Aliens – Deportation – Activity Consituting Membership in Communist Party

Petitioner, an alien who had resided in the United States since 1914, joined the Communist Party in 1935 and during that year paid dues, attended meetings, and worked briefly at an official outlet for communist literature. He terminated his relationship with the party after approximately one year. At a hearing to consider his possible deportation, the petitioner disclaimed that he had held any belief in the forcible overthrow of government, stating that he had regarded the Communist Party solely as an instrument for securing economic necessities. The Board of Immigration Appeals upheld the hearing officer’s finding that petitioner had been a member of the Communist Party, a deportable class of aliens under the Internal Security Act of 1950, as amended in 1951. Upon application for a writ of habeas corpus, the district court and the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit both sustained the finding and denied the writ. On certiorari to the Supreme Court, held, reversed, four justices dissenting. The record did not support the deportation order, as petitioner’s activities failed to establish the “meaningful association” required by the alleviating amendment of 1951 and motivation for affiliation with the Communist Party appeared to lack ” ‘political’ implications.” Rowoldt v. Perfetto, 355 U.S. 115 (1957).