MR. JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question presented by the Secretary's appeal is whether Congress may condition an alien's eligibility for participation in a federal medical insurance program on continuous residence in the United States for a five-year period and admission for permanent residence. The District Court held that the first condition was unconstitutional and that it could not be severed from the second. Since we conclude that both conditions are constitutional, we reverse.
Each of the appellees is a resident alien who was lawfully admitted to the United States less than five years ago. Appellees Diaz and Clara are Cuban refugees who remain in this country at the discretion of the Attorney General; appellee Espinosa has been admitted for permanent
On August 18, 1972, Diaz filed a class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern
On September 28, 1972, the District Court granted leave to add Clara and Espinosa as plaintiffs and to file an amended complaint. That pleading alleged that Clara had been denied enrollment for the same reasons as Diaz, but explained that Espinosa, although a permanent resident since 1971, had not attempted to enroll because he could not meet the durational residence requirement, and therefore any attempt would have been futile. The amended complaint sought relief on behalf of a subclass represented by Espinosa—that is, aliens admitted for permanent residence who have been or will be denied enrollment for failure to meet the five-year continuous residence requirement—as well as relief on behalf of the class represented by Diaz and Clara.
None of the appellees completely exhausted available avenues for administrative review. Nevertheless, the
The District Court held that the five-year residence requirement violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment
The Secretary appealed directly to this Court.
Espinosa's claim squarely raises the question whether the requirement of five years' continuous residence is constitutional, a question that is not necessarily presented by the claims of Diaz and Clara. For if the requirement of admission for permanent residence is valid, their applications were properly denied even if the durational residence requirement is ineffective.
We have little difficulty with Espinosa's failure to file an application with the Secretary until after he was joined in the action. Although 42 U. S. C. § 405 (g) establishes filing of an application as a nonwaivable condition of jurisdiction, Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319, 328; Weinberger v. Salfi, 422 U. S., at 764, Espinosa satisfied this condition while the case was pending in the District Court. A supplemental complaint in the District Court would have eliminated this jurisdictional issue;
A further problem is presented by the absence of any formal administrative action by the Secretary denying Espinosa's application. Section 405 (g) requires a final decision by the Secretary after a hearing as a prerequisite of jurisdiction. Mathews v. Eldridge, supra, at 328-330; Weinberger v. Salfi, supra, at 763-765. However,
The plaintiffs in Salfi alleged that their claims had been denied by the local and regional Social Security offices and that the only question was one of constitutional law, beyond the competence of the Secretary to decide. These allegations did not satisfy the exhaustion requirements of § 405 (g) or the Secretary's regulations, but the Secretary failed to challenge the sufficiency of the allegations on this ground. We interpreted this failure as a determination by the Secretary that exhaustion would have been futile and deferred to his judgment that the only issue presented was the constitutionality of a provision of the Social Security Act.
The same reasoning applies to the present case. Although the Secretary moved to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, at the hearing on the motion he stipulated that no facts were in dispute, that the case was ripe for disposition by summary judgment, and that the only issue before the District Court was the constitutionality of the statute.
We conclude, as we did in Salfi, that the Secretary's submission of the question for decision on the merits by the District Court satisfied the statutory requirement of a hearing and final decision. We hold that Espinosa's claim, as well as the claims of Diaz and Clara, must be decided.
There are literally millions of aliens within the jurisdiction of the United States. The Fifth Amendment, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, protects every one of these persons from deprivation of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Wong Yang Sung v. McGrath, 339 U.S. 33, 48-51; Wong Wing v. United States, 163 U.S. 228, 238; see Russian Fleet v. United States, 282 U.S. 481, 489. Even one whose presence in this country is unlawful, involuntary, or transitory is entitled to that constitutional protection. Wong Yang Sung, supra; Wong Wing, supra.
In the exercise of its broad power over naturalization
In particular, the fact that Congress has provided some welfare benefits for citizens does not require it to provide like benefits for all aliens. Neither the overnight visitor, the unfriendly agent of a hostile foreign power, the resident diplomat, nor the illegal entrant, can advance even a colorable constitutional claim to a share in the bounty that a conscientious sovereign makes available to its own citizens and some of its guests. The decision to share that bounty with our guests may take into account the character of the relationship between the alien and this country: Congress may decide that as the alien's tie grows stronger, so does the strength of his claim to an equal share of that munificence.
The real question presented by this case is not whether discrimination between citizens and aliens is permissible; rather, it is whether the statutory discrimination within the class of aliens—allowing benefits to some aliens but not to others—is permissible. We turn to that question.
For reasons long recognized as valid, the responsibility for regulating the relationship between the United States and our alien visitors has been committed to the political branches of the Federal Government.
Since it is obvious that Congress has no constitutional duty to provide all aliens with the welfare benefits provided to citizens, the party challenging the constitutionality of the particular line Congress has drawn has the burden of advancing principled reasoning that will at once invalidate that line and yet tolerate a different line separating some aliens from others. In this case the appellees have challenged two requirements—first, that the alien be admitted as a permanent resident, and, second, that his residence be of a duration of at least five years. But if these requirements were eliminated, surely Congress would at least require that the alien's entry be lawful; even then, unless mere transients are to be held constitutionally entitled to benefits, some durational requirement would certainly be appropriate. In short, it
We may assume that the five-year line drawn by Congress is longer than necessary to protect the fiscal integrity of the program.
The task of classifying persons for medical benefits, like the task of drawing lines for federal tax purposes, inevitably requires that some persons who have an almost equally strong claim to favored treatment be placed on different sides of the line; the differences between the
The cases on which appellees rely are consistent with our conclusion that this statutory classification does not deprive them of liberty or property without due process of law.
