FONG HAW TAN V. PHELAN, 333 U. S. 6 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Fong Haw Tan v. Phelan, 333 U.S. 6 (1948)

Fong Haw Tan v. Phelan

No. 370

Argued January 8-9, 1948

Decided February 2, 1948

333 U.S. 6


1. Section 19(a) of the Immigration Act of 1917, as amended, which provides that an alien who is "sentenced more than once" to imprisonment for a term of one year or more because of conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude committed after entry shall be deported, does not apply to an alien who, in a single trial, has been convicted on two different counts of a single indictment for murdering two different persons and sentenced to life imprisonment. Pp. 333 U. S. 7-10.

2. This provision of the statute authorizes deportation only where an alien, having committed a crime involving moral turpitude and having been convicted and sentenced, once again commits a crime of that nature and is convicted and sentenced for it. P. 333 U. S. 9.

3. Because deportation is a drastic penalty equivalent to banishment or exile, this section should be given the narrowest of several possible meanings of the words used. P. 333 U. S. 10.

162 F.2d 663, reversed.

A District Court denied all alien's petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging the legality of his detention

Page 333 U. S. 7

pending deportation. The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 162 F.2d 663. This Court granted certiorari. 332 U.S. 814. Reversed, p. 333 U. S. 10.

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