Adam Thomson – Blog Post 3 – Surprise, surprise. Denials ad nauseam

Friday 15th November marked our research excursion to the National Archives in Washington D.C. Much like the second trip I found a wealth information, if not more than last time, that could have a potential use in our final project for this class. Perhaps the most remarkable part of my findings was that I found no successful cases of admittance to the United States following habeas corpus proceedings being initiated by Chinese immigrants following their initial attempts to enter the US through Angel Island. I researched five cases overall but I will include three of the most interesting and pertinent to our area of study.

The first case that I went through was concerning the appeal of fifteen-year-old boy by the name of Loowing Hee trying to enter the US as a son of a merchant, and group not subject to the various exclusionary policies exclusively aimed at Chinese immigrants. The case was more than likely an example of a paper son, as Hee’s alleged Father, whose status as a merchant was confirmed, made four trips back to China between 1882 and 1924 and upon returning to the US claimed that he had a different number of children each time. Claiming that he had two sons and a daughter when interviewed in 1911, then in 1918 claiming four sons and no daughter. These discrepancies in prior testimonies from the Father among issues such as different claims about when Hee finished school and what domestic animals were kept in the family home lead to the rejection of Hee’s appeal and subsequent return to China. [1]

The second case was particularly interesting to me, as it regarded a young man, by the name of whom was trying to emigrate to the US as the son or daughter of a merchant but that of a US citizen, unlike the cases which I most commonly analysed. His alleged Father left for China and 1915, returning in 1917 and then again in 1921 and returning in 1923 with his ‘son’ Gin Guey Look, aged 14. Look received supporting testimonies’ from two local Chinese immigrants but as is common with many case of this ilk, the number of discrepancies in them were numerous and so much so in this specific case that the investigators did not need to use all of them as; “the enumeration of a few will throw light upon the case”. The most remarkable part of this case was that I came across was for the testimony for Guey that was given by a white man used a completely different from that used to take the testimony of a Chinese man. It was a much different tone and asked different questions in terms of the depth and length. [2}

The third case of particular note that I came across appears to be one of human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution, but this isn’t mentioned in the report. It concerned the appeal of a women by the name of Hom Shee aged 20. Shee had supposedly married, a man by the name of Dea Ah Sing aged 40, back in China before attempting to come to the US. As is common with many of these cases there was too many conflicting areas in their testimonies’ and the lack of ability to establish their relationship and this instance marriage, was legitimate and thus gave Shee the right to immigrate to the United States. [3]

Files Used 

[1] Loowing Hee. File 55245/53, accession E9, subject correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington D.C). 

[2]  Gin Guey Look, File 55392/122, accession E9, subject correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington D.C).

[3] Hom Shee, File 55245/839, accession E9, subject correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington D.C). 

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