Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Results from the National Archives

A week ago I emailed the National Archives in Kansas City to request a copy of my great-grandmother Manuela Portillo Campuzano's Alien Case file. The copies arrived in today's mail. Upon reading the file, it appears that Manuela never became a U.S. citizen. She was a permanent resident alien, and she retained her Mexican citizenship throughout her life.

Although I already had a few pictures of Manuela from her wedding photo (see my post on the Campuzano's in the 1940 US Census) and her "conversation" photo with my Granny, seeing her alien registration photo, finger print and handwriting was different.

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 (also known as the Smith Act) became law on 29 June 1940. Manuela originally registered under the act on 25 October 1940. Her 1940 form notes clearly that she had not applied for citizenship in the US.

Manuela submitted an AR-3 form on 18 July 1945, upon returning from a June visit to Mexico when she crossed back into the US at Nogales, Arizona.

She supplied an address report card on 5 January 1951 (signed Manuela Portillo de Campuzano), stating that she was a national of Mexico. This card also confirmed her birth date as 31 May 1905.

Manuela filed an