Boyd (defendant) was the director of the Seattle district of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 contained a provision that could be interpreted as requiring the government to treat resident aliens returning from temporary work in Alaska as though they were entering the country for the first time. The International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (plaintiff) represented members, including some resident aliens, who regularly pursued seasonal work in Alaska’s salmon canneries. No union worker had been subject to any enforcement action under the new immigration law at the time that the union filed suit. The union sought a declaratory judgment and an injunction prohibiting the government from enforcing the immigration law under the challenged interpretation. The district court considered the merits of the union’s case and dismissed the suit. On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, Boyd contended that the district court should not have gone so far as to consider the merits of the case and should have dismissed the action for lack of a justiciable case or controversy.