Category Archives: Deportation

Ng Wing Yin – unable to prove he was the son of a U.S. citizen; deported

[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the archives reopens. THN]

Ng Wing Yin arrived at the Port of Seattle on 28 January 1929 was deported after almost two months in detention. He could not prove his relationship to his alleged father, Ng Wah Lai, a U.S. citizen.

His attorney, Hugh C. Todd, wrote to the Bureau of Immigration in Washington, D.C. regarding Ng’s appeal. Ng Wing Yin was first denied admission in January 1927. His 1929 entry was his second attempt to enter the U.S. Todd argued that no one except a father would try to bring his son into the country twice. Anyone else would have given up. This application included a photo taken in 1921 of the father and son when the son was ten years old. Todd pointed out the resemblance between the two—their posture, eyes, nose, ears and chin, even the curl of the mouth. The photograph was not included in the 1927 earlier entry application.  

“Ng Wing Yin and Ng Wah Lai photo” 1921 , Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ng Wing Yin case file, Seattle Box 1118, file 10346/10-12.

[The National Archives is still closed because of COVID-19. This file was copied before the closure in March 2020. I will let you know when the archives reopens. THN]

In 1929 Ng Wing Yin was seventeen years old and a student. He was born in Woy Lung Lee village, Sun Wei Ning District, China. He was attempting to enter the U.S. as the son of a native. His parents were Ng Wah Lai (marriage name Yuk Moon), and Mar Shee.  He presented an affidavit with a photo of him with  his father stating that his father was a United States citizen.

Ng Wing Yin was questioned about the first time he tried to enter the U.S. in 1926. He was denied, it was appealed, denied again, and he was deported. He was asked why he was trying to enter again since he was debarred the first time.  He did not reply. His only witness was his father.

Ng Wah Lai testified that he was born in Riverside, California and that he had lived in Durango, Colorado for four years and planned to go back there. He was currently working at the Kwong Man Yuen store at 701 King Street in Seattle. He showed his certificate of identity #4188 issued at Boston, Massachusetts in 1911. The only proof he had that Ng Wing Yin was his son was the photo of them together. The immigration authorities agreed that the people in the photo were Ng Wah Lai and Ng Wing Yin but that did not prove their relationship. They had no new witnesses or evidence except for the photo taken of them together in 1921. They asked Ng Wah Lai why he was going through this process again when nothing had changed. Ng said, “He is my son and is anxious to come to the U.S.”

Ng Wing Yin was unable to prove that he was the blood son of Ng Wah Lai so he was denied entry into the U.S. Their attorney appealed, it was denied, and Ng Wing Yin was deported, again.

[What do you think? Would you have admitted him?]

Lin Hay (Mrs. Wong Gai Kee) and family, Portland, Oregon

Portrait Wong Gai family
“Wong Gai family portrait” ca. 1903, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, (Chin) Lin Hay (Mrs. Wong Gai Kee) case file, Seattle Box 65, 32/2355.
Family Portrait, ca.1903: Wong Gut Bow (born ca. 1884), Wong Gai Kee, Lin Hay (Mrs. Wong Gai), Gut Fong/Tong (born July 4, 1897) Front: twins: Gut Tung and Louie Hie (born January 1899)
(Chin) Lin Hay was born about 1863 in Gong Ming Village, Sunning District, China and first came to the United State in 1893 landing at Portland, Oregon. She arrived with her son Wong Gut Bow and daughter, Wong Toy Gew.
Wong Gut Bow died in 1903 or 1905 on a ship en route to China. He was married to Lee Shee and they had a baby daughter, Ah Gui.
In May 1907 Mrs. Wong Gai applied for admission as the returning wife of a domiciled merchant, Wong Gai, of the Gai Kee Company of Portland, Oregon. Her status was upheld based the testimony of six credible white witnesses who swore that Wong Gai had been the head of the Gai Kee Company for over twenty-five years and that he was registered by the government as a merchant. The Caucasian witnesses interviewed by John B. Sawyer, Chinese Inspector, were William Bohlander, F. H. Saylor, O.P. S. Plummer, James B. Young, F.M. Anderson and W. R. Kerrigan. They testified that Wong Gai bought and sold vegetables. Mrs. Wong Gai admittance depended of proof of Wong Gai’s status as a merchant. Mr. Sawyer carefully investigated Wong Gai’s place of business. He noted that it looked like a junk shop and did not have much inventory of goods but it had once been a thriving business. And most importantly, Wong Gai did not engage in manual labor. He kept roomers and boarders to supplement his vegetable business. Sawyer reported: “Wong Gai says he will continue producing witnesses so long as the Government is not satisfied with those examined but that no one would be better qualified to testify than those already produced.” Wong Gai kept his status as a merchant.
Mrs. Wong Gai returned with her three children, Gut Fong/Tong (born July 1897) and Gut Tung and Louie Hie (born January 1899). The twins were admitted as returning native born citizens of Portland. Her son Gut Fong/Tong, was born during her temporary visit to China, and was admitted as the minor son of a domiciled merchant. An attempt was made to bring in Ah Wong, a substitute for Mrs. Wong’s deceased son Wong Gut Bow. He was declared an impostor and was deported.

The interrogator asked Mrs. Wong Gai what doctor, White or Chinese, delivered her children. She replied, “I didn’t have any, but just did it myself.”

