Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County

Full Text Newspaper ArticleSanta Cruz Sentinel-News, Evening Edition. Feb. 4, 1942. p. 2


There are two current schools of thought in Santa Cruz regarding enemy alien orders.

On the one side are those bullet-headed residents who point a condemning finger at Pearl Harbor and growl: "Move 'em all back. The farther the better." And on the other are those equally practical, but also compassionate, persons who would melt some clemency into their patriotism.

Actually, the situation is out of the hands of all via a federal ruling yesterday which said there will be no exceptions for enemy aliens who live within the local restricted area bounded by Laguna creek along the coast on Route No. 1 to the Carmel river. The aged, the infirm, the sick and even those bewildered unfortunates who have sunk their life savings in defense bonds and whose sons proudly wear navy uniforms, must all move - not to return for the duration.

It can readily be seen why a blanket order should be issued. Who, after Pearl Harbor, is to determine the spy from the gentle old man? Who could possibly take the responsibility of weeding the evil from the good? And why should the lives of thousands, even locally, be endangered because one bad apple might be scrutinized and labeled "OK."

* * * *

Such reasoning, undoubtedly government reasoning, is logical. But homes and large Italian families and a dependency upon fishing or growing "stoop crops" are not founded upon logic.

We can honestly say that we feel sorry for hundreds of Santa Cruz aliens, Japanese, German and Italian, whose roots will be torn from the black artichoke farms, from the wharf and from highly fertile truck farms by this order.

We know dozens of families founded upon a brave pioneer who took this country for a foster mother, raised husky sons for our navy and upon whom the finger now burns because his negligence, and negligence alone, makes him an enemy alien. Neglect to apply for citizenship is his sole sin.

And again, there are many enemy aliens in this area, now brought into prominence by this federal ruling, who could never be trusted, who by their actions alone have drawn criticism and suspicion. You know who they are. For them the order applies.

But good or bad, all are now poured into the same barrel and ordered shipped into non-restricted areas. We are sad to relate that there's no other course; we are glad to relate that federal sentiment at least at present is against mass evacuation in the mid-west.

* * * *

But in regards aliens, there is still another matter. A distasteful one. This is the gleeful bandwagon leaping of various political and non-local persons to steal the credit which the federal government has so painstakingly won.

In regards this Olson-led political glory-grabbing, which can accomplish little except bring more hardships upon our aliens, we sincerely hope the voice of Senator Ray Judah is being heard in Sacramento. And we hope you, as individuals, are making your attitude clear -- and loud.

* * * *

And we also disagree with the obviously well-meant, but poorly-timed pleas of many citizen groups and individuals, including our own highly-regarded Attorney Donald Younger, in attempting to establish a system whereby the alien wheat can be separated from the chaff.

To these attempts, honorable and right though they be, there is but one answer, a fact admitted in Younger's telegraphic plea to Governor Olson. This is that the Justice Department has flatly ruled there "shall be no exceptions."

In tough times such as these we firmly believe the federal government will stick firmly by its guns and refuse to back down. This in itself was borne out today by federal creation of a new alien 'curfew' district from Oregon to Santa Barbara, running 150 miles deep.

As for Olson's reply to Younger's plea:

"I believe that farmers of Italian lineage who have not yet become citizens of the United States, but are thoroughly loyal to this country in its war with Italy, will not be disturbed in carrying on their agricultural production work. As to all who are classified as alien enemies, careful surveys will be made and census taken so as to protect the innocent and the loyal from whom no sabotage or fifth column activities could spring. They will be given an opportunity to demonstrate their loyalty to the United States." This was telegraphed earlier this week, but demonstrates his attitude in connection with alien orders already given.

We classify this as holding out false hopes to already bewildered and honest aliens. Unfortunately, there will be no let-down in the government attitude. It's rubbing salt into open wounds.

* * * *

We have declared once that our sympathies for these aliens are of the greatest and we will do everything within our power to make their lives easier. But again we ask: Is Governor Olson, a designated board, or anyone to take the tremendous responsibility of naming the bad apples? And what is done for one alien, worthy as he be, will be demanded by all.

The federal government has spoken. We think it wise that all others, and especially the state government, keep silent.

After all, gentlemen, we are at war!

Copyrighted by the Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, Evening Edition. Reproduced by permission.