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UNITED STATES EX REL. STAPF v. CORSI

decided: November 7, 1932.

UNITED STATES EX REL. STAPF
v.
CORSI, COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION



CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT.

Hughes, Van Devanter, McReynolds, Brandeis, Sutherland, Butler, Stone, Roberts, Cardozo

Author: Roberts

[ 287 U.S. Page 130]

 MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.

By writ of habeas corpus petitioner challenged the legality of his arrest for deportation as an alien alleged to have remained in the United States in violation of the terms of § 14 of the Immigration Act of 1924 (c. 190, 43 Stat., 153, 162). That section provides:

"Any alien who at any time after entering the United States is found . . . to have remained therein for a longer time than permitted under this Act or regulations made thereunder, shall be taken into custody and deported . . ."

The undisputed facts are that petitioner, a German citizen, deserted his ship, the Hansa, February 15, 1923, in the port of New York, and remained in this country until March, 1929, when he signed as a member of the crew of a vessel of United States registry, the America, for a voyage to Germany and return. This vessel stayed in Germany two and a half days; but it does not appear whether petitioner went ashore. He arrived in the

[ 287 U.S. Page 131]

     United States on the return voyage in April, 1929, and was discharged from the ship, but was not examined by any immigration officer, nor did he possess an immigration visa or pay a head tax. On March 20, 1931, while working in Florida as a butcher, he was arrested on a warrant charging that he had remained in the country for a period longer than permitted by the Immigration Act of 1924 and the regulations thereunder. After hearing, an order of deportation was made. On this showing the District Court dismissed the writ and the Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

The entry in 1923 was irregular, and petitioner was not entitled to remain.*fn1 Under the statute then in force he was subject to be deported; but such action could be taken only within three years of his entry.*fn2 The Immigration Act of 1924 did not alter the status of one who had unlawfully entered the country or remained after the passage of the act of 1917,*fn3 but abolished the three year period of

[ 287 U.S. Page 132]

     limitation only as to those entering after 1924. Section 14, quoted supra; Philippides v. Day, 283 U.S. 48. The petitioner was therefore entitled to invoke immunity under the act of 1917 unless he lost it by making the voyage to Germany in 1929.

The question is whether by so doing he made a new entry into the United States which left him amenable to the provisions of the act of 1924. The court below answered in the affirmative.*fn4 Other Circuit Courts of Appeals have held the contrary.*fn5 In view of these conflicting decisions certiorari was granted.

The relator's arrival in the United States in April, 1929, was an entry into this country notwithstanding he was a member of the crew of an American ship which had made a round-trip voyage. He came from a place outside the United States, and from a foreign port or place, within the meaning of the immigration laws; United States ex rel. Claussen v. Day, 279 U.S. 398. While that case construed § 19 of the act of February 5, 1917, and the time limitation on deportation therein ...


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