Fook Chun Lee – “Common Sense is Needed”

Lee Fook Chun
“Stanley Fook Chun Lee (Lee Fook Chun) photo,” 1929, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Fook Chun and Chang Suey Ping files, Seattle, Box 1119, Case 10422/2-2; 10422/2-3.

Chan Suey Ping’s infant son, (Stanley) Fook Chin Lee, was refused admission at the Port of Seattle but permitted by the Secretary of Labor to remain in the United States for six months until 7 March 1930.
Chan Suey Ping was born in 1902 at Napa, California and a citizen of the United States. In 1925 she visited China and married Chiu Hang Lee, a citizen of China and of the Chinese race. Under the terms of the 1922 Cable Act, she lost her U.S. citizenship. Chiu Hang Lee came to the U.S. with a student status and she accompanied him with a “wife of student status.” In about 1927 they had twin boys, born in Berkeley, California. They went back to China in March 1928 to visit Chiu Hang Lee’s elderly mother who was ill. They left their sons with Chan Suey Ping’s mother in Napa. Chan Suey Ping was pregnant when they left and their son, Lee Fook Chin, was born in China.
By the time Chan Suey Ping was ready to return to the U.S., Lee Fook Chin, was four months old. Even though Chan Suey Ping was born in the U.S., her son was excludable under the Chinese Exclusion Act. Since he was born in China, according to officials he was “consequently helpless from infancy, it seemed absolutely necessary to also exclude his mother as an accompanying alien.”

Included in the file is an editorial from The Seattle Daily Times published on 24 February 1929, on page 6. The headline is “Common Sense is Needed.” The piece included these statements: “The decision of the U.S. immigration authorities…may be based upon statutory law, but it is contrary to every decent conception of humanity and common sense.” “She and her husband are graduates of Stanford University.” ”It is inconceivable the exclusion act is so precise in its terms that it does not permit some discretion on the part of responsible authorities.” ”America does not appear in an enviable light when the country’s officers can and do deal so callously.”
Chan Suey Ping, her American-born two-year-old twins, Bert Y. Kynn Lee and Allan Wy Synn Lee, and baby, Stanley Fook Chin Lee, returned to China on 6 November 1929.

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