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Opinion of the Court
Dissenting Opinion

United States Supreme Court

347 U.S. 637

Barber  v.  Gonzales

 Argued: March 10, 1954. --- Decided: June 7, 1954

Mr. Justice MINTON, with whom Mr. Justice REED and Mr. Justice BURTON join, dissenting.

But for this Court's holding that § 19(a) of the Immigration Act of 1917 must be construed strictly and the word 'entry' given a special meaning, I would be content with the excellent dissent of Judge Bone in the court below. 207 F.2d 398, 402.

The effect of the Court's opinion is to construe the Act strictly in favor of the convicted criminal sought to be deported for his criminal acts, rather than in favor of the United States in protection of its citizens. I know of no good reason why we should be strained construction of an Act compel the United States to cling onto alien criminals. It is not the public policy of this country to construe its statutes strictly in favor of alien criminals whose convictions have already been established of record. Why should we give a strained construction to the word 'entry' in the instant case? The least we should do is to give the word 'entry' its ordinary meaning.

In construing this very statute, this Court said in United States ex rel. Volpe v. Smith, 289 U.S. 422, 425, 53 S.Ct. 665, 667, 77 L.Ed. 1298:

'An examination of the Immigration Act of 1917, we think, reveals nothing sufficient to indicate that Congress did not intend the word 'entry' in section 19 should have its ordinary meaning.'

Cf. United States ex rel. Eichenlaub v. Shaughnessy, 338 U.S. 521, 70 S.Ct. 329, 94 L.Ed. 307.

The case of Delgadillo v. Carmichael, 332 U.S. 338, 68 S.Ct. 10, 92 L.Ed. 17, lends no authority to this case. In that case, the alien had never voluntarily left the United States for foreign land. His ship was torpedoed. He was blown into the sea. He was rescued and taken to Cuba, from whence he came back to the United States by way of Miami, Florida. This Court said:

'In this case petitioner, of course, chose to return to this country, knowing he was in a foreign place. But the exigencies of war, not his voluntary act, put him on foreign soil. It would indeed be harsh to read the statute so as to add the peril of deportation to such perils of the sea. We might as well hold that if he had been kidnaped and taken to Cuba, he made a statutory 'entry' on his voluntary return. Respect for law does not thrive on captious interpretations.' 332 U.S. at page 391, 68 S.Ct. at page 12.

There is nothing captious or fortuitous about this petitioner's 'entry' into the United States. He came to this country from outside, as all aliens do. No case by this Court supports the special construction given by the Court to the word 'entry.'

Because of the Court's strict construction of this statute, which has the effect of putting a liberal construction on the statute in favor of the alien criminal, which I believe to be contrary to the public policy of this country, I dissent.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).