USCIS Webinar: ‘Any Alien’ serving in the military or naval forces of the United States? Asian immigrant soldiers and naturalization during the First World War – Wednesday, 25 April 2018, 1 p.m. (Eastern)

An historian from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will present another useful webinar next Wednesday, 25 April 2018, at 1 p.m.

*This webinar will not be recorded, so be sure to join it live.*

During the First World War, Congress passed an act that said any alien serving in the U.S. armed forces could become a citizen through an expedited naturalization process. Alongside other foreign-born soldiers, Asian immigrants serving in the U.S. military moved to take advantage of this opportunity.

U.S. naturalization laws, however, had long categorized Asian immigrants as racially ineligible for naturalization and many courts refused to make them citizens under the military naturalization law. For nearly two decades after the war, Asian immigrant soldiers fought to have their right to U.S. citizenship legally recognized.

 This webinar uses archival records and actual case files to tell the story of Asian immigrant WWI soldiers who sought U.S. citizenship under military naturalization provisions.

How to Attend:

1.  Visit the USCIS History and Genealogy webpage.

2.  Click “Guide to I&N History: Wednesday, April 25.”

3.  Click “Attend Session” just before the webinar start time at 1 p.m. (Eastern).  I recommend “arriving” about 10 minutes before in case you need to download any software or have other computer issues to resolve. 

 

 

 

Internment of Enemy Aliens During World War I

The internment of over 110,000 Japanese citizens and Americans of Japanese descent during World War II is well-known. In contrast, U.S. internment of over 6,000 German citizens and other enemy aliens during the First World War has been largely forgotten.

Was your ancestor interned? Read my article, “Internment of Enemy Aliens During World War I” for more information. I recommend starting with online newspaper databases which sometimes contain news reports about aliens arrested and detained. Then, you’ll want to locate federal records in the custody of the U.S. National Archives. My article will introduce you to available records and how to request record searches and copies.

EnEmAlienToymakersNAID31478939.jpg

Photo: Enemy aliens interned at Fort Douglas, Utah, pass the time by building model ships. 165-WW-161C-94. NAID 31478939. American Unofficial Collection of World War I Photographs, 1917-18; Record Group 165, Records of the War Department General and Special Staffs; National Archives at College Park, MD. 

“Disloyalty,” Naturalization, and World War I , USCIS webinar today, June 29, 2017, 1 p.m.

From the USCIS History Office:

I&N History Webinar: “Disloyalty,” Naturalization, and World War I

The First World War inspired patriotism in both native-born and immigrant Americans. At the same time, some immigrant groups fell under suspicion of being disloyal to the U.S. war effort. So, in the years surrounding the war, the Bureau of Naturalization investigated the loyalty of naturalizing immigrants to ensure that only fully qualified immigrants became citizens.

As part of the USCIS History Office’s ongoing commemoration of the 100th anniversary of World War I, this webinar examines the Bureau of Naturalization’s loyalty investigations during the war and the Bureau’s efforts to revoke citizenship from naturalized citizens it deemed disloyal. In the webinar, you will learn about the Bureau’s wartime activities through primary-source examples of loyalty investigation files and cancelled certificate of naturalization files.

To join the webinar, find the June 29 webinar “Disloyalty,” Naturalization, and World War I and click “Attend Session” just before it starts at 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, June 29.

Please note: This webinar will not be recorded, so be sure to join it live.

Minor’s Naturalization

While we normally think of naturalization as a two step process whereby the alien first declares his intent to become a citizen and then petitions for naturalization, there were exceptions to that procedure.

For example, from 1824 to 1906, aliens who came to the U.S. while under age 18 could effectively declare their intent to become a citizen at the same time they filed their petition for naturalization once they had reached age 21 or more and had lived in the U.S. for five years (three of which as a minor). Let the law speak for itself:

image002.jpgSo, to summarize: the alien still had to meet the five year requirement for residency, and three years of that had to be while he was a minor.

Many courts used specific forms for these cases that combined declaration of intent language and petition language in one document, and they made sure to include the word “minor.”  Some may say the applicant “arrived as a minor,” while others will have the words “Minor Naturalization” emblazoned across the title or as a watermark.

For more on naturalization, see Naturalization Records and Women and Naturalization, Part I and Part II.