he came, as provided by section twenty of this Act, . . . 34 Stat. 905.
Rev. Stat. title "Immigration," §§ 2158-2164.
"An act supplementary to the acts in relation to immigration," approved March 3, 1875, 18 Stat. 477, c. 141.
"An act to regulate Immigration," approved August 3, 1882, 22 Stat. 214, c. 376.
"An act to prohibit the importation and migration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the United States, its Territories, and the District of Columbia," approved February 26, 1885, 23 Stat. 332, c. 164.
"An act to amend an act to prohibit the importation and immigration of foreigners and aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor in the United States, its Territories, and the District of Columbia," approved February 23, 1887, 24 Stat. 414, c. 220.
"An act making appropriations to supply deficiencies," etc., approved October 19, 1888, containing clauses amending acts of February 26, 1885, and of February 23, 1887, 25 Stat. 565, 566, 567, c. 1210.
"An act in amendment to the various acts relative to immigration and the importation of aliens under contract or agreement to perform labor," approved March 3, 1891, 26 Stat. 1084, c. 551.
"An act to facilitate the enforcement of the immigration and contract-labor laws of the United States," approved March 3, 1893, 27 Stat. 569, c. 206.
"An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses," etc., approved August 18, 1894, containing clauses amending immigration laws, 28 Stat. 372, 390, 391, c. 301.
"An act to regulate the immigration of aliens into the United States," approved March 3, 1903, 32 Stat. 1213, c. 1012.
"An act to regulate the immigration of aliens into the United States," approved February 20, 1907, 34 Stat. 898, c. 1134.
"An act to amend an act entitled `An act to regulate the immigration of aliens into the United States,' approved February twentieth, nineteen hundred and seven," approved March 26, 1910, 36 Stat. 263, c. 128.