Race Prejudice and Discrimination: Readings in Intergroup Relations in the United States

By Arnold M. Rose | Go to book overview

impairs the alien's economic opportunities. The first of the alien land laws, enacted by California in 1913, made it illegal for aliens ineligible for citizenship either to buy agricultural land or to lease it for a period exceeding three years. Other western states passed similar laws. However, the alien land laws were not rigidly enforced, partly because it was often advantageous to lease or sell land to the Japanese and partly because of loopholes in the laws. During the second World War the California laws were made much more stringent.

California is now vigorously enforcing its amended alien land Law.1 This law goes much further than to forbid ineligible aliens to own land. In effect, it forbids American citizens of Japanese ancestry to support their ineligible alien parents with money derived from the beneficial use of land. It has put in jeopardy the legal title of land purchased for American-born children by alien Japanese parents. Two examples of the effects of this law were cited before the Committee by a Japanese American veteran. In one instance, Japanese American soldiers killed overseas made battlefield wills deeding their land to their parents. The parents could not, under the law, receive the land. Accordingly, it escheated to the state. The other involved two Japanese American brothers who returned from overseas service to find that California had attacked the validity of the title of land purchased for them as children by their parents, and which they had cultivated as their own before entering the service.

These land laws and other manifestations of discrimination against ineligible aliens have been made possible by the discriminatory provisions of our naturalization laws. . . .


18. Expulsion of a Minority Group *

Dorothy Swaine Thomas and Richard S. Nishimoto

[ One of the most extreme cases of violation of civil liberties in any democratic country in the twentieth century has been the evacuation of the Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast into concentration camps during the Second World War. A temporary atmosphere of fear and panic caused by the attack on Pearl Harbor,

____________________
*
From The Spoilage: Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1946), 1-23. Copyright 1946 by the University of California Press. Reprinted by permission of the University of California Press.
1
Editor's note: As a result of recent Supreme Court decisions, alien land laws and laws preventing aliens from fishing commercially are no longer in force.

-184-

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