• Alien

    Any person who is not a citizen of the country he or she lives in or visits.

  • Alien Enemies Act

    In 1798, the US government passed the Alien Enemies and Sedition Acts. The Sedition Act was eventually overturned, but the Alien Enemies Act (“AEA”) was recodified in 1918 and is part of the US war and national defense statutes. (50 USC 21-24). The AEA provides that the President, pursuant to proclamation, may deem all aliens of a “hostile nation” within the United States alien enemies and determine the manner in which they may be “apprehended, restrained, secured and removed.” (50 USC 21). Presidential Proclamations issued by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in December 1941 deemed persons of German, Japanese and Italian ancestry alien enemies and severely restricted their rights.

  • Alien Enemy

    See below Enemy Alien.

  • Citizen

    A person regarded as a member of a sovereign state due to birth or naturalization, entitled to its protection and subject to its laws.

  • Civil Liberties

    Rights of the individual from unwarranted government interference, usually guaranteed and protected by a constitution or by adherence to an international treaty. The Bill of Rights, as part of the U.S. Constitution, guarantees the right to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of peaceable assembly, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and the right to privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    Rights guaranteed to an individual owing to his or her status as a citizen or resident of a particular country or community. Civil rights of U.S. citizens and residents protected by the U.S. Constitution include the right to equal protection without regard to race, color, previous condition of servitude, sex or national origin; the right of women to vote; and prohibition against poll tax and indentured servitude. Civil rights laws have been passed making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. Discrimination that interferes with voting rights and equality of opportunity in education, employment, and housing is unlawful.

  • Constitutional Rights

    Rights of the individual guaranteed in a national constitution which defines and establishes government in society and basic principles to which society is to conform. In the U.S., included are the civil liberties and civil rights guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution (described above) and the right to due process of law (e.g., the right to legal counsel, right of protection against illegal government detention [writ of habeas corpus], right to trial by jury, and prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures and against torture or cruel and unusual punishment).

  • Department of Justice

    In simple terms, the Department of Justice is a part of the United States executive branch responsible for the administration of justice. During World War II, it was delegated plenary authority over alien enemies pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act and oversaw their treatment, including internment.

  • Deportation

    The forced removal of a person from a country.

  • Detention

    A period of temporary custody prior to disposition by legal authorities to more permanent confinement, parole or release. Pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act, during World War II, many “enemy aliens” were held in temporary detention for months, if not years, in local jails, INS facilities, internment camps.

  • Enemy Alien

    Used interchangeably with Alien Enemy. A government classification pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act for a citizen of a country with which the United States is at war or which threatens invasion. Such a person may be an immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for many years, or a student, tourist, diplomat, or someone here temporarily on business.

  • Evacuation

    The process of moving people from a place (e.g., homes and communities), especially for protection (e.g., from dangers such as hurricanes). Euphemism used by the U.S. government during WWII to refer to the forced removal of German, Italian and Japanese “enemy aliens” from designated coastal and military prohibited zones–not to protect them from danger, but because they were under suspicion due to their ethnicity.

  • Exchange of civilian prisoners

    As war escalated in Europe and the Far East in the late 1930s, the U.S. government began to make preparations for the repatriation of U.S. citizens from those war zones. The U.S. civilian prisoner exchange plan included forced removal, indefinite internment, and deportation. From May 1942 – 1945, over 4800 “enemy aliens” and their U.S. or Latin American born children were exchanged for U.S. citizens and Latin American citizens held in Germany.

  • Exclusion

    Prohibiting a person or group from entering places permitted to others.

  • Exclusion zones

    Restricted military areas (approximately one-third of the U.S.) from which all U.S. citizens and “enemy aliens” of Japanese ancestry as well as German and Italian “enemy aliens” (and often with their families) were excluded. Some U.S. citizens of German and Italian ancestry were also excluded on an individual basis. The designation of these military areas and subsequent exclusions were authorized under Executive Order 9066.

  • Illegal Alien

    An alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa. During WWII, all persons of German, Italian and Japanese ancestry who were taken from Latin America and brought to the US for internment were classified as “illegal aliens.” Additionally, German and Italian seamen removed from impounded ships and remaining in the US were deemed “illegal aliens,” and interned although until their internment they were considered to be in the US legally.

  • Immigrant

    A person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.

  • Immigration and Naturalization Service

    A division of the Department of Justice responsible for aliens

  • Incarceration

    Confinement or the state of being in prison.

  • Internee

    A person interned pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act.

  • Internment

    Confinement of the citizen of an “enemy” country during times of war pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act. Some “enemy aliens” were interned in the U.S. until 1949, years after the end of World War II.

  • Internment Camps

    These camps were established by the US government to intern persons of German, Japanese and Italian ancestry pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act. They were generally operated by either the Army or the Immigration and Naturalization Service for the Department of Justice. Internment Camps

  • Naturalization

    The legal process by which aliens become citizens. In the U.S., they must meet eligibility requirements, file an application, submit to investigations, pass an examination and take an oath renouncing previous allegiances and upholding the U.S. Constitution. Dual citizenship was not permitted before or during World War II.

  • POW / Prisoner of War

    An enemy soldier captured during war. During World War II, even though “enemy aliens” were civilians and not soldiers, many were for a time kept in separate compounds in prisoner of war camps run by the U.S. Army.

  • Prohibited zones

    Areas designated by the Department of Justice, in cooperation with the War Department, from which all German, Italian and Japanese “enemy aliens” were banned during World War II. The mass evacuation of “enemy aliens” was authorized during World War II under the Alien Enemies Act and related Presidential Proclamations issued by FDR with respect to Japanese, German and Italian aliens in the US and its territories.

  • Relocation

    Act of changing residence or place of business. During World War II, the U.S. government “relocated” US citizens and aliens of Japanese ancestry, forcing their removal and ultimate incarceration in War Relocation Authority camps pursuant to Executive Order 9066. Thousands of German, Italian and Japanese enemy aliens were also relocated from Prohibited Zones pursuant to the Alien Enemies Act.

  • Repatriation

    Returning people to their country of birth, origin or citizenship. During WWII, thousands of Japanese, Germans and Italians were repatriated with their American-born or Latin American-born children and exchanged for U.S. and Latin American citizens held in Japan and Germany.

  • Temporary Detention Facilities

    Holding facilities in which persons of Japanese, German and Italian decent were held “temporarily” following arrest and until their internment orders were issued by the Attorney General or they were paroled or released. Ellis Island also served as a “temporary detention facility” for years after the cessation of hostilities during World War II housing interned alien enemies pending their deportation pursuant to Presidential Proclamations 2655 and 2685.