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Crystal City in Zavala County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

World War II Enemy Alien Internment

 
 
World War II Enemy Alien Internment Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 31, 2014
1. World War II Enemy Alien Internment Marker
Inscription.
”Inevitably, war creates situations which Americans would not countenance in times of peace, such as the internment of men and women who were considered potentially dangerous to America’s national security.”
-INS, Department of Justice, 1946 Report

Texas played a significant role in World War II. Thousands worked in war industries such as oil production and aircraft manufacturing. Sacrifices were made on the home front in many ways such as rationing, scrap driving, and buying war bonds. In service of the war effort, 750,000 Texas men and women joined the military, and the sate hosted more than 65 U.S. Army Air Forces facilities, 35 U.S. Army Ground Forces camps and forts, nearly a dozen naval installations, and 68 prisoner of war camps.

Shocked by the December 7, 1941, Empire of Japan attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii that propelled the United States into World War II, one government response to the war was the incarceration of thousands of Japanese Americans on the West Coast and the territory of Hawaii. Issei (Japanese-born immigrants who were prohibited by law from becoming U.S. citizens) and Nisei (American-born children who were U.S. citizens by birth) were significantly impacted by war hysteria. More than 120,000 Issei and Nisei were moved, primarily, to War Relocation Authority
Enemy Alien Internment Marker (<i>wide view: camp site in background; adjacent marker on left</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 31, 2014
2. Enemy Alien Internment Marker (wide view: camp site in background; adjacent marker on left)
camps across the country. These internees shared a common loss of freedom with the thousands of Japanese, German, and Italian Americans and Enemy Aliens detained in Department of Justice (DOJ) camps through the Enemy Alien Control Unit Program. Texas hosted three temporary detention centers in Houston, San Antonio, and Laredo; three DOI Enemy Alien confinement camps administered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) at Crystal City, Kenedy and Seagoville, and two U.S. Army "temporary confinement camps" at Dodd Field near Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and Fort Bliss in El Paso.

The government's authority over Enemy Aliens and, by circumstance, their American-born children came from United Stares Code, Title 50, Section 21, Restraint, Regulation, and Removal, which allowed for the arrest and detention of Enemy Aliens during war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Proclamation No. 2525 on December 7, 1941 and Proclamations No. 2526 and No. 2527 on December 8, 1941—modeled on the Enemy Alien Act of 1798—collectively stated,

”All natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of [Japan, Germany and Italy], being of the age of fourteen years and upward, who shall be in the United States and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured, and removed as alien enemies."

Prior to these presidential
Marker detail: World War II Internment Camps in Texas image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 31, 2014
3. Marker detail: World War II Internment Camps in Texas
proclamations, the United States government realized the high probability that it eventually would be involved in war, regardless of the strong isolationist feelings the public generally held prior to December 7, 1941. In preparation, both the DOJ, through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the State Department, through the Special War Problems Program, produced detention lists. This system indexed thousands of people as potentially dangerous individuals in time of war who were residing in the United States and Central and South America. With this questionable legal foundation in place, the FBI began arresting American citizens, and Enemy Aliens from Axis nations in America, as early as the night of December 7, 1941 and placed them in detention centers. By January 1942, all individuals classified as Enemy Aliens were required to register at local post offices. They were fingerprinted, photographed, and required to carry photo-bearing Enemy Alien Registration Cards at all times.

Early in 1942, the DOJ established a hi-level organization, which handled the individual cases of Enemy Aliens: The Enemy Alien Control Unit in Washington, D.C. and an Enemy Alien Hearing Board with branches located in each of the federal judicial districts of the United States (in Texas boards were held in Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio). Each Enemy Alien Hearing Board consisted
Marker detail: Garner Field, Eagle Pass Army Air Field and Fort Clark image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 31, 2014
4. Marker detail: Garner Field, Eagle Pass Army Air Field and Fort Clark
of three civilian members from the local community, one of whom was an attorney. Representatives of the U.S. Attorney for that district, the INS, and the FBI attended each hearing as well. Enemy Aliens taken into custody were brought before an Enemy Alien Hearing Board and were either released, paroled, or interned for the duration of the war.
 
Erected 2011 by Texas Historical Commission.
 
Location. 28° 41.463′ N, 99° 49.484′ W. Marker is in Crystal City, Texas, in Zavala County. Marker is at the intersection of North 7th Avenue (Farm to Market Road 1433) and Popeye Lane, on the right when traveling north on North 7th Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is located in southwest corner of vacant lot (former internment camp site), adjacent to the Crystal City High School Baseball field. Marker is at or near this postal address: 104 Popeye Lane, Crystal City TX 78839, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. World War II Concentration Camp (here, next to this marker); Crystal City Family Internment Camp, World War II (here, next to this marker); Confinement Site - History of Crystal City Family Internment Camp (a few steps from this
Marker detail: San Antonio Police Station (1941) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 31, 2014
5. Marker detail: San Antonio Police Station (1941)
marker); Living and Working in an Internment Camp (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Zavala County (approx. 0.8 miles away); Burleson Cemetery (approx. 9.6 miles away); Dimmit County Courthouse (approx. 11.9 miles away).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. World War II Enemy Alien Control Program.
Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526, and 2527 to authorize the United States to detain allegedly potentially dangerous enemy aliens. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies arrested thousands of suspected enemy aliens, mostly individuals of German, Italian, or Japanese ancestry, living throughout the United States. The Department of Justice oversaw the processing of the cases and the internment program. Although many were released or paroled after hearings before a local alien enemy hearing board, for many the adversarial hearings resulted in internment. Often families, including naturalized or American-born spouses and children, of those interned voluntarily joined them in internment. (Submitted on December 13, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. The Legacy of Crystal City’s Internment Camps.
The Crystal City camp was part of a separate program called the Enemy Alien Control Unit, run by the Department of Justice and administered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The program was designed for Axis citizens, people who had renounced their U.S. citizenship, and those who had been deemed particularly dangerous—a broad description that fit many pillars of immigrant communities, including religious leaders, martial arts instructors and members of cultural organizations. German- and Italian-Americans who had come under FBI suspicion, as well as Japanese-Americans considered too dangerous for the War Relocation Authority, were sent to Crystal City. (Submitted on December 13, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Asian AmericansMan-Made FeaturesWar, World II
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 13, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 12, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 61 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 12, 2017, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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