Leng May Ma v. Barber

LOCATION: Shotwell Manufacturing Co.

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

CITATION: 357 US 185 (1958)
ARGUED: May 20, 1958
DECIDED: Jun 16, 1958

Facts of the case


Media for Leng May Ma v. Barber

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - May 20, 1958 in Leng May Ma v. Barber

Earl Warren:

Number 105, Leng May Ma, Petitioner versus Bruce G. Barber, District Director, Immigration and Naturalization Service and Number 396, I see those would be argued -- no.

They're to be argued separately.

So you'll proceed with yours sir.

Mr. Hertogs

Joseph S. Hertogs:

Mr. Chief Justice, Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, may it please the Court.

We are here today, seeking reversal of a judgment entered in the District Court and affirmed in the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The petitioner in the instant case was born in China in about 1938.

Some time prior to the Communist invasion, she and other members of the family moved to Hong Kong and took up residence in Hong Kong.

In 1951, when she was 12 and a half years of age, her father submitted in her behalf an application for documentation with the American Consulate General at Hong Kong.

American Consulate General issued documentation in the case and the girl proceeded to the port of entry of San Francisco, California.

Subsequent to the time of her arrival in 1951, the Immigration and Naturalization Service determined that she had failed to reasonably establish her claimed relationship to her citizen father and therefore, her claim to United States nationality.

As a result, they ordered her excluded and deported from the United States as an alien, not in possession of a proper immigration visa authorizing her admission for permanent residence.

How old she was?

Joseph S. Hertogs:

She was 12 and a half years of age at the time of her arrival.

During the interim, prosecution had taken place.

The Government in the prosecution contended that the parents and one other member of the family had committed perjury in a primary and preliminary statements made to officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

Those members of the family were indicted and they were acquitted.However, during the interim, they saw fit to parole her into the United States.

As a result, the proceedings in the instant case were not concluded for a considerable period of time.

The ultimate decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals was not arrived at until 1953.

In the early part of 1954, the petitioner received a notice to surrender for deportation to Communist China.

And merely after following such notification, there was filed in her behalf with the District Director of the Immigration and Naturalization Service who is the respondent in the instant proceeding, an application for a stay or deportation on the grounds of physical persecution.

Such application was filed, presumed to regulations and in effect.

It was contended in that petition that this -- this petitioner would suffer physical persecution, probable death and at least would be required to adhere to predispose to which she did not believe.

The Immigration Service refused to accept such application, stating that she was not a person eligible for that relief, that merely following notification of that decision, a petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed in the United States District Court of San Francisco.

The Court, in its decision, reached a conclusion that the pleadings did not state facts sufficient to warrant the issue -- issuance of a writ of habeas corpus.

The Circuit Court of the Ninth Circuit affirmed it.

And I might state that at no time was the petitioner ever given a hearing.

That no time was an order to show cause ever issued by the District Court.

No hearing was ever held.

Therefore, the only thing which we have before this Court are the pleadings on a petition for writ of habeas corpus.