Harry Renton Bridges Deportation Hearing Transcripts and Records
- 1939 - 1943
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Extent1 collection (4 Paige boxes)
The transcripts of the first deportation hearing are collected in seven volumes, numbered pages 1 through 7724. The transcripts from Bridges' second deportation hearing fill six volumes, which are divided into daily sections that are labeled volumes 1 through 44. The last volume of the second deportation series contains a descriptive index of exhibits.
In addition to these two series of transcripts, the Bridges collection also includes three separately compiled volumes of deportation hearing documents:
- " Summation and Memo for Alien " which includes, in place of the oral argument for the firstdeportation hearing, an INS Summation and a Memorandum for the Alien.
- " Findings, Briefs and Decisions" includes the Findings and Conclusions of the Trial Examinerin the first Bridges deportation hearing. The rest of the volume ismade up of documents from the second deportation hearing: the OpeningBrief on Behalf of Bridges, Opinion of the Board of ImmigrationAppeals, and Memorandum of Decision.
- " The opinion and order of the District Court of the U.S. for the Northern District of California in the matter of the petition of Harry Bridges for a writ of habeas corpus," written by Martin I. Welsh, United States District Judge in1943 (49 F. Supp. 292).
Biographical / Historical
Bridges was born in 1901 in Melbourne, Australia and settled in San Francisco in 1920 where he became an organizer of the longshoremen. As a labor organizer, he played an important role in the 1934 San Francisco strike. Two years later Bridges became the founding president of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU).
In 1938 the government instituted a deportation proceeding against Bridges pursuant to a law allowing deportation of individuals who are, at the time the proceeding is instituted and being prosecuted, members of or affiliated with an organization that advises, advocates, and teaches the overthrow by force and violence of the U.S. government. Bridges requested that the government name the organization and the government stated it was the Communist Party of the U.S. In December 1939 the Trial Examiner found that Bridges was neither a member of nor affiliated with the Communist Party and therefore could not be deported.
In 1940, in response to the failure to deport Bridges, the United States House of Representatives amended the law relating to the deportation of aliens to allow for deportation of those who were at the time they entered the U.S. or any time thereafter a member of or affiliated with an organization that advices, advocates, and teaches the overthrow by force and violence the U.S. government. The Attorney General then ordered the F.B.I. to investigate Bridges to see if there was cause under the amended law to reopen deportation proceedings. Bridges was again arrested in 1941.
The Presiding Inspector in the second deportation proceedings ordered deportation on the basis of finding that after entering the U.S. Bridges was a member of and affiliated with the Communist Party. The Immigration Appeals Board reversed. The Attorney General reviewed the case and ordered deportation. Bridges petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus but was denied by the District Court for the Northern District of CA. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. Bridges v. Wixon, 144 F.2d 927 (9th Cir. 1944). The Supreme Court reversed, 326 U.S. 135 (1945), on a 5-3 ruling that "affiliation" was improperly construed by the appellate court and that under a proper construction, Bridges had not been affiliated with the Communist Party at any time after entering the U.S.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Murphy wrote, "Seldom if ever in the history of this nation has there been such a concentrated and relentless crusade to deport an individual because he dared to exercise the freedom that belongs to him as a human being and that is guaranteed to him by the Constitution." The trials received national attention, thanks in large part to the Song for Bridges written and sung by Woody Guthrie, Lee Hays, Pete Seeger, and Millard Lampell.
Bridges became a U.S. citizen in 1945. Under Bridges' leadership the ILWU continued to grow in size and influence, and took an active stand against the Korean and Vietnam wars. Bridges passed away in 1990, and in 2001 the city of San Francisco honored Bridges by naming a plaza on the Embarcadero in his honor.
- Series I. First Bridges Deportation Hearing, July 10, 1939 - September 14, 1939 July 10, 1939 - September 14, 1939
- Series II. Second Bridges Deportation Hearing, March 31, 1941 - June 12, 1941.March 31, 1941 - June 12, 1941.
Note: Exhibits for the Second deportationhearing are described in an Exhibit Index, Box 4, included with vols.39-44
- Series III. Other Case Documents
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Harry Renton Bridges. Deportation Hearing Transcripts and Records, 1939-1943: Finding Aid
- Harvard Law School LibraryCambridge, MA 02138
- EAD ID
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