Supreme Court Immigration Decisions

Supreme Court We link to many immigration law decisions made by the Supreme Court of the United States from 1958 to the present. See below.

We also link to the Oyez website which allows you to read summaries of all Supreme Court cases and listen to Oral Arguments made before the Court.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has made many momentous decisions regarding U.S. immigration.


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In 1898, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, 169 U.S. 649 that “a child born in the United States, of parents of Chinese descent, who, at the time of his birth, are subjects of the Emperor of China, but have a permanent and residence in the United States, and are there carrying on business, and are not employed in any diplomatic or official capacity under the Emperor of China”, automatically became a U.S. citizen at birth.

In 1967, in Afroyim v. Rusk (see below), the Supreme Court ruled that citizens of the United States may not be deprived of their citizenship involuntarily.

In a 5-to-4 decision, overruling Perez v. Brownell (356 US 44), the Court held that Congress has no general power to revoke American citizenship without consent. Noting the special bond between Americans and their government, a bond that protects every citizen against all manner of destruction of their rights, the Court held that only citizens themselves may voluntarily relinquish their citizenship. This sacred principle applies equally to natural and naturalized citizens.


Supreme Court Immigration Cases

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