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Galvan v. Press

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Plaintiff sought a writ of habeas corpus after Defendant ordered him to be deported. The trial court denied Plaintiff’s writ of habeas corpus. The court of appeals affirmed.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    1) The deportation of aliens is not subject to the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.
    2) The Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution does not apply to the deportation of aliens.

    Facts.

    Galvan (Plaintiff) was born in Mexico, but had resided in the United States since 1918, when he was seven years old. Galvin married an American woman twenty years ago and had four American born children. When questioned in 1948 by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Plaintiff indicated he had been a member of the Communist party from 1944 to 1946. Membership to the Communist party was grounds for deportation under the Internal Security Act of 1950. Consequently, during a 1950 hearing, INS hearing officer Press (Defendant) ordered Plaintiff to be deported. The district court denied Plaintiff’s writ of habeas corpus, and the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed.

    Issue.

    1) Whether the deportation of aliens is subject to the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.
    2) Whether the Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution apply to the deportation of aliens.

    Held.

    1) No. The deportation of aliens is not subject to the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.
    2) No. The Ex Post Facto Clause of the Constitution does not apply to the deportation of aliens. The court of appeals’ ruling is affirmed.

    Dissent.

    Plaintiff has lived in America for thirty-six years, has an American wife of twenty years, and four American-born children. Now Plaintiff is being deported, and losing his entire life, simply for joining a lawful political party.

    Discussion.

    Congressional power over aliens is broad and affects foreign relations and national security.  Consequently, due process does not apply to political discretion in legislating the deportation of aliens. Although enforcement by the executive branch of policies controlling aliens’ rights must respect the procedural safeguards of due process, the legislation of those policies rests exclusively with Congress. Additionally, even if one’s actions pre-date the enactment of a law making such actions illegal, the Ex Post Facto Clause has no application to deportation.


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