Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fong Yue Ting v. United States case brief

Fong Yue Ting v. United States case brief summary
149 U.S. 698 (1893)

Petitioners, Chinese laborers, appealed from judgments of dismissal upon writs of habeas corpus from the United States Circuit Court for the Southern District of New York concerning alleged due process violations against them when they were arrested and detained.

Petitioners, Chinese laborers, filed writs of habeas corpus which were dismissed; the petitioners contested their arrest and detention after two could not produce required certificates of residence and one was denied a certificate. The Act of May 5, 1892 (Act), § 6, ch. 60, required that Chinese laborers found without a certificate after a year of residency be subject to arrest and deportation. The government sought and was awarded dismissal of petitioners' writs contending that the Act provided that all laws in force prohibiting and regulating the coming into this country of Chinese persons and persons of Chinese descent, were continued for a period of 10 years. The actions at issue were heard in 1893.


  • Upon petitioners' appeal, the United States Supreme Court gave effect to an accepted maxim of international law: that every sovereign nation had the power to forbid the entrance of foreigners within its dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and conditions as it saw fit. 
  • Stating that the courts had to uphold acts of Congress regarding residency by foreigners, the Court affirmed the dismissal of the writs of habeas corpus.
Dismissal of petitioners' writs of habeas corpus was affirmed.

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