Tag Archives: Dong Ball

Dong Ah Lon – Deported after almost two years in detention

Dong Ah Lon ST article 1940
“Newspaper article, Dong Ah Lon,” 1940, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Dong Ah Lon case file, Seattle Box 766, 7030/11310.
[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.]

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Dong Ah Lon – denied entry, writ of habeas corpus, denied, appealed, denied, deported two years later

photos of Dong Ah Lon and Hong Dong
“Affidavit for Dong Ah Lon by Hong Dong,”1938, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Dong Ah Lon case file, Seattle Box 766, 7030/11310.

Dong Ah Lon, age 21, arrived at the Port of Seattle on 9 August 1938 on the s.s. Princess Marguerite. She was born in Ping On village, Gee Kai, Hoy Ping, China and this was her first trip out of China. She was unable to establish beyond doubt her claim for entry to the U.S. as the daughter of U.S. citizen. When her father, Dong Toy, a native born U.S. citizen, was re-admitted to the United States in 1919 after a trip to China, he claimed he had a daughter named Lan Hai and with a different birth date than Dong Ah Lon’s date of birth. Dong Ah Lon could not recall ever being called Lan Hai. Her father had died in China in 1924 so he could not be asked about the discrepancy. The immigration inspectors were suspicious about her claim that Dong Hoy was her father.

Dong Ah Lon’s brothers who were testifying in her behalf were Dong Hong, age 37, and Dong Ball, age 19. Dong Ah Long was 21. She only attended school for two years. She correctly identified photos of her father and brothers. According to her brothers she was the daughter of Dong Toy and his second wife, making Dong Hong her half-brother and Dong Ball her full brother. Dong Ah Lon seemed to be confused about the relationship. Her mother had told her she was the mother of all the children in her family. Her brothers did not agree with this.

Dong Ah Lon’s application to enter the United States was denied 9 September 1938 because she could not correctly identify her closest neighbors in her village and her testimony did not agree with her brothers about their mother/stepmother. The Board could not find any family resemblance between the applicant and her two brothers and they were not satisfied that Dong Toy was actually her father. There were twenty-two pages of testimony from Dong Ah Lon and her brothers. Most of Dong Ah Lon’s description of the village agreed with her brothers except for the location of the toilets and the direction which the school faced. There were other minor differences.

The interrogations in 1938 included the affidavit by Dong Hong with photos of him and his sister, Dong Ah Lon, and a map of Ping On village according to Dong Ah Lon.
Dong Ah Lon was set to be deported in October 1938 but a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and an order to show cause were filed by her attorney, then an order for dismissal of petition for writ of habeas corpus and a petition for re-opening. Immigration decided to examine the oldest alleged brother, Dong Yum, and the prospective husband of the applicant, Lee Lin. These interviews took place in early 1939.

[Interesting tidbit: The Acting Matron of the Deportation and Detention Division, Bertha B. Titus, reported that she took Miss Dong to Dr. O. T. Dean’s dental office at 818 Cobb Building for a tooth extracted. The charge for the gas and extraction was $4.00.]
[This file was researched by Hao-Jan Chang, NARA CEA files volunteer.]
[Continued on 16 October 2017.]