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Verified written reports in compliance with Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1913, 1921-1949
SCG.00075
Collection Overview

Title:

Verified written reports in compliance with Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1913, 1921-1949

Abstract:

This collection contains reports of non-citizen ownership of real property in Sonoma County, Calif., as required under Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1913.

Date:

1921 (issued)

Subject:

n-us-ca -- n-us---
Japanese -- United States
Japanese -- California -- Sonoma County
Land tenure -- Law and legislation -- California
California -- Laws, statutes, etc
Japanese -- United States
Japanese -- California -- Sonoma County
Japanese
Race discrimination
Official reports

Note:

Repository: History & Genealogy Library, Sonoma County Library, Collection no. SCG.00075.
This collection is unprocessed. Please contact the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library for access; for contact info and current hours, see https://sonomalibrary.org/locations/sonoma-county-history-and-genealogy-library
Access: No restrictions. Available for research during Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library business hours (see https://sonomalibrary.org/locations/sonoma-county-history-and-genealogy-library for current hours).
Finding aid available online via the Online Archive of California.
The California Alien Land Law of 1913 (also known as the Webb-Haney Act) prohibited "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning agricultural land or possessing long-term leases over it, but permitted leases lasting up to three years. It affected the Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Korean immigrant farmers in California. Implicitly, the law was primarily directed at the Japanese. It passed thirty-five to two in the Senate and seventy-two to three in the Assembly and was co-written by attorney Francis J. Heney and California state attorney general Ulysses S. Webb at the behest of Governor Hiram Johnson. Japan's Consul General Kametaro Iijima and lawyer Juichi Soyeda lobbied against the law. In a letter to the United States Secretary of State, the Japanese government via the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs called the law "essentially unfair and inconsistent… with the sentiments of amity and good neighborhood which have presided over the relations between the two countries," and noted that Japan felt it was "in disregard of the spirit of the existing treaty between Japan and the United States." The law was meant to discourage immigration from Asia, and to create an inhospitable climate for immigrants already living in California. (Source: Wikipedia, accessed June 4, 2019: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Alien_Land_Law_of_1913)
The Law included a provision that any property acquired in violation of the law would pass to the State of California: Sec. 5. Any real property hereaffer acquired in fee in violation of the provisions of this act by any alien mentioned in Section 2 of this act, or by any company, association, or corporation mentioned in Section 3 of this act, shall escheat to and become and remain the property of the State of California. The attorney- general shall institute proceedings to have the escheat of such real property adjudged and enforced in the manner provided by Section 474 of the Political Code, and Title 8, Part 3, of the Code of Civil Procedure. Upon the entry of final judgment in such proceedings the title to such real property 'shall pass to the State of California. The provisions of this'section and of Sections 2 and 3 of this act shall not apply to any real property hereafter acquired in the enforcement or in satisfaction of any lien -now existing upon or interest in such property so long as such real property so acquired shall remain the property of the alien company, association, or corporation acquiring the same in such manner. (Source: Collins, Charles Wallace. Will the California Alien Land Law stand the test of the Fourteenth Amendment? Yale Law Journal, vol. 23, issue 3, 1914, page 332. Accessed June 4, 2019. https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2346&context=ylj)
The California Alien Land Law of 1920 continued the 1913 law while filling many of its loopholes. Among the loopholes filled were that the leasing of land for a period of three years or less was no longer allowed; owning of stock in companies that acquired agricultural land was forbidden; and guardians or agents of ineligible aliens were required to submit an annual report on their activities. The 1920 Alien Land Law was passed in reaction to the intensification of anti-Japanese sentiment, and to the fact that the 1913 Alien Land Law was doing little to stem Japanese immigration to California. The law was approved by the voters after being proposed by the California State Legislature. It passed with a vote of 668,438 to 222,086. The 1920 law was amended in 1923 to further fill wording-related loopholes.
In 1923, the California Land Law of 1913 and similar laws in other states were upheld in the United States Supreme Court and were determined not to be in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The 1946 Supreme Court of California case People v. Oyama reaffirmed the 1923 decision, determining that Japanese immigrant Kajiro Oyama had attempted to evade the Alien Land Laws by purchasing farmland that he placed in the name of his son, who was a U.S. citizen. In fact, Oyama’s petition to be named as his son’s guardian in order to have authority over the land had been approved by a local court. This method was a major way in which the Japanese were able to acquire agricultural land during this period, since most other options were closed to them. The case was then reviewed by the United States Supreme Court in Oyama v. California after petitioning by the Oyamas and their supporters. The majority opinion held that Fred Oyama’s rights as a U.S. citizen to take and hold property had been violated by the state of California. The decision was arguably instrumental in helping to bring about a shift in attitudes toward the Japanese and their property rights.
IThe Alien Land Laws were invalidated in 1952 by the Supreme Court of California as a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution in Sei Fujii v. California.[9] Fujii was a longtime Los Angeles resident, but was not a U.S. citizen. He alleged that the law violated the California and United States Constitutions, and that it also went against the spirit of the United Nations Charter to which the United States was bound by treaty. The California District Court of Appeal had decided in 1950 that the Alien Land Law was in violation of Articles 55 and 56 of the United Nations Charter. The Supreme Court of California then ordered the case transferred for hearing and settlement, as it was determined to be a sufficiently important question of law. (Source: Wikipedia, accessed June 4, 2019: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Alien_Land_Law_of_1913)
Materials in English.
Gift: donor unknown
[Identification of item], Verified written reports in compliance with Section 5 of the Alien Land Law of 1913, 1921-1949. SCG.00075, History & Genealogy Library, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA.
Collection does not circulate and may be photocopied or photographed by arrangement only.

Type:

Archival materials

Physical Description:

1 (0.3

Language:

English

Identifier:

https://oac.cdlib.org/search?query=SCG.00075
SCG.00075

Origin:

No place, unknown, or undetermined

Copyright Note:

This collection is unprocessed. Please contact the Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library for access; for contact info and current hours, see
Access: No restrictions. Available for research during Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library business hours (see https://sonomalibrary.org/locations/sonoma-county-history-and-genealogy-library for current hours).
Collection does not circulate and may be photocopied or photographed by arrangement only.

Related Item:

https://oac.cdlib.org/search?query=SCG.00075