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.]