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WING GET v. DULLES

July 11, 1957

LEE WING GET, as father and next friend of Lee Sik Quen and Lee Suey Ngor, both minors, and Lee Sik Quen and Lee Suey Ngor, Plaintiffs,
v.
John Foster DULLES, as Secretary of State of the United States, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRUCHHAUSEN

This action for declaratory judgments was commenced by Lee Wing Get as alleged father and next friend of Lee Sik Quen (male) and Lee Suey Ngor (female), pursuant to the provisions of Section 503 of the Nationality Act of 1940 (8 U.S.C.A. § 903), now repealed, and substantially included in Section 360 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C.A. 1503).

The young man applied to the American Consul in Canton, China, in 1948 for a document attesting that he was a foreign born son of an American citizen, pursuant to Revised Statutes, Section 1993 (2 Stat. 153), which was in effect until May 24, 1934, 8 U.S.C.A. § 1401(a)(3), and provided:

 'All children heretofore born or hereafter born out of the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, whose fathers were or may be at the time of their birth citizens thereof, are declared to be citizens of the United States; but the rights of citizenship shall not descend to children whose fathers never resided in the United States.'

 Subsequently, the young lady joined her alleged brother in his application, and applied to the American Consul, then in Hong Kong, for a similar travel document.

 After it was determined by the Consul, on May 21, 1951, that the said children could not establish their identity under the said statute, this action was commenced on their behalf, and by them individually, on April 4, 1952, and they were admitted at the Port of New York, under bond, on May 19, 1952, for the purpose of testifying in this case.

 The decision of Judge Westover in Mar Gong v. McGranery, D.C.S.D.Cal., 109 F.Supp. 821, is informative as to the pattern of Chinese immigration cases, while the decision of Judge Goodman in Ly Shew v. Acheson, D.C.N.D.Cal., 110 F.Supp. 50, records the difficulties encountered in trying such cases. Yet, oddly enough, the determinations of both of these learned judges, sitting in California and having considerable experience with this subject, were reversed. See Mar Gong v. Brownell, 9 Cir., 209 F.2d 448; Ly Shew v. Dulles, 9 Cir., 219 F.2d 413.

 The plaintiffs' witnesses resembled a family unit. There were no outsiders.

 There is little doubt that the three older brothers, Lee Gam Foon, Lee Sik Horn and Lee Sik Farn, are the sons of Lee Wing Get; that they were admitted as citizens commencing in 1936 in the same manner as it is sought to admit the plaintiffs herein. The second son referred to the first son as his 'big brother' although both of them were in their middle thirties.

 The three older boys resided with their uncle Lee Sik Yun (also know as Lee Wing Shuck) who then and now owned and resided over a laundry at 200 East 50th Street, New York, New York. There is little doubt that Lee Sik Yun is the older brother of Lee Wing Get, the alleged father herein, and that both of them are the sons of Lee Bing Poy, born in this country in 1880, and through whose original citizenship all of the parties connected with this case have derived, or claim to derive citizenship.

 Lee Wing Get's three oldest sons have apparently been respectable citizens. They have gone to school, served in the Army, entered business, married and settled down. The third son, Lee Sik Farn, is an engineer. While an effort was made to discredit his identity, and show that he was really Lee Sik Pang, one of the sons of the uncle, Lee Sing Yun, such an impersonation seems illogical. A similar immigration case is pending on behalf of said Lee Sik Pang, in the neighboring Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, and it is most unlikely that the principal character in that case would jeopardize his standing by coming into this court, under the scrutiny of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and impersonate someone else.

 There were certain discrepancies about the recent wedding ceremony of Lee Sik Farn which took place at the True Light Lutheran Church in Chinatown, and which was followed by a reception at the China Lane Restaurant, also in Chinatown. These descrepancies, however, seem to be more apparent than real.

 The uncle, Lee Sik Yun, seemed to have a very prominent and paternal part in the festivities, the arrangements, and even the publicity, photographs and invitations, while the alleged true father does not seem to have even been in evidence. Yet it is undisputed that there is a certain Lee Sik Farn who was admitted to this country in 1939 as the son of Lee Wing Get. It is to be assumed that an immigration file, probably containing photographs, is available to the Government on this point. There is also the service record of one Lee Sik Farn, also containing photographs, which, it is assumed, is also available to the Government.

 The Government also questioned the fact that the party purporting to be Lee Sik Farn named his uncle, rather than his father, as the beneficiary of his pension rights in connection with his employment with the New York City Transit Authority.

 The interpreter volunteered that ancestor worship is a culture, though not a religion, in China, although this could be considered common knowledge, and the Government did not question it. Apparently this culture manifests itself in respect, almost reverence, for elders, something often lacking in this country. ...


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