Citation. 130 U.S. 581 (1889).
Brief Fact Summary.
Chae Chan Ping (Plaintiff) was denied reentry into the United States despite having lived in the country for 12 years and argued that the denial violated U.S. treaties with China.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
An immigration statute is not unconstitutional because it conflicts with an international treaty.
Plaintiff was a Chinese laborer who had lived in San Francisco for 12 years. He left the United States to visit China and acquired a certificate allowing reentry before leaving. A week before his return to the U.S. in 1888, Congress amended the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which prohibited Chinese laborers from entering the country. The amendment annulled Plaintiff’s certificate of reentry and terminated his right to land. The captain of the ship upon which Plaintiff arrived took custody of him and Plaintiff filed for a writ of habeas corpus in federal court. The writ was denied and Plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court.
Is an immigration statute unconstitutional when it conflicts with an international treaty?