The precise issue in this proceeding is whether petitioner, who filed his petition for naturalization two days before the effective date of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 66 Stat. 163, 8 U. S. C. § 1101 et seq., may compel a final hearing on the same before the determination of deportation proceedings instituted after the effective date of the Act and based solely on grounds initiated by that Act. The "priority provision" of the Act, § 318, states "no petition for naturalization shall be finally heard . . . if there is pending against the petitioner a deportation proceeding." 66 Stat. 244, 8 U. S. C. § 1429.
On October 1, 1952, petitioner submitted to the Immigration and Naturalization Service a preliminary application to file a petition for naturalization, Form N-400.
Petitioner's main argument is that under § 405 (a) nothing contained in the new Act, "unless otherwise specifically provided therein, shall be construed to affect . . . any status, condition, right in process of acquisition . . . done or existing, at the time this Act shall take effect." Petitioner was eligible for citizenship under the prior law and remains eligible under the new Act. But under the prior law petitioner was not deportable. Petitioner argues that the deportation proceeding, based solely on § 241 (a) of the new Act,
We agree with petitioner that, absent a specific provision to the contrary, he has rights protected by § 405 (a). These stem from the filing of his Form N-400, from his petition for naturalization, and, perhaps, from his fulfillment of the five-year residence requirement. United States v. Menasche, supra. But we hold that § 318 specifically excepts rights under the prior law from the protection of § 405 when these rights stem from a petition for naturalization or from some other step in the naturalization process.
The practice previous to the enactment of a priority provision in the immigration and nationality laws was for both the deportation and naturalization processes to proceed along together until either petitioner's deportation or naturalization ipso facto terminated the possibility of the other occurring. See United States v. Waskowski, 158 F.2d 962. And in the few instances where deportations were stayed in order to permit aliens to obtain a
Section 318 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 re-enacted § 27 in substantially the same form, retaining the language of its predecessor in suspending final hearings on naturalization where deportation proceedings were instituted under this or any other Act. But petitioner contends that this plain language does not apply to his case because Congress did not specifically
It is true that § 318 begins with the phrase "Notwithstanding the provisions of section 405 (b)," which at first glance might indicate that it was intended not to apply to § 405 (a). But further analysis renders this position untenable. The same priority section had been inserted as an emergency provision in the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950, and had been given immediate prospective and retroactive effect. It was carried forward almost verbatim as § 318 in the 1952 Act. And to make certain that it would apply to rights existing under petitions for naturalization, the Congress added to § 318 the phrase "Notwithstanding the provisions of section 405 (b)," referring to the only part of the savings clause which deals explicitly with the law applicable to naturalization petitions. The congressional purpose must have been to have § 318 supersede rights stemming from such petitions, for under any other interpretation its previous approach under the 1950 law is unexplainedly reversed and the "notwithstanding" clause is rendered meaningless. It may be that the draftsmen could have been more exact in their language, since § 405 (a), as well as § 405 (b), embraces rights under pending petitions, see United States v. Menasche, supra. But we think their intent is plain enough.
Petitioner contends that this application of § 318 will have the result of affording more protection to prepetition rights of the Menasche-type than to inchoate rights under a petition for naturalization itself, since the former are not embraced within § 405 (b). But we do not believe § 318 differentiates between these steps in the process of naturalization. Each is but part of the whole process leading to citizenship and each is subject to the provisions of § 318.
The role thus played by § 405 (b) is in substantial accord with the operation of its predecessor, § 347 (b) of the Nationality Act of 1940, 54 Stat. 1168, 8 U. S. C. (1946 ed.) § 747. It was pointed out in Menasche, supra, that § 347 (b), with its two-year limitation, was considered to be a special limitation on the rights preserved by subsection (a) of that savings clause. The two-year period has been deleted in § 405 (b), but the subsection
In our view, § 405 (b) is the vehicle for applying each of these exceptions to the rights and liabilities emerging from naturalization proceedings under prior law and otherwise preserved by § 405 (a). In using the "notwithstanding" language in these sections, Congress clearly manifested its intent that certain policies should override the otherwise broad and pervasive principle of the savings clause. In United States v. Menasche, supra, we recognized the wide scope to be given the savings clause. We would be lax in our duty if we did not give recognition also to the congressional purpose to override the savings clause when other considerations were thought more compelling
MR. JUSTICE HARLAN took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.
"SEC. 318. . . . Notwithstanding the provisions of section 405 (b), and except as provided in sections 327 and 328 no person shall be naturalized against whom there is outstanding a final finding of deportability pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued under the provisions of this or any other Act; and no petition for naturalization shall be finally heard by a naturalization court if there is pending against the petitioner a deportation proceeding pursuant to a warrant of arrest issued under the provisions of this or any other Act: . . . ."
Section 313 (a) states: "Notwithstanding the provisions of section 405 (b), no person shall hereafter be naturalized" who engages in specified subversive activities or who is a member of described subversive organizations. 66 Stat. 240, 8 U. S. C. § 1424 (a).
Section 315 (a) provides: "Notwithstanding the provisions of section 405 (b)," one who claims or has claimed his alienage and "is or was" thereby relieved of service in the armed forces, "shall be permanently ineligible to become a citizen." 66 Stat. 242, 8 U. S. C. § 1426 (a).
Section 331 (d) provides for the ending of enemy alien status and states: "Notwithstanding the provisions of section 405 (b), this subsection shall also apply to the case of any such alien whose petition for naturalization was filed prior to the effective date of this Act and which is still pending on that date." 66 Stat. 252, 8 U. S. C. § 1442 (d).