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Fong Yue Ting v. United States

United States Supreme Court
149 U.S. 698 (1893)



In 1882, Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act. In 1892, Congress added a requirement that Chinese people in the U.S. had to possess certificates of residence or be summarily deported. Fong Yue Ting (defendant) came to the United States from China in or before 1879, intending to make the U.S. his permanent home. Fong hadn’t yet applied for a certificate of residence when a marshal arrested him in 1893. Wong Quan’s (defendant) story was similar. After he was arrested, the marshal took him before the district judge in the southern district of New York. The judge didn’t conduct a hearing. He ordered the marshal to hold Wong in custody and then deport him. Lee Joe (defendant) had actually applied for a certificate of residence on April 11th, 1893, bringing along Chinese witnesses to testify that he’d been in the country legally in 1892. The collector of internal revenue refused to grant Lee a certificate on the ground that he hadn’t produced at least one credible white witness as required by the statute. The marshal arrested him, and the judge ordered him deported. All three men petitioned for writs of habeas corpus. They alleged that they had been arrested and detained without due process of law, and their detentions were thus unconstitutional and void. The United States circuit court dismissed each writ of habeas corpus but allowed each man to appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gray, J)

Dissent (Brewer, J)

Dissent (Field, J)

Dissent (Fuller, CJ)

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