1. In a suit by an alien in a federal district court against a District Director of Immigration for (1) a declaratory judgment that he is eligible for suspension of deportation under 19 (c) of the Immigration Act of 1917, as amended, and (2) to restrain the District Director from taking him into custody for deportation, neither the Attorney General nor the Commissioner of Immigration is a necessary party. Shaughnessy v. Pedreiro, 349 U.S. 48 . Pp. 603-604.
2. An alien was admitted to the United States during World War II for permanent residence. While his country was still a neutral, he applied to a local Selective Service Board for exemption from military service as a neutral alien. The Board took no action on that application. After his country had become a cobelligerent with the United States, the local board classified the alien as available for military service; he reported for a physical examination; but he failed to pass and was reclassified as physically defective, Held: By his application for exemption as a neutral alien, he was debarred from citizenship under 3 (a) of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940; and, therefore, he is not now eligible for a suspension of deportation under 19 (c) of the Immigration Act of 1917, as amended. Pp. 600-606.
Sidney Kansas argued the cause and filed a brief for petitioner.
Oscar H. Davis argued the cause for respondent. On the brief were Solicitor General Rankin, Assistant Attorney General Olney, Beatrice Rosenberg and J. F. Bishop.
MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.
This declaratory judgment action was brought by petitioner, in March 1955 in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, to obtain a judgment against the District Director of Immigration declaring that petitioner was eligible for suspension of deportation and restraining the Director from taking him into custody for deportation. 1 The District Court dismissed the complaint, without reaching the merits, upon the procedural ground "that the Attorney General [of the United States] and/or the Commissioner [of Immigration] are indispensable parties to the instant action." 2 The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed, not only for the reason given by the District Court, but also upon the ground that, because the petitioner is "an alien who `has made application' to be relieved from military service," he is debarred from citizenship as a matter of law and "hence is not eligible for an order suspending deportation." 3 This Court granted certiorari. 4
Deportation proceedings had been instituted because petitioner had entered the United States on April 2, 1951, on a temporary visa and remained beyond the period for [352 U.S. 599, 601] which he was admitted. Petitioner was found deportable but was given permission to depart voluntarily, in lieu of deportation. Petitioner's timely application for suspension of deportation under 19 (c) of the Immigration Act of 1917, as amended, 5 was denied by the Immigration and Naturalization Service because it found that petitioner did not satisfy a prerequisite for the application of that section - eligibility for naturalization. His ineligibility was based on a finding that in August 1943 petitioner, as a citizen and subject of Colombia, then a World War II neutral, applied under 3 (a) of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, as amended, for relief from service with the United States armed forces. Section 3 (a) provided that "any person who makes such application shall thereafter be debarred from becoming a citizen of the United States." 6 [352 U.S. 599, 602]
The petitioner was admitted to the United States for permanent residence in February 1942, during World War II. On June 16, 1943, he executed Selective Service System Form DSS 304, "Alien's Personal History and Statement," which gave the alien a choice of inserting "do" or "do not" in the statement: "I . . . . . object to service in the land or naval forces of the United States." The petitioner inserted the word "do." The form contained this notice:
The petitioner argues that neither the Attorney General nor the Commissioner of Immigration is a necessary party to this action. The respondent offers no argument in opposition. We hold that neither the Attorney General nor the Commissioner is a necessary party. This Court in Shaughnessy v. Pedreiro, 349 U.S. 48 , held that determination of the question of indispensability of parties is dependent, not on the nature of the decision attacked, but on the ability and authority of the defendant before the court to effectuate the relief which the alien seeks. In this case the petitioner asks to have the order of deportation suspended and to restrain the District Director from deporting him. Because the District [352 U.S. 599, 604] Director is the official who would execute the deportation, he is a sufficient party. It is not a basis for distinction of Pedreiro that suspension of deportation, rather than deportation itself, is involved in this action. 10
The petitioner's argument on the merits challenges the holding of the Court of Appeals that the execution and filing of Form DSS 301 had the effect as a matter of law of debarring him from becoming a citizen of the United States. He contends that debarment could result only if the local board affirmatively granted the relief applied for by classifying him IV-C on its records and giving him notice of its action. We hold that the petitioner's voluntary act of executing and filing, and allowing to remain on file, the legally sufficient application Form DSS 301 effected his debarment from citizenship under 3 (a). 11 The explicit terms of the section debar the neutral alien "who makes such application" for immunity from military service.
