Mrvica v. Esperdy

LOCATION: Alabama State Capitol

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1962-1965)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 376 US 560 (1964)
ARGUED: Mar 05, 1964
DECIDED: Mar 30, 1964

Facts of the case


Media for Mrvica v. Esperdy

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 05, 1964 in Mrvica v. Esperdy

Earl Warren:

Ms. Lowenstein.

Edith Lowenstein:

If it please the Court.

The nature of this case is -- is strictly one of statutory construction, of construction of Section 249 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Ivan Mrvica filed an application to become a permanent resident of the United States under that provision.

Section 249 which incidentally together with all the other statutory provisions which are relevant for this case as reproduced on pages 22 and 23 of the petitioner's brief provides that a record of lawful admission for permanent residence maybe granted to aliens who entered the United States prior to June 28, 1940 who have had residence in the United States continuously since such time, persons of good moral character and not ineligible to citizenship, also, who are not of certain undesirable categories.

Now, Ivan Mrvica came to the United States in 19 -- in January of 1940.

He was born in Dalmatia which at that time of his birth in 1906 was a part of Austria, Hungary but which later became Yugoslav.

And in 1939, he left his home for the last time and then he came to the United States.

Shortly, after he entered the United States, Yugoslavia was overrun by the Germans and his own government, the Yugoslavia Government under King Peter went into exile in England.

In 1942, Mrvica who overstayed and decided not to return to Europe was placed under deportation.

And at that time was also -- when he was found deportable as an overstayed crewman, granted advance permission to return under the provision of the 1917 Immigration Act.

Such permission was granted in order to do -- enable bona fide crewman who have overstayed to return to the United States without -- without encountering the felony of entering without permission after deportation.

Mrvica voluntarily departed on a Yugoslav vessel in October 1942.

He stayed on that vessel for about two months and then reentered in San Francisco from where he had originally come.

Arthur J. Goldberg:


Edith Lowenstein:

That was a war time trip.

Arthur J. Goldberg:


Edith Lowenstein:

On a merchant -- on a merchant vessel which was under Yugoslov flag and at that time I would say that who was really the Government of Yugoslavia was to say the least, a very murky question although King Peter was in England and apparently was recognized but there were Mihailović and Tito fighting in Yugoslavia and also the Germans had occupied Yugoslavia so that there might have been several interpretations of who was really in charge of Yugoslavia at that time.

Arthur J. Goldberg:


Edith Lowenstein:


I think that's a -- no question about that.

Now, after Mrvica returned according to the record, he was admitted for medical -- medical treatment.

And in this context I have to apologize to the Court because I had made an erroneous statement which is caused by the fact that to the -- the counsel for the alien at some times is rather difficult go keep our effects together because of the so-called record file of the Government is not in the possession of a counsel for the alien but only available -- at its very brief for -- to the Assistant United States Attorney's Office and I slipped on the fact that actually he did not get readmitted as a crewman but rather was readmitted for medical treatment.

I also took from one of the opinions in the case, one of the special inquiry of these opinions that he was an Italian before he became a Yugoslav but -- meanwhile, researched that subject and I believe that he was a Yugoslav at the time when he entered the United States.

I do not believe that any of these facts have any bearing on the case however because the own -- the application having been piled, it was denied by the Government on the ground that the departure under order of deportation, no in -- in 1942, he was found deportable as overstayed crewman.

And the Government took the position that the departure under the order of deportation which executed the deportation order was by as a matter of law and interruption of the residence, of the continuous residence required by Section 249.

Now the -- before I --

Potter Stewart:

You don't -- you don't take issue with the fact that his departure was an execution of the order -- order of deportation?

Edith Lowenstein:


I don't take issue with that and I think it's completely irrelevant to the --