Bonetti v. Rogers

LOCATION: Alabama State Capitol

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1957-1958)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 356 US 691 (1958)
ARGUED: Apr 07, 1958
DECIDED: Jun 02, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Bonetti v. Rogers

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 07, 1958 in Bonetti v. Rogers

Earl Warren:

Number 94, Frank Bonetti, Petitioner, versus William P. Rogers, Attorney General of the United States.

Mr. Forer.

Joseph Forer:

Mr. Chief Justice, may it please the Court.

This is a deportation case.

The petitioner, Frank Bonetti, was born in France of Italian parentage.

In 1923, when he was 15 years old, he entered to the United States and then was admitted for permanent residence as a quota immigrant.

In the depression year of 1932 in Los Angeles, he joined the Communist Party of the United States.

And sometime during 1936, he dropped out of the Communist Party.

He understood that communism meant the public ownership of the principal means of production.

And he did not believe that the Communist Party stood for the violent overthrow of the Government.

It is interesting that in both 1932 when Bonetti joined the Communist Party and 1936 when he left the Communist Party, the presidential ticket in California, in those election years, included candidates on the Communist Party ticket.

Some months after Bonetti left the Communist Party, on June 28, 1937, he left the United States and went to Spain to fight on the side of the Spanish Republic in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

He did so as he testified because he felt that Franco, in the Franco rebellion, was an instrument of Mussolini and Hitler and he felt that the Rome-Berlin Axis were not stopped in this particular aggression in Spain, they would persist in aggression until the a World War would start.

Bonetti was in active combat in Spain, was wounded and lost a foot.

Late in September of 1938, he returned to the United States with a visa and was stopped (Inaudible).

He was given a hearing before a Board of Special Inquiry to determine whether or not, he should be admitted.

At this hearing, he testified fully to his having been a member of the Communist Party between 1932 and 1936 and he testified that he had fought in Spain on the side of the Spanish Republic.

The Board of Special Inquiry ordered him excluded.

That was appealed and that decision by the Board of Special Inquiry was reversed by the -- in Washington, by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

So that on October 8, 1938, for the second time, but that he was admitted for permanent residence, under the new quota of for that year, as a quota immigrant and as a new resident.

Since that day, of October 8, 1938, when he was readmitted, he has resided in the United States, in California.

Could he been excluded in 1938, on the basis that are (Inaudible)

Joseph Forer:

He could've been excluded in 1938 for just about any reason that the immigration authorities wanted to exclude him.

He could not have been -- there was no provision of law in 1938 which excluded persons who had previous -- who had before been the members of the Communist Party.

Is that the law now, or wasn't been --

Joseph Forer:

That is correct.

Now, he has resided in the United States since his second entry in October 1938.

In the summer of 1939, he did leave the country for a one-day trip to Mexico and returned the same day or the next day.

He has not belonged to the Communist Party since he left it in 1936, so the -- he has not belonged to the Communist Party at any time since he came back to the United States and for some time before that.

In 1942, Bonetti married a native born American citizen, to whom he is still married and he became the stepfather of her two children.