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Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County
Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. Oct. 13, 1942. p. 1
BIDDLE SAYS ITALIANS NOT ENEMY ALIENS AFTER OCTOBER 19
ITALIANS TERMED LOYAL
ATTORNEY GENERAL VOIDS INTERNMENT FOR VICTORY AID
New York, Oct. 12 (AP). U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle announced tonight that effective October 19 Italian aliens would no longer be classed as alien enemies, because, he said, "from that time on the exoneration which they have so well earned will be granted them."
"This does not mean that dangerous or disloyal persons are no longer subject to apprehension or internment," the attorney general said in a Columbus day address at Carnegie Hall. "We still will take no chances. It does mean that the regulations applying, up to now, to alien enemies, no longer apply to Italian aliens. They will be free to participate in the war effort without the handicaps that have hampered them up to now."
Biddle said that his office had investigated thoroughly all Italians in the nation in an "unprecedented exercise of wartime vigilance."
"We find that out of a total of 600,000 persons, there has been cause to intern only 228, or fewer than one-twentieth of one per cent!" he said.
Biddle, in his address which was broadcast, said that he had recommended also enactment of a bill in congress which would grant to an alien, otherwise eligible, citizenship without taking the literacy test -- provided he is 50 years old or older and provided he came to the United States before July 1, 1942, and has lived in the country continuously since.
"This measure, would, I think, remove the greatest single difficulty that has stood in the way of citizenship for a large number of the older generations of Italians, who, in all other respects, have made this country their own," Biddle said. "Some 200,000 Italians would be affected by this new law."
The attorney general said that in removing the label of alien enemy from Italians "we do not forget that there are other loyal persons now classed as alien enemies."
"Their situation is now being carefully and sympathetically studied by the department of justice," he added.
The attorney general said that the people of Italy today were sick of fascism, sick of Mussolini, and "particularly sick of Adolf Hitler."
"The revolt against Italian fascism, cannot be kept down," he said, "it has already started. Here in the United States, in American buildings and American factories, Italians -- thousands of them--are already in revolt against the government of Mussolini. By their labors they are fighting this man who has betrayed and declared war on them. By their own hands they are hastening his defeat."
ITALIANS IN SERVICE
Biddle said that Italians were abundantly represented in the list of heroes who have been decorated for bravery since Pearl Harbor.
"It is a long list and an inspiring one," he said. "It does not surprise me that this is so. Perhaps it surprises Mussolini."
Copyrighted by the Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, Morning Edition. Reproduced by permission.