Zurbrick v. Borg: A Legal Tale from 1931

In the annals of American legal history, certain cases stand out not only for their legal significance but also for the intriguing narratives they weave. One such case is “Zurbrick v. Borg,” a legal drama that unfolded in the year 1931. In this article, we’ll delve into the details of this case, exploring the key players, the legal backdrop, and the twists and turns that made it a noteworthy chapter in American jurisprudence.

The Players: Zurbrick and Borg

Our story begins with two central characters: Zurbrick and Borg. Zurbrick, the appellant, was a native of Malta and a subject of Great Britain. At the time of the case, he was twenty-five years old and unmarried. What set Zurbrick’s story apart was his entry into the United States, which was unlawful. In 1923, he had crossed the border without authorization, and later, he found himself in Detroit, Michigan, where our legal drama would unfold.

On the other side of the legal battle was Borg, the appellee. Zurbrick’s journey into the United States caught the attention of immigration authorities, and in April 1930, he was arrested on a warrant issued by the Secretary of Labor. The charge against him was that he had entered the country in violation of section 13(a) of the Immigration Act of 1924 (8 USCA § 213(a)). Following his arrest, a full hearing took place, and the inevitable decision was reached: Zurbrick was to be deported.

The Journey: From New York City to Detroit

To understand the intricacies of this case, we need to take a step back to July 1926. Zurbrick made a journey from New York City to Detroit, a trip that would become a pivotal point in his legal battle. He traveled on a Michigan Central train, crossing into Canada from Buffalo, New York, and subsequently re-entering the United States at Detroit. Little did he know that this journey would set in motion a series of events that would lead to his eventual deportation.

The Legal Battle Unfolds

The crux of the legal dispute lay in the Immigration Act of 1924, which was designed to regulate immigration into the United States. Section 13(a) of this act formed the basis of the charges against Zurbrick. It prohibited the entry of individuals into the country without proper authorization, and violating this provision had serious consequences.

The District Court’s Ruling

After a thorough examination of the case, the District Court issued a ruling. To the surprise of many, Zurbrick was granted a writ of habeas corpus, leading to his discharge from the custody of the immigration authorities. This decision was a turning point in the case and marked the beginning of legal proceedings that would ultimately shape the course of Zurbrick’s life.

A Legal Drama Remembered

While “Zurbrick v. Borg” may not be a household name today, it serves as a reminder of the complexities of immigration law in the early 20th century. The case not only highlights the legal battles faced by individuals who entered the United States unlawfully but also underscores the importance of due process and the role of the courts in upholding justice.

In conclusion, “Zurbrick v. Borg” remains a noteworthy legal tale, reminding us that the pages of history are filled with fascinating stories of individuals who found themselves at the intersection of the law and their own destinies.


  1. Was Zurbrick ultimately deported after the District Court’s ruling?
    • No, Zurbrick was granted a writ of habeas corpus and discharged from the custody of immigration authorities.
  2. What was the basis for Zurbrick’s arrest and deportation?
    • Zurbrick was arrested for unlawfully entering the United States, violating section 13(a) of the Immigration Act of 1924.
  3. Why was Zurbrick’s journey from New York City to Detroit significant to the case?
    • Zurbrick’s travel route and entry points became crucial elements in the legal battle, as they formed part of the evidence against him.
  4. What does “Zurbrick v. Borg” teach us about early 20th-century immigration law?
    • The case highlights the complexities and legal challenges faced by those who entered the United States unlawfully during that era.
  5. How did the District Court’s ruling impact Zurbrick’s life?
    • The ruling granted him temporary relief from deportation, allowing him to continue his life in the United States.