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44 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 237 (1982-1983)
Aliens, Due Process and Community Ties: A Response to Martin

handle is hein.journals/upitt44 and id is 247 raw text is: ALIENS, DUE PROCESS AND COMMUNITY TIES: A
T Alexander Aleinikoff *
Occasionally, the Supreme Court makes a statement about the Con-
stitution that simply cannot be true. Immigration cases seem to at-
tract more than their share of these utterances. Many of these
statements exhibit remarkable resilience, weathering strong attacks
by the legal academic community whose calling it is to point out
that the emperor is wearing no clothes. One must search long and
hard to find a more naked claim than the one that, for the past three
decades, has purportedly defined the constitutional requirement of
procedural due process for aliens seeking entry to the United States:
Whatever the procedure authorized by Congress is, it is due pro-
cess as far as an alien denied entry is concerned.
This statement appeared in United States ex rel nauff v.
Shaughnessy,' a case in which the German wife of an American
soldier was denied entry to the United States. The Attorney Gen-
eral had determined that Ellen Knauff was excludable on the basis
of information of a confidential nature, the disclosure of which
would be prejudicial to the public interest. Although the govern-
ment denied Knauff an administrative hearing and refused to sub-
mit the confidential information to the federal courts, the Supreme
Court found no constitutional violation. Knauff was finally granted
a hearing after two years of public outcry. Upon reviewing the gov-
ernment's evidence, the Board of Immigration Appeals determined
that there was not adequate evidence to justify the [Attorney Gen-
eral's] order of exclusion.2
Three years after the Knauff decision, the Supreme Court re-
peated the words that made Ellis Island, for some aliens, a prison
instead of a port of entry. In Shaughnessy v. United States ex rel.
Mezei,3 the Court affirmed the denial of re-entry and the 21-month
* © Copyright 1983, University of Pittsburgh Law Review.
** Assistant Professor, University of Michigan; B.A. 1974, Swarthmore College; J.D. 1977,
Yale Law School.
1. 338 U.S. 537, 544 (1950) (citations omitted).
2. In re Knauff, File No. A-6937471 (Aug. 29, 1951) at 2 (reprinted as the appendix in E.R.
3. 345 U.S. 206 (1953).

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