In 1927 Mrs. Wong Gai Kee (Chin Lin Hay), age 64, was applying for a laborer’s return certificate. Mrs. Wong’s 23-year-old son, Wong Git (Gut) Fong, also known to white people as Nick Wong, testified for his mother. He worked as a waiter at Huber’s Restaurant in Portland, Oregon. The application was given a favorable endorsement.
Other case files listed in connection with the case include files for her husband, Wong Gai; their children and grandchildren.

Compelling Letter of Support by Ruby Whang

Excerpt of 1941 letter from Ruby Whang:

Excerpt of letter from Ruby Whang
“Letter of Support by Ruby Whang,” 1941, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Back Pang case file, Portland, Box 107, 5023/80.

Chin Back Pang, who was in his early 50s or 60s, was arrested in Portland, Oregon in May 1941—he was a Chinese-born laborer without papers. He arrived in the United States as a stowaway about 1918.
Ruby Whang, a 17-year old Korean girl from Gresham, Oregon sent a letter to E. P. Marsh at the U.S. Court House in Portland. The letter was forwarded to Marsh in Washington, D.C. He knew nothing about the case or how Whang got his name. He forwarded to Roy Norene at Immigration in Portland saying the letter “has a very appealing tone…”
There is no information in the file of how it was discovered the Chin was an illegal. He worked on a farm and there is no mention of him getting into trouble.
A letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation “fails to disclose prior arrests or criminal data…” [The letter is signed with the signature stamp of J. E. Hoover.]

J Edgar Hoover Letter
“Letter from J. Edgar Hoover to Portland Director of Immigration, 1941” Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Back Pang case file, Portland, Box 107, 5023/80.

Chin Back Pang was deported.

Chin Mon – Deported in spite of strong support

Chin Mon Photo
“Chin Mon, Description of Person Deported,” 1927, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Mon file, Portland, Box 53, Case 5001/88.

Chin Ding, Chin Mon, alias Chin Mon Ding, age 54, was ordered deported by Department of Labor on 25 May 1926. He left on his own accord on 1 February 1927 from Seattle on s.s. President Jefferson. He paid his own expenses.
Before leaving he sold all of his interests in the United States. He stated that if he was not permitted to remain permanently he preferred to depart on his own. He did not want to use all of his money “here in idleness” when he would probably be deported eventually.
The Department of Labor suspected Inspector Charles E. Keagy of accepting and soliciting bribes. They wanted Chin Mon to testify against Keagy because of Chin Mon’s “ingenuous and frank manner.” Although Chin Mon decided not to testify, Keagy was fired by the Bureau of Immigration.

Testimony revealed that Charles Brotchie, a deputy sheriff and John W. L. Fort, a mail carrier, both of Seattle testified that Chin Mon was a merchant in Seattle when he was actually a gardener (a laborer) at Beaverton, Oregon.
A summary of the investigation said that Chin Mon testified that he paid $500 to Inspector Keagy in 1922 to obtain a merchant classification. The amount was transferred at the Kuong Tai Company in Seattle. Chin Mon wanted to get merchant’s papers so he could bring his adopted son to the United States. The son, Chin Woon or Foon (Seattle file 1545/13/15) did accompany his father to the U.S. in 1924 but was denied admission, appealed and was eventually admitted. (Inspector Keagy was not on the board denying admission.) Chin Woon worked with his father in the garden in Beaverton.
Chin Mon, alias Chin Ding, marriage name Mon Ing, was born about 1872 in Foong Nguen village, Sun Ning district and first entered the United States at Portland when he was 18 years old. He had a truck farm in Beaverton, Oregon. He had planned to leave the country as a laborer but was convinced by Inspector Keagy that it would be better for him if he declared that he was a merchant.
After reviewing all the testimony Immigrant Inspector W. F. Watkins stated in his recommendations: “Chin Mon is a Chinaman of high intelligence, is an old-time resident of this district, an exceedingly industrious and hard-working fellow who lives by the sweat of his brow, well-liked and trusted by his neighbors, and so far as known, with the exception of the present instance, is a law-abiding citizen.” “Chin Mon has equipment and investments in his garden which he values at from $3000 to $3500.” He spent $1500 on legal fees to get Chin Woon landed. Inspector Watkins recommended that the warrant proceedings against Chin Mon be cancelled but Chin Woon was deported and Chin Mon decided his case was hopeless and left at his own expense.
In Chin Mon’s testimony he told about his truck farm. He was in business with Lee Kay who was trying to find someone to purchase Chin Mon’s interest. They grew lettuce, beets, carrots, parsnips, spinach, peas, potatoes, horseradish, cabbage and potatoes. His farming equipment consisted of four plows, three horses, two harrows, four cultivators, two dozen hoes, rakes, and small farm implements, two wagons and one 2-1/2 ton truck, between three and four dozen chickens and $800 worth of hay.
1928 affidavits swearing that Chin Mon was reliable, honest, industrious and hardworking were from:
August Rossi, resident of Beaverton for 42 years and has known Chin Ding (Chin Mon) for eight years.

Doy Gray, cashier at State Bank of Beaverton and has known Chin Ding (Chin Mon) for eight years.

Joe F. Keller, Special Agent in Charge of the Pacific Coast Automobile Underwriters Conference and own of a truck garden farm in Beaverton. and has known Chin Ding (Chin Mon) since 1919.

Chin Fong You, and has known Chin Ding (Chin Mon) for thirteen years.