Lim Don Hing, a student, was 18 years old when he arrived in Port of Seattle on 22 August 1938 on the S.S. Princess Marguerite. His father, Lim Sin (Thin), had recently died in Detroit, Michigan and Lim Don Hing would be joining his extended family there. He was classified as the son of a citizen. He was originally denied admittance but was approved almost five months later. He was held in detention during that time.
The Immigration Board of Special Inquiry denied Lim Don Hing’s admission to the United States on the grounds that he was not the son of the man claimed to be his father and he was not a member of an exempt class according to the Immigration Act of 1924. The chairman of the board summarized the case and listed the discrepancies between the testimony of the applicant and his cousin, Lim Lin Foon, age 14; and his uncle, Lim Quong, the witnesses. The applicant’s testimony was taken in Seattle and the witnesses’ were interrogated in Detroit. The discrepancies listed were:
1. The location of his house in his village
2. The school he and his cousins attended
3. The space between the ancestral hall school and a vacant house in front of the hall
4. Who lived in the first house, third row of their village
5. If there was a wall on one side of the village
6. Who accompanied his cousin when they left the village for the United States
7. If he ever saw his cousins at Suey Boo market
8. Whether his cousins’ mother had any dental work done
9. If they cleaned the graves of their ancestors when they visited the cemetery in 1938
10. Whether his uncle, Lim Quong, sent money to their house three years earlier
11. Although the applicant and his cousin identified themselves in two photographs, neither knew when the photo was taken [The photo was taken when they were young boys.]
The documents used in his case were the photographs, his father’ death certificate, over forty pages of testimony by the applicant and two witnesses, two Seattle exclusion files, seven San Francisco exclusion files, an affidavit, and the testimony of his attorney, John J. Sullivan.
The case was sent to U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration and Naturalization Service for review. Lim Don Hing’s admittance was approved on 10 January 1939.
[Continued from 9 October 2017]
There were other discrepancies in the testimony given by Dong Ah Lon and her two alleged brothers. The court dismissed the appeal and then reopened it. Testimony was given by another brother, Dong Yum, and Lee Lin (Jung). Dong Hong had arranged for his sister to married Lee Lin, a widower from San Mateo, California. According to L. Paul Winings, Chairman of review committee, “The witness Lee Len [Lin] is shown by a communication from the City Clerk of San Mateo, California, to be a man of good reputation and his testimony regarding his desire to have the applicant become his wife in order to care for his seven motherless children removes any possibility of suspicion of an immoral intent in the attempt to have the applicant enter the United States.”
Dong Hong and Dong Yum attended Lee Lin’s wife’s funeral in 1937 and asked Lee if he wanted to remarry. They told him about their sister, Dong Ah Lon. Lee Lin had seven young children at home and was interested.
Mr. L. M. Burr of Oakland Laundry Machinery Company wrote that Mr. Lee was a law abiding citizen who needs a mother for his seven small children. Adding that Lee’s wife had died the previous year and he was financially able to take a new wife.
E. C. Alber, manager of Geo. W. Sneider & Co, funeral directors, stated that he had conducted the funeral services for Mah Shee Lee, the late wife of Lee Ling. Alber wrote that he had known Mr. Lee for over twenty years and that he was dependable and honest. Alber was of the opinion that Mr. Lee was well able to support a wife and needed one to take care of his home and family. He sent a copy of Mah Shee Lee’s 1937 death certificate with his letter. E. M. Pollock and Betton Rhodes, employed by the City of San Mateo, had known Mr. Lee Ling for fifteen years and vouched for his financial standing and fine character. George A. Kertell, a retired municipal judge and resident of San Mateo for forty-seven years, affirmed that Lee Ling was of good moral character and a successful business man.
The file contains the attorney’s copy of testimony, death certificate of Mah Shee Lee (Mr. Lee’s wife), letters of reference of E.M. Pollock, B. Rhodes, E.C. Alber, and L.M. Burr; and San Francisco exclusion files for Dong Ah Lon’s brothers Dong Ball, Dong Yuen, Dong Hong, Dong Loon, and Dong Yum and her father Dong Toy.
There are thirty more pages of testimony and analysis of the discrepancies in May and June 1939.
In a letter dated 9 May 1939 to Dong Ah Lon from Lee Ling (Jung) he says, “I suppose that since you cannot come to my home, you wish to return to China; however, at this particular time, Sino-Japanese hostilities have made it impossible for you to return safely…” He had credit at the Yick Fung Co., in Seattle and suggested she try to obtain new clothes from them. He also sent her a money order for $20.
Dong Ah Lon was not deported until 17 May 1940. There is nothing in her file from 9 November 1939 until 12 March 1940 when Marie A. Proctor, Seattle District Commissioner, wrote to Karl P. Heideman, Dong Ah Lon’s attorney, telling him that the funds for Dong’s maintenance would soon be exhausted and asking him to make a further deposit to cover at least sixty days at the rate of 95 cents per day.
[This file was researched by Hao-Jan Chang, NARA CEA files volunteer.]