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Letter regarding cancellation of renunciation of citizenship

Descriptive

OriginInfo
DateCreated (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (keyDate = yes)
1958-10-29
Extension
DescriptiveEvent
Type
Exhibition
Label
Invisible Restraints: Life and Labor at Seabrook Farms
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf)
2016
AssociatedObject
Type
Exhibition section
Name
A Destination for the Stateless
Detail
In the years immediately following the end of World War II, Seabrook became a harbor for those with no place else to go, who had been rendered stateless by the events of the previous four years. In 1943, in order to qualify for work release or military service, internees of Japanese descent had to answer yes two critical questions on the “loyalty questionnaire.” Question 27 asked men whether they would serve in the military and women whether they would serve in auxiliary roles. Answering yes meant potentially having to leave family members who were still incarcerated and join segregated units. It also asked Nisei internees to perform an obligation of citizenship – while their civil liberties as citizens was being violated. Question 28 asked: “Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States... and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, to any other foreign government, power or organization?” The presumptive phrasing of this question suggested that Japanese Americans may have already been serving Japan, despite no evidence to back this. For Issei imprisoned in camps, renouncing their Japanese citizenship was a risky prospect, because there was no guarantee that the United States would ever restore their basic rights. Of the 75,000 internees who completed the questionnaire, 6,700 answered no to these two questions, earning them the nickname “no-nos.” The military sent “no-nos” to the camp at Tule Lake, where the government could keep closer watch over purportedly disloyal internees. Senichiro Takeda, who was sent to the Tule Lake concentration camp, renounced his American citizenship in protest, and was subsequently registered as an enemy alien. While trying to reclaim his citizenship after the war, in 1947 he was sent to Seabrook Farms. He would have to wait until 1958, after lengthy legal proceedings, to be renaturalized.

In contrast to the meticulous accounting that attended to the internment of Issei and Nisei in the United States, the incarceration of Japanese Latin Americans, most of whom were Peruvian, left them deserted in a foreign country without legal documentation regarding their citizenship status in their former countries. Following Pearl Harbor, the Peruvian government conducted massive arrests and deported Japanese Peruvians to camps, primarily Crystal City, Texas, without warrants or judicial oversight, as part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. When the war ended, Peru refused re-entry to Japanese Peruvians. The United States declared that Japanese Peruvians were “illegal” aliens, even though they had been brought into the country against their will, and began deporting them to Japan. As Seiichi Higashide described in his memoir Adios to Tears, “The irony of the matter was that the U.S. government had illegally and unreasonably forced the matter upon us.” Wayne Collins, a San Francisco-based civil liberties lawyer intervened to try to bring a legal halt to the process. (Collins would also be influential in restoring citizenship to Tule Lake detainees.) In 1946, he arranged for approximately 300 Japanese Peruvians to be relocated to Seabrook Farms, while their cases were pending. There, while relieved from possible deportation to Japan, they faced economic disadvantages unique to their statelessness, such as having to obtain overpriced groceries at the company store, under surveillance, while other workers were free to shop in town. It was not until the 1952 Immigration and Naturalization Act that the Japanese Peruvians who escaped deportation became eligible for citizenship and gained the right to remain in the United States permanently.
Relationship
Forms part of
AssociatedObject
Type
Exhibition caption
Relationship
Forms part of
Name
Letter regarding cancellation of renunciation of citizenship
Detail
It took until 1958 for the federal courts to reach a decision in Takeda's case. A letter from Collins notes that in the end, the judge ruled that Takeda's renunciation of his citizenship was never valid, and "in consequence, you always have been and still are a U.S. citizen." These words may have been little comfort for Takeda, who was initially incarcerated as a native-born citizen, without any formal charges being brought against him.

"Letter regarding cancellation of renunciation of citizenship” (ddr-densho-254-5). Courtesy of the Takeda Family Collection. Retrieved from http://ddr.densho.org/ddr/densho/254/5/. Used under Densho Digital Repository Terms of Use: "Free re-use available. This object is protected by copyright, but the rights holder has allowed us to make it available to you for non-commercial, educational projects."
AssociatedObject
Type
Placement in digital exhibition
Relationship
Forms part of
Name
56
Subject
HierarchicalGeographic
Country
UNITED STATES
State
New Jersey
County
Cumberland County
City
Seabrook Farms (Seabrook, N.J.)
Genre (authority = AAT)
documents
PhysicalDescription
InternetMediaType
application/pdf
Extent
8 p.
TypeOfResource
Text
Subject (authority = NJCCS)
Temporal
Postwar Years (1945-1970)
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Japanese Americans
Subject (authority = LCSH)
Topic
Citizenship
Subject (authority = local)
Topic
Renunciation of citizenship
TitleInfo
Title
Letter regarding cancellation of renunciation of citizenship
Language
LanguageTerm (authority = ISO 639-3:2007); (type = text)
English
Abstract (type = description)
It took until 1958 for the federal courts to reach a decision in Takeda's case. A letter from Collins notes that in the end, the judge ruled that Takeda's renunciation of his citizenship was never valid, and "in consequence, you always have been and still are a U.S. citizen." These words may have been little comfort for Takeda, who was initially incarcerated as a native-born citizen, without any formal charges being brought against him.
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Collins
NamePart (type = given)
Wayne M.
Role
RoleTerm (type = text); (authority = marcrelator)
Correspondent
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Takeda
NamePart (type = given)
Senichiro
Role
RoleTerm (type = text); (authority = marcrelator)
Correspondent
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
Seabrook Farms
Identifier (type = local)
SBFarms
Location
PhysicalLocation (authority = marcorg); (displayLabel = Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center)
NjSaECC
Location
PhysicalLocation (authority = marcorg); (displayLabel = Rutgers University. Libraries)
NjR
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T32Z17MQ
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Rights

RightsDeclaration (AUTHORITY = NJDH); (ID = rulibRdec0001)
This resource may be copyright protected. You may make use of this resource, with proper attribution, for educational and other non-commercial uses only. Contact the contributing organization to obtain permission for reproduction, publication, and commercial use.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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Technical

RULTechMD (ID = TECHNICAL1)
ContentModel
Document
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