Graham v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 365, provides the strongest support for appellees' position. That case holds that state statutes that deny welfare benefits to resident aliens, or to aliens not meeting a requirement of durational residence within the United States, violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and encroach upon the exclusive federal power over the entrance and residence of aliens. Of course, the latter ground of decision actually supports our holding today that it is the business of the political branches of the Federal Government, rather than that of either the States or the Federal Judiciary, to regulate the conditions of entry and residence of aliens. The equal protection analysis also involves significantly different considerations because it concerns the relationship between
Insofar as state welfare policy is concerned,
The distinction between the constitutional limits on state power and the constitutional grant of power to the Federal Government also explains why appellees' reliance on Memorial Hospital v. Maricopa County, 415 U.S. 250, is misplaced. That case involved Arizona's requirement of durational residence within a county in order to receive nonemergency medical care at the
Finally, we reject the suggestion that U. S. Dept. of Agriculture v. Moreno, 413 U.S. 528, lends relevant support to appellees' claim. No question involving alienage was presented in that case. Rather, we found that the denial of food stamps to households containing unrelated members was not only unsupported by any rational basis but actually was intended to discriminate against certain politically unpopular groups. This case involves no impairment of the freedom of association of either citizens or aliens.
We hold that § 1395o (2) (B) has not deprived appellees of liberty or property without due process of law.
The judgment of the District Court is
"Every individual who—(1) is entitled to hospital insurance benefits under Part A, or (2) has attained age 65 and is a resident of the United States, and is either (A) a citizen or (B) an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence who has resided in the United States continuously during the 5 years immediately preceding the month in which he applies for enrollment under this part, is eligible to enroll in the insurance program established by this part."
This case does not raise any issues involving subsection (1).
"All immigrants residing in the United States who have attained the age of 65 and who have been or will be denied enrollment in the supplemental medical insurance program under Medicare, 42 U. S. C. § 1395j et seq. (1970), because they are not aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence who have resided in the United States continuously during the five years immediately preceding the month in which they apply for enrollment as required by [42 U. S. C. § 1395o (2) (B) (1970 ed., Supp. IV)].
"All immigrants lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States who have attained the age of 65 and who have been or will be denied enrollment in the supplemental medical insurance program under Medicare, 42 U. S. C. § 1395j et seq. (1970), solely because of their failure to meet the five-year continuous residency requirement of [42 U. S. C. § 1395o (2) (B) (1970 ed., Supp. IV)]." Diaz v. Weinberger, 361 F.Supp. 1, 7 (1973) (footnote omitted).
These class certifications are erroneous. The District Court did not possess jurisdiction over the claims of the members of the plaintiff class and subclass who "will be denied" enrollment. Those who "will be denied" enrollment, as the quoted phrase is used in the certification, are those who have yet to be denied enrollment by formal administrative decision. See id., at 6-7, and n. 7. But the complaint does not allege, and the record does not show, that the Secretary has taken any action with respect to such persons that is tantamount to a denial. It follows that the District Court lacked jurisdiction over their claims, see Weinberger v. Salfi, 422 U.S. 749, 764, and that the class and subclass are too broadly defined. In view of our holding that the statute is constitutional, we need not decide whether a narrower class and subclass could have been properly certified.
A multitude of federal statutes distinguish between citizens and aliens. The whole of Title 8 of the United States Code, regulating aliens and nationality, is founded on the legitimacy of distinguishing between citizens and aliens. A variety of other federal statutes provide for disparate treatment of aliens and citizens. These include prohibitions and restrictions upon Government employment of aliens, e. g., 10 U. S. C. § 5571; 22 U. S. C. § 1044 (e), upon private employment of aliens, e. g., 10 U. S. C. § 2279; 12 U. S. C. § 72, and upon investments and businesses of aliens, e. g., 12 U. S. C. § 619; 47 U. S. C. § 17; statutes excluding aliens from benefits available to citizens, e. g., 26 U. S. C. § 931 (1970 ed. Supp. IV); 46 U. S. C. § 1171 (a), and from protections extended to citizens, e. g., 19 U. S. C. § 1526; 29 U. S. C. § 633a (1970 ed., Supp. IV); and statutes imposing added burdens upon aliens, e. g., 26 U. S. C. § 6851 (d); 28 U. S. C. § 1391 (d). Several statutes treat certain aliens more favorably than citizens. E. g., 19 U. S. C. § 1586 (e); 50 U. S. C. App. § 453 (1970 ed., Supp. IV). Other statutes, similar to the one at issue in this case, provide for equal treatment of citizens and aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence. 10 U. S. C. § 8253; 18 U. S. C. § 613 (2) (1970 ed., Supp. IV). Still others equate citizens and aliens who have declared their intention to become citizens. E. g., 43 U. S. C. § 161; 30 U. S. C. § 22. Yet others condition equal treatment of an alien upon reciprocal treatment of United States citizens by the alien's own country. E. g., 10 U. S. C. § 7435 (a); 28 U. S. C. § 2502.
Appellees also gain no support from Washington v. Legrant, 394 U.S. 618, a case decided with Shapiro v. Thompson. Legrant involved a congressionally imposed requirement of one year's residence within the District of Columbia for receipt of welfare benefits. As in Shapiro v. Thompson, no question of alienage was involved. We held that the requirement violated the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment for the same reasons that the state-imposed durational residency requirements violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. 394 U. S., at 641-642. Unlike the situation in Shapiro and Legrant, the durational residency requirement in this case could at most deter only the travel of aliens into the United States. The power of Congress to prevent the travel of aliens into this country cannot seriously be questioned.