BRIDGES V. WIXON, 326 U. S. 135 (1945)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bridges v. Wixon, 326 U.S. 135 (1945)

Bridges v. Wixon

No. 788

Argued April 2, 3, 1945

Decided June 18, 1945

326 U.S. 135


1. The order for the deportation of the petitioner -- issued under the Act of June 28, 1940, providing for the deportation of any alien who was at the time of his entry into the United States, or has been at any time thereafter, a member of or affiliated with an organization that believes in, advises, advocates, or teaches the overthrow of this Government by force or violence -- rests upon a misconstruction of the term "affiliation" as used in the Act, and upon an unfair hearing on the question of his membership in the Communist Party, wherefore

Page 326 U. S. 136

his detention under the warrant of deportation is unlawful. Pp. 326 U. S. 140, 326 U. S. 156.

2. The act or acts tending to prove "affiliation" within the meaning of the deportation statute must be of that quality which indicates an adherence to or a furtherance of the purposes or objectives of the proscribed organization, as distinguished from mere cooperation with it in lawful activities. The act or acts must evidence a working alliance to bring the program to fruition. P. 326 U. S. 143.

3. Freedom of speech and of the press is accorded aliens residing in this country. P. 326 U. S. 148.

4. So far as the record shows the literature published by the petitioner, the utterances made by him were entitled to the protection of the freedom of speech and of the press. They revealed a militant advocacy of the cause of trade unionism, but did not teach or advocate or advise the subversive conduct condemned by the statute. P. 326 U. S. 148.

5. Detention under an invalid order of deportation is established where an alien is ordered deported for reasons not specified by Congress. P. 326 U. S. 149.

6. Upon the record in this case, the finding of "affiliation" was based on too loose a meaning of that term. P. 326 U. S. 149.

7. A person under investigation with a view to deportation is legally entitled to insist upon the observance of rules promulgated pursuant to law by the agency entrusted with the power to deport. P. 326 U. S. 153.

8. Objection to evidence on the ground that it violates the governing regulations is timely where made before both the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Attorney General, though not at the hearing before the inspector. P. 326 U. S. 151.

9. Since it was error to admit into evidence against the petitioner certain unsworn statements in violation of Rules 150.1(c) and 150.6(i) of the Regulations of the Immigration and Naturalization Service -- construed as meaning (1) that an investigating officer, in obtaining a "recorded statement," must obtain the statement by interrogation under oath, and seek to obtain it over the signature of the maker, and (2) that only such a "recorded statement," so safeguarded, may be used as evidence when the maker of the statement gives contradictory evidence on the stand -- since the statements in question were so crucial to the findings of membership, and since that issue was so close, this Court is unable to say that the order of deportation may be sustained without them. Pp. 326 U. S. 151, 326 U. S. 156.

10. In habeas corpus proceedings challenging the legality of detention upon a warrant of deportation, the petitioner does not prove he had

Page 326 U. S. 137

an unfair hearing merely by proving the decision to be wrong or by showing that incompetent evidence was admitted or considered; but the case is different where evidence as improperly received and where, but for that evidence, it is wholly speculative whether the requisite finding would have been made. P. 326 U. S. 156.

144 F.2d 927, reversed.

Certiorari, 323 U. S. 708, to review the affirmance of a judgment denying a petition for a writ of habeas corpus.

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