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U.S. Supreme Court

Gastelum-Quinones v. Kennedy, 374 U.S. 469 (1963)

Gastelum-Quinones v. Kennedy

Nos. 39 and 293

Argued March 19, 1963

Decided June 17, 1963

374 U.S. 469


Petitioner, an alien long resident in this country, was ordered deported on the ground that, for a period in 1949 and 1950, he was a member of the Communist Party, within the meaning of §241 (a)(6)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. In the deportation hearing, the evidence consisted solely of the testimony of two government witnesses that, between either late 1948 or early 1949 and the end of 1950 or early 1951, petitioner was a dues-paying member of a club of the Communist Party in Los Angeles, and that he attended about 15 meetings of this club, one executive meeting of the group, and one area party convention. Petitioner chose to introduce no evidence.

Held: On the record in this case, the Government did not sustain its burden of establishing that petitioner's association with the Communist Party was meaningful, as contemplated by §241 (a)(6)(C), and the deportation order cannot stand. Rowoldt v. Perfetto, 355 U. S. 115. Pp. 374 U. S. 470-480.

(a) In deportation cases such as this, the ultimate burden is on the Government to establish that the alien was a meaningful member of the Communist Party, and there is insufficient evidence in this record to support such a finding. Pp. 374 U. S. 473-478.

(b) Because deportation is a drastic sanction and because the Government's witnesses might well have been able, if asked, to testify concerning the character of petitioner's association with the Party, the deportation order cannot be sustained on a bare inference based upon petitioner's failure to produce or elicit evidence in response to the Government's proof that he paid dues to the Party and attended some meetings. Pp. 374 U. S. 479-480.


Page 374 U. S. 470

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