(Part II of Citizenship and the Law. Click here for Part I)
If you are confused by the documents that state your American born female ancestor was not a US citizen, you are not alone. Tracing one family, the woman was a citizen as a child, had her passport application denied because she wasn't a citizen, then later applied for citizenship.
Shaking my head to the confusion, once again I researched the laws of the time for answers to discover the moving citizenship requirements that were imposed after the Naturalization Act of 1906. Interestingly enough the Naturalization Act was created to standardize the naturalization procedure and citizenship requirements. Yet from 1907 to WWII, citizenship laws impacted American born women, leaving the men unscathed.
What to Look For?
- Did you female ancestor marry an Asian? The Married Women’s Citizenship Act of 1922, also called the Cable Act, reversed most of the Expatriation Act, except in the cases of an American woman being married to an Asian. From 1922 - 1936 the Cable Act still stripped American citizenship to those married to Asian aliens.
- The law became more woman friendly by 1940. At this time women were allowed to repatriate if they lost their citizenship between 1907 – 1922 due to their alien spouse. However, to restore her US citizenship, the American-born was required to apply for citizenship and take the oath of allegiance.
Under an informal "Gentlemen's Agreement," the United States agrees not to restrict Japanese immigration in exchange for Japan's promise to voluntarily restrict Japanese emigration to the United States by not issuing passports to Japanese laborers. In return, the US promise to crack down on discrimination against Japanese-Americans, most of whom live in California.