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52 New Eng. L. Rev. F. 101 (2018)

handle is hein.journals/remand52 and id is 1 raw text is: 



   The Lessons of World War II Selective

      Internment for Today's Travel Ban

                             Debate





                    MARY ELIZABETH BASILE CHOPAS

    When the United States entered World War II in December 1941,
Italian nationals (along with Japanese and Germans) living in this country
who had not become American citizens were declared enemy aliens and
subject to restrictions. Several thousand Italians were arrested and detained
for hearings, and hundreds were interned for varying periods of time
through the selective internment process. The story of Italian families
affected by internment orders and various government policies, such as
nighttime searches of homes for shortwave radios and signaling devices
and restrictive curfews, illuminates how the executive branch of the U.S.
government and the military in the 1940s responded to perceived threats to
national security. There were multiple layers of repression- presumptive
guilt in arrests, internment based on membership in social organizations or
political parties and on expression of undemocratic ideas, and bars to
citizenship. Decisions about who should be interned and who should be
paroled or released were largely based on perceptions of who exhibited
qualities befitting an American citizen, such as a positive attitude toward
democracy, a good work ethic, and sentiments of allegiance to the U.S.
government.1
    The history of the internment of Italians during World War II raises
questions similar to what we ask today about how liberal democracies may
remain true to democratic values while protecting their citizens from
terrorism. The ongoing debate that began in the winter of 2017 over the
constitutionality and implementation of travel bans affecting foreign
nationals from predominantly Muslim countries wishing to enter the
United States poses the issue of whether persons may be barred from entry
without having undergone an individualized determination of security
threat based on specific intelligence.2 In its latest form, President Trump's


1 See MARY ELIZABETH BASILE CHOPAS, SEARCHING FOR SUBVERSIVES: THE STORY OF ITALIAN
INTERNMENT IN WARTIME AMERICA 7 (2017).
2 See Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, Exec. Order
No. 13769, revoked and replaced by Exec. Order No. 13780 (same title); Summary and Analysis of
Trump Executive Order on Visa Issuance/Screening and Refugees, Doc. No. 17012775,
https://perma.cc/27XB-ZWEG, (last visited Feb. 14, 2018).

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