This chapter recounts how President Franklin Roosevelt signed Public Law (PL) 405 on July 1, 1944, which amended the Nationality Act of 1940 to allow U.S. citizens living in the United States to renounce their citizenship during wartime. Although not stated explicitly, the law was aimed at dissident Nisei. As Manzanar Project Director Ralph Merritt remarked of the statute, “This is the first time in the history of a civilized nation that a government has permitted a citizen, during a state of war, to renounce his citizenship.” Officials had several motives for favoring such a law. Some sought to have renunciants exchanged for U.S. citizens detained in Japan. Indeed, the chairman of the House Immigration and Naturalization Committee, Samuel Dickstein, suggested that the law's provisions be publicized in the camps, to be followed by notices “calling for volunteers to go to Japan in trade for Americans.”
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