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Mr. VAN ZANDT. The trouble is these people do not return to the United States until they get hungry.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Rees, I think we have gotten a pretty good view of this matter.
Mr. Rees I think so. Is there any other Department represented ?
STATEMENT OF BART W. BUTLER, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Mr. REES. Mr. Butler, can you give us the view of the Department of Justice
Mr. B. W. BUTLER. I think the issue is clearly defined here. The point concerns persons who under the code will lose their citizenship by reason of doing certain things in foreign countries.
Now, obviously, if the individual could get back here to this country he would have a right to judicial review of the question of his citizenship, by habeas corpus, or application for a declaratory judgment. If he was determined and energetic enough he could come back here anyway, but that would not be the case with women, for example, a woman could not come back as easily as a man. A man could come back as a seaman on a vessel and then after he arrives he could petition for a writ of habeas corpus and have his case determined.
But a woman could not do that, and it would seem to me to be the decent thing to do to provide some means whereby a person could come back to the United States to have the question of his citizenship adjudicated. I do not see that any harm could be done by making such a provision in this code.
It is true, in these cancellation cases, where suit has been instituted against a person because allegedly, within 5 years after his citizenship was attained, he took up permanent residence in a foreign country, and if abroad and if served with notice of the suit, and he makes an allegation that he did not make his permanent residence abroad, the State Department very reasonably gives him a travel document to come back for the purpose of defending himself in this suit.
Now, some similar provision could be made in a case where a man is charged with loss of citizenship by doing certain acts, which I think would be reasonable and fair.
Mr. REES. Any questions? Is there anything else you wish to add ? Mr. B. W. BUTLER. No.
STATEMENT OF A. M. WARREN, OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF
Mr. Rees. May we have your views on this, Mr. Warren?
Mr. WARREN. I can only speak on this from the practical administrative point of view. If a person alleges that he has not expatriated himself, even though the Department has held that he has, if he were to be admitted into the United States, it would be as a citizen because he could not come back as an alien; from the practical point of view we would have him in this country and it would not be easy to get him out.
Speaking purely from personal experience of some 20 years, going back as far as the World War, when I was stationed in various parts
of the world where there were a number of mandate territories, due to the World War, where before the war they had declared their intention to become American citizens, or had become American citizens, and when the war was over they wanted the advantages of retaining their American naturalization in order to obtain the property they had held in some German territory that had been mandated to an Allied country. We had many cases of these people whose attempt to remain American citizens was questioned by the State Department, where it was found beyond reasonable doubt they claimed American citizenship as an opportunity to obtain the protection of the American Government in presenting claims against the French or the Belgian Government, as the case may be, in order to obtain property which they had taken from Germany, and those who had not returned to the United States it was held had expatriated themselves where their residence abroad had taken place within 5 years from the time naturalization went into effect, and they did not intend to return to the United States, if they could possibly live abroad.
I know of no case, in my experience of 20 years, where any individual, such as I have referred to, where I could say that an American citizen, against whom the presumption of expatriation had arisen, had been denied a fair hearing. It is true it is an administrative hearing, and the question here is whether they should have a judicial hearing as against an administrative proceeding.
But I can, from my experience, recommend to the committee the continuance of the present practice.
Mr. VAN ZANDT. And in the event he is dissatisfied, a review is made by the Department anyway?
Mr. WARREN. A very extensive review. And, if there is a difference between the Department of Labor and Department of State, the Department of Justice is asked to umpire the difference between the two Departments.
But, from an administrative standpoint, based on my experience, I can recommend to the Department the continuance of the present practice.
The CHAIRMAN. What would be your opinion of incorporating such a provision in the code as suggested by Mr. Henry F. Butler ?
Mr. WARREN. In my opinion, if such a provision were incorporated in the code, I imagine that if a man were to return, who claimed his citizenship had been denied administratively, whether he were to come in as a citizen or some other provision, you would have difficulty getting him out.
The CHAIRMAN. You could give him a visitor's visa or some such document,
Mr. WARREN. Even of cases of aliens we have had difficulty from time to time-of course, I am not dealing with the suggested provision—but we have had attempts made from time to time to have writs served on the Secretary of State requiring a consul abroad to issue a visa to an alien who had been denied the privilege of coming to the United States on the ground that administratively he had been denied some rights given to him under the immigration laws.
The courts have held that the acts of a consular officer cannot be reviewed in the United States.
Where we have found that such persons have obtained documents to come into the United States, once they get here it is practically impossible to get rid of them.
Mr. REES. For the benefit of those who just came in, the question under discussion is whether or not an amendment, suggested by Mr. Henry F. Butler, should be adopted as a part of the code which would permit those who come under section 401 of the proposed law to have what he describes as a day in court.
Mr. Mason. Is he from one of the Departments ?
Mr. Mason. Is it a proposed change in the present code which the State Department is objecting to!
Mr. Rees. The State Department objects; it does not think it is practical; and the Department of Justice thinks about the same thing.
Mr. Máson. I do not think we should change the code; I believe, under the present set-up, we are getting along very well.
Mr. Rees. The provision referred to would change the code.
