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hold the most important public offices. It is stated, in the opinion of the court, that the decision was made without an examination of the authorities, for which there appeared at the moment to be no opportunity.
Certificates of naturalization granted to Chinese against the prohibition of the act of 1882 have been treated as void.
In re Ilong Yen (hang, 8+ Cal. 163, 24 Pac. Rep. 156; In re Gee Hop,
71 Fed. Rep. 274; McKenna, At. Gen., 1897, 21 Op. 581; Mr. Blaine,
(2) RULE OF INTERNATIONAL ACTION.
The Department of State possesses no power to vacate decrees of
naturalization; but it exercises, under the direction Repudiation of nat- of the President, plenary jurisdiction over the conproperly obtained. duct of foreign relations. In the exercise of this
jurisdiction, the Department, as has often been held, will, so far as any action of its own is concerned, treat as invalid a certificate of naturalization that has been improperly obtained.
The grounds on which the Executive so acts have perhaps never been stated more concisely, nor yet with greater clearness and profundity of reasoning, than by the Commander Bertinatti, as umpire of the Costa Rican Commission, 3 Moore, Int. Arbitrations, 25862589.
C. was admitted to citizenship by the superior court of New York
Dec. 29, 1853, and on the strength of his certificate Cases, 1854-1881.
he obtained from the Department of State a passport and went to Prussia. A question having arisen with regard to him, the legation in Berlin reported that he did not emigrate to the United States till 1851. On inquiry of the court, the Department of State learned that he was naturalized under the act of May 26, 1824, requiring a five years' residence. On these facts, the legation was instructed that C. was “not entitled to protection as an American citizen," and that he should be required to surrender his passport.
Mr. Maroy, Sec. of State, to Mr. Vroom, min. to Prussia, No. 10, May
23, 18.14, MS. Inst. Prussia, XIV. 21.5; same to Mr. Lynch, clerk of the Superior ('ourt of New York, May 18, 18:54, 42 MS. Dom. Let.
452. See, as to a case in Turkey, Mr. Trescot, Assist. Sec. of State, to Mr.
Miller, Sept. 2.5, 1860, 6:3 MS. Dom. Let. 120. See, also, Mr. Seward, Sec. of State, to Mr. Hall, July 17, 1867, 70 MS. Dom. Let. 485.
" The record of naturalization ought certainly to be received as prima facie evidence of the facts which it recites. It is not, however, conclusive. Upon this point I give, for your information and guidance, the following extract from an opinion of the AttorneyGeneral, under date of January 21, 1871, upon the case of a naturalized citizen of German birth, submitted to this Department by our minister at Berlin:
6. He was naturalized in the United States district court for Connecticut on the 27th day of March, 1869. The record recites that he had resided constantly in the United States for more than five years. If this recitation were conclusive, his right to protection under the treaty would be established. The record establishes the general fact of his naturalization and of his right to be recognized here as an American citizen in all domestic transactions. But recitations in the record of matters of fact are binding only upon parties to the proceedings and their privies. The Government of the United States was no party, and stands in privity with no party, to these proceedings; and it is not in the power of Mr. Stern by erroneous recitations in ex parte proceedings to conclude the Government as to matters of fact.""
Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Wing, min. to Ecuador, April 6, 1871, MS.
Inst. Ecuador, I. 263. Mr. Fish ruded that in the case above referred to “the evidence impeaching the recitals in the record of naturalization was derived by Mr. Bancroft from the deliberate admissions of the party himself, corroborated by the statements of others cogni
zant of the fact."
Williams, At. Gen., 14 Op. 154.
nently therein, but with a view of residing in another country, and
Dec. 31, 1874, Mr. Schlözer, German minister at Washington, enclosed to the Department of State the certificates of naturalization of two former subjects of Prussia, dated, respectively, Jan. 12 and Feb. 13, 1871. Mr. Schlözer stated that both the persons in question returned to Prussia in 1871, and that it was shown by their admissions, which had been confirmed by an official inquiry, that they left Prussia, the one in May, 1866, and the other in 1867; and he therefore inquired (1) whether their certificates were valid under the laws of the United States, and (2) whether on the strength of those documents the persons named in them were recognized by the United States as American citizens. Mr. Fish replied: “ Under the circumstances, and in the case you state, certificates of naturalization, valid
on their face and founded on the decree of a competent court, cannot be questioned except through judicial proceedings instituted for the purpose, or in which the correctness of the facts formerly passed upon may properly be adjudicated, and that it is not within the province of the political department of the Government to anticipate what would be the result of a judicial inquiry into the question.”
Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Schlözer, Jan. 8, 1875, For. Rel. 1875, I. 577.
By an investigation, conducted under the direction of the American consul at Smyrna, it appeared that one M. X., a native Turk, who had been residing in Turkey since August, 1875, with a certificate of naturalization as a citizen of the United States, first went to America in 1872, leaving his family behind him, and that he returned to his home a few months later, but went again to America in June, 1873. His certificate of naturalization bore date Aug. 26, 1874, and was granted by the United States district court at Boston. By a copy of the proceedings in the court, it appeared that M. N. swore that he was a Greek subject, and that he came to the United States in 1851, being then a minor under eighteen years of age. Two witnesses vouched for him, but neither his name nor those of his vouchers appeared in the Boston directory for 1873, 1874, or 1875. On these facts, Mr. Fish said:
“Upon his presentation of the ordinary certificate of naturalization to you and with your knowledge of the decisions of the tribunals of the United States as to the force and effect of such judicial proceedings, you hesitate to entertain any suggestion from the authorities of the Ottoman Government bringing in question the conclusiveness of the judicial acts of the tribunals of the United States or the validity of Mr. M —N—'s claim to citizenship under those proceedings, and properly remit the determination of the question to the Department.
