The Cheung Sum Shee ruling held that treaty provisions guaranteeing rights for foreign citizens were legally binding unless Congress had clearly and explicitly abrogated those rights.
When the case reached the Supreme Court, the justices unanimously agreed that the government was obligated to allow the admission of the Shee family. Writing the opinion for the Court, Justice
must be construed with the view to preserve treaty rights unless clearly annulled, and we cannot conclude that, considering its history, the general terms therein disclose a congressional intent absolutely to exclude the petitioners from entry.
Although the members of the Shee family were ineligible for naturalization, there was no limit to the number of years that Shee was permitted to stay in the United States with the purpose of engaging in commerce.
Chang, Iris. The Chinese in America: A Narrative History. New York: Viking Press, 2003. McClain, Charles J. In Search of Equality: The Chinese Struggle Against Discrimination in Nineteenth-Century America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.
Chang Chan v. Nagle
Supreme Court, U.S.