Mr. Mason. This amendment is to give the persons involved a day in court.
Mr. REES. Yes.
Mr. Mason. While heretofore they have had their day before the Department?
Mr. REES. Yes.
Mr. Mason. Well, this has worked quite well for 20 years, has it not?
Mr. WARREN. Yes.
Mr. Mason. I see no reason why we should change it now to give them a day in court.
Mr. CURTIS. I gather from the few minutes I have heard the question discussed, this refers to a question where the American consul abroad has made a finding.
Mr. WARREN. That certain action has deprived them of their citizenship.
Mr. CURTIS. And the difficulty would be, if this amendment were adopted, in getting the man back into the jurisdiction of the courts.
Mr. WARREN. Yes; that is right.
I think we have discussed before this committee the matters that have been more or less controversial, so I think we should begin reading the bill. Mr. MACIEJEWSKI. Why not start reading the bill?
Mr. VAN ZANDT. The House is meeting at 11. We have some very important pieces of legislation coming up and I think we should be present.
Mr. MACIEJEWSKI. Mr. Chairman, I think this is a very important piece of legislation and we ought to get it on the floor just as soon as
Mr. REES. What is the pleasure of the committee?
(Thereupon at 11 a. m., an adjournment was taken until 10 a. m. Monday, May 13, 1940.)
TO REVISE AND CODIFY THE NATIONALITY LAWS OF
THE UNITED STATES INTO A COMPREHENSIVE NATIONALITY CODE
MONDAY, MAY 13, 1940
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Samuel Dickstein (chairman) presiding
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order, for the further consideration of H. R. 6127.
We will hear from Mr. Rees.
Mr. Rees. Mr. Chairman, I had hoped that we might have the entire membership of the committee present on the presentation of this report.
The CHAIRMAN. I think the members of the committee are pretty well informed in regard to the bill. They have followed the matter through the public hearings and the executive hearings, and it seems to me that we should proceed with those who are here now and those who will be here. The bill has been before us for some time, and the membership of the committee pretty well understand it.
Mr. REES. Referring to chapter 1, Í think the committee will observe that it has to do with the matter of definitions.
The CHAIRMAN. Is there an amendment on page 3?
Mr. Rees. There is an amendment in subsection (e), on page 2, line 11. After the word “sovereignty,” insert a comma and the words “except the Canal Zone.”
The CHAIRMAN. I think there is no objection to that. Without objection, the amendment will be agreed to.
(The amendment was agreed to.)
Mr. AUSTIN. May I ask if there is any question as to the age of 21? It is always 21, is it not? It is not 18, but it is simply a matter of choice on the part of a person reaching the age of 18. That is, the person has the right of choice as to different things.
The CHAIRMAN. No; you are dealing now with an act that we passed here some time ago.
Mr. REES. On page 3, line 12, "332” is stricken out and "333" is inserted in lieu thereof.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the amendment is agreed to. (The amendment was agreed to.) Mr. REES. Section 103 is relettered and renumbered. The CHAIRMAN. Without objection the amendment is agreed to. (The amendment was agreed to.)
Mr. REES. On page 4 we have some renumbering. The CHAIRMAN. Without objection that amendment will be agreed (The amendments on page 4 were agreed to.)
Mr. Rees. That is in chapter II, Nationality at Birth. On page 5 line 10, after the word “who,” insert the words "prior to the birth of such person.” Then after the word "possessions” in line 11, insert the language “at least five of which were after attaining the age of 16 years.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, those amendments will be agreed to as they appear in lines 10 and 11, on page 5.
Mr. REES. Is there anyone who wants to ask any questions about those amendments ?
Mr. LESINSKI. Suppose you read the provision.
Mr. Rees. This deals with the question of nationality at birth. Section 201 provides: The following shall be nationals and citizens of the United States at birth: Then there are set out the conditions. The first is: A person born in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof. Mr. AUSTIN. Regardless of the nationality of the parents?
Mr. Rees. That is because the Constitution provides that all persons born in the United States are citizens. The next provision is
A person born in the United States to a member of an Indian, Eskimo, Aleutian, or other aboriginal tribe.
It seems there has been some question as to whether or not they are American citizens. There are only a few of them.
Mr. Mason. There is no change there?
Mr. REES. I do not think there is anything important about it. We discussed that thoroughly in the subcommittee. It is a new section.
Mr. Austin. Does that mean that if a certain Indian tribe has a right to certain property, the fact of becoming a citizen of the United States does not in any way prejudice his right to such property?
Mr. REES. That is what it means. Subsection (c) readsA person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has l'esided in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person.
That applies to the case of a child whose parents are both citizens of the United States. Subsection (d) reads
A person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is a citizen of the United States who resided in the United States or one of its outlying possessions prior to the birth of such person, and the other of whom is a national, but not a citizen of the United States.
Now, I think there are a number of instances of that. For example, Filipinos are nationals, because they are persons born in an outlying possession of the United States.
Mr. AUSTIN. They may be nationals but not citizens of the United States. It may mean a person who, though not a citizen of the United States, owes permanent allegiance to the United States.