“ The Supreme Court of the United States has decided in several cases in which the question has been collaterally before it that the decree of a competent court being in due form is to be held as conclusive evidence of the legal naturalization of the party, and the Attorney General who is the legal adviser of the Executive branch of the Government following the doctrine of these judicial decisions holds that such decrees of naturalization have the force and effect of a judgment.
“ The doctrine thus judicially promulgated is not a new one. All judgments of a competent court in the United States, are taken and accepted as a verity, and a decree of naturalization as to all questions which may be affected by it within the United States and while the party is subject to the jurisdiction of the United States carries with it the same force and effect. The party holding it may take, hold, and transmit property, may hold office either by election or appointment, in short may exercise all the rights and enjoy all the privileges that pertain to the character of a citizen.
“ It is at the same time not to be doubted but that a decree of naturalization like any other judgment may be impeached for fraud in its procurement by a direct and proper judicial proceeding instituted for that purpose, and it is equally incontrovertible that the party to such decree who may have been guilty of fraud in the procurement and all persons aiding and abetting him in such purpose are liable to be proceeded against criminally and punished under the laws of the United States, and if the decree of naturalization should be found to have been procured by fraud, it would as in the case of any other judgment thus corruptly obtained be set aside and held for naught.
“ With the facts now in possession of the Department in regard to the naturalization of Mr. M N--, it is difficult if not impossible to resist the conclusion that his pretended naturalization is the result of a deliberate and preconcerted fraud on his part. He is now without the jurisdiction of the United States where its judicial process cannot reach him. It cannot be that a fraudulently obtained decree of a court, which would be set aside if the process of the court could reach and bring within its jurisdiction the party holding it, is to be considered conclusive upon this Government merely because the party has placed himself without its jurisdiction, and is availing himself of the first fraud to practice another. It is the Executive Department of the Government to which, in this case, he appeals. The Executive Department of the Government must therefore see that the good name and good faith of the Government be not compromitted by sustaining a claim resting on fraud and falsehood, and which the courts would set aside, could the case be brought within their jurisdiction. While the Executive Department bows with deference to the decrees of the Judicial Department of the Government within the limits of their reach, it is not bound to claim for these decrees in foreign countries, where manifestly obtained by fraud or perjury, a validity which might not be conceded, and which could neither be enforced nor defended on the ground of truth, or justice or equity. I cannot doubt the evidence that N a resident of Calymno until the year 1872, that he occupied an official position in that island inconsistent with other than alien citizenship during the years 1871, 1872, that his claim to have come to the United States in 1851 when under the age of 18 and to have resided here continuously from that time is untrue, or that his naturalization certificate was fraudulently obtained.
“ He has now returned to his native country, and is attempting to shield himself under the nominal character of a citizen of the United States, thus fraudulently acquired, from the obligation of answering to the laws of his own country, and in pursuance of this purpose he invokes the protection and aid of the United States.
“ To comply with his request, in the face of these established facts, would be in my estimation no less than lending the sanction of this Government to the attainment of an inequitable and frandulent end, and would be alike inconsistent with its established policy and contrary to its known practice, an act which could not be expected to meet with the approval of the President.
“ You will therefore without any expression of opinion to the Ottoman Government as to the validity or otherwise of the naturalization in question, give Mr. M. — N. to understand that, while the Department does not at this time determine, conclusively, the question of the validity of his naturalization and his claim to citizenship consequent thereon, the protection of this Government must be denied to him until he shall have succeeded by proper steps and satisfactory evidence in removing the presumption of fraud in the procurement of that naturalization which the facts and circumstances as now known to the Department plainly give rise to, and should he desire your advice as to the proper measures to be adopted by him towards that end, you will give such counsel and advice as may in your judgment tend to facilitate his efforts in such purpose."
Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Maynard, min. to Turkey, No. 40, Feb. 11.
1876, MS. Inst. Turkey, III. 163. See, also, Mr. ('adwalader, det. Sec. of State, to Mr. Davis, min. to Ger
many, Aug. 11, 1875, MS. Inst. Germany, XVI. 91.
“ While the decisions concerning the binding force of a record of naturalization make it difficult to go behind the record; at the same time, whenever the Government is called upon for its interposition in a foreign state on behalf of any person claiming to be a naturalized citizen, the question whether, under all the facts presented by him, intervention should be accorded is always open for consideration."
Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to Mr. Moran, Feb. 16, 1877, MS. Inst. Portug:il,
XV. 150. “It appears that you obtained the decree of naturalization
when you had not resided five years imnrediately preceding the rendition of such decree; consequently such decree of naturalization cannot be considered valid." (Mr. Ilunter, Act. Sec. of State, to Mr. Trujillo,
Sept. 299, 1876, 115 MS. Dom. Let. 351.) “The matter [of fraudulent naturalization] has become a source of great
trouble to certain of the diplomatic officers of this Government, as well as to this Department." (Mr. Fish, Sec. of State, to AttorneyGeneral Taft, Feb. 13, 1877, 117 MS. Dom. Let. 701.)