Kwong Hai Chew v. Colding

344 U.S. 590 (1953)

The Supreme Court held that the Attorney General did not have the authority to order the permanent exclusion and deportation of a lawful permanent resident of the United States without providing notice of the charges against him and the opportunity to be heard. Read the opinion here.

The petitioner in the case was a permanent resident alien who was temporarily excluded on the basis of a regulation that gave the Attorney General authority to do so based on confidential information and without a hearing.  The Attorney General later made the exclusion permanent, claiming that his entry was prejudicial to the public interest.

The petitioner sought a writ of habeas corpus, contending that his detention violated due process of law granted by the Fifth Amendment. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit both dismissed the writ sought by the petitioner by relying on United States ex rel. Knauff v. Shaughnessy. However, the Supreme Court concluded that Knauff did not apply to the case at hand because Knauff dealt with the rights of an alien entering the United States for the first time, while this case concerned a resident alien's right to be heard.

The Court held that the petitioner’s detention deprived him of his liberty without due process in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The Court stated that if an alien is a lawful permanent resident of the United States and continues to be physically present in the country, he is protected under the Fifth Amendment. While permanent residents may be deported, they must have a fair opportunity to be heard. 

Authored by:  Caroline Ahn, Cornell Law School