In New York City, home to the nationís largest
Italian American population and led by Italian
American Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Italian
immigrants were photographed, fingerprinted
and registered with the Department of Justice
and the FBI. The government told Italian
resident aliens to stay off the streets after
dark. Daytime travel was restricted. To walk
the streets or subway to work, Italian resident
aliens in New York City carried bright pink
enemy alien passbooks, with photo ID and
Failure to produce the passbook upon demand
of a government agent often resulted in arrest.
Spoken Italian in public places was officially
discouraged by the Federal government.
In Washington, D.C. the attorney general
decreed that an Italian resident alien's
"enemy alien" status alone was tantamount
to probable cause, effectively suspending
the Fourth Amendment protection from
unreasonable search and seizure.
Under this decree, search warrants could be
obtained without any showing of suspicious
activity or evidence of a crime. Authorities
in New York City and elsewhere raided more
than 2,900 homes of Italian immigrants who
did not hold American citizenship. They
seized flashlights, cameras, binoculars,
firearms and short wave radios.