“enemy Aliens” Can Become American Citizens Even During War, Washington Explains

The office of the HIAS here was today authoritatively informed that there is no ground whatsoever to assume that non-citizens who are technically “enemy aliens” cannot become citizens of the United States for the duration of the war. Similarly there is no basis for the assumption that naturalization proceedings generally will be held up until the end of the war.

“The entry of the United States into the war,” it was explained, “has brought into operation Section 326 of the Nationality Act of 1940 which governs conditions under which enemy aliens may become naturalized American citizens. Under these provisions, aliens who are nationals of Germany or of Italy may still become naturalized in the United States if on December 8, 1941 they: 1. had made a declaration of intention, first papers, at least two years but not more than seven years before that date; or 2. were entitled to apply for citizenship without making a declaration of intention, for example the husband or wife of an American citizen; or 3. had their petitions for naturalization pending in court.

“The Immigration and Naturalization Service was given, under wartime conditions, a period of 90 days in which to conduct an investigation and to submit objections to the Court if it is felt that the individual case warrants it. Aliens who do not fall within the above-described categories cannot be naturalized unless the President of the United States has exempted them from the enemy alien classification. In such cases the Department of Justice is required to make an investigation and submit a report to the President in order to establish their loyalty without question.”

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