Legislative history shows this to be the effect contemplated by Congress. 12 This same construction has been adopted in the few court decisions which refer to the section, 13 [352 U.S. 599, 605] and administrative construction has consistently given the section this meaning. 14 The neutral alien in this country during the war was at liberty to refuse to bear arms to help us win the struggle, but the price he paid for his unwillingness was permanent debarment from United States citizenship.
The petitioner argues that in any event 315 of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 15 and not [352 U.S. 599, 606] 3 (a) of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, governs this case. Section 315 of the 1952 Act enacts a two-pronged requirement for the determination of permanent ineligibility for citizenship: the alien must be one "who applies or has applied for exemption," and also one who "is or was relieved or discharged from such training or service on such ground." That section has no application here. The 1952 law had not been enacted when the petitioner applied for relief from deportation in 1951 16 and by its terms is expressly made inapplicable to proceedings for suspension of deportation under 19 of the Immigration Act of 1917 pending, as here, on the effective date of the 1952 law. 17
[ Footnote 2 ] 130 F. Supp. 30, 31.
[ Footnote 3 ] 229 F.2d 592, 593.
[ Footnote 5 ] Section 19 (c) of the Immigration Act of 1917, as amended, provided in pertinent part:
[ Footnote 6 ] Section 3 (a) of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, as amended, provided in pertinent part:
[ Footnote 7 ] This form was authorized by Selective Service System Order No. 75, 7 Fed. Reg. 3424.
[ Footnote 8 ] This form was authorized by Selective Service System Order No. 54, 7 Fed. Reg. 1104.
[ Footnote 9 ] 32 CFR, 1943 Cum. Supp., 622.43 (b); 32 CFR, 1943 Cum. Supp., 623.1; 32 CFR, 1943 Cum. Supp., 623.61.
[ Footnote 10 ] The Court of Appeals made that distinction and held that not Pedreiro but its decision in De Pinho Vaz v. Shaughnessy. 208 F.2d 70, controlled. 229 F.2d, at 593.
[ Footnote 11 ] The petitioner's claim that he executed the application in the belief that he was required to do so to obtain assignment to a Latin American contingent of the United States Army was rejected, after hearing, by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. In fact, the Board of Immigration Appeals found that petitioner "fully understood the legal consequences of his action and that he was not duly influenced by other considerations." Cf. Moser v. United States, 341 U.S. 41 .
[ Footnote 12 ] This appears in both the House and Senate Reports. The House Report states:
[ Footnote 13 ] Mannerfrid v. United States, 200 F.2d 730; Navarro v. Landon, 108 F. Supp. 922; see Machado v. McGrath, 90 U.S. App. D.C. 70, 74, 193 F.2d 706, 710. See McGrath v. Kristensen, 340 U.S. 162, 172 : "By the terms of the statute, that bar only comes into existence when an alien resident liable for service asks to be relieved." (Emphasis added.) See Moser v. United States, 341 U.S. 41, 45 : Section 3 (a) "imposed the condition that neutral aliens residing here who claimed such immunity would be debarred from citizenship." (Emphasis added.)
[ Footnote 14 ] See quotations from Forms DSS 304 and DSS 301 in text. And see, Selective Service Regulations, 622.43, effective March 16, 1942, 7 Fed. Reg. 2087. Section 622.43, as revised, effective October 1, 1943, 8 Fed. Reg. 13672, read: ". . . (a) In Class IV-C shall be placed any registrant: . . . (2) Who is an alien and who is a citizen or subject of a neutral country . . . and who . . . files with his local board an Application by Alien for Relief from Military Service (Form 301) . . . ."
[ Footnote 15 ] The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 315, provides:
[ Footnote 16 ] The 1952 law became effective in December 1952.
[ Footnote 17 ] The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, 405 (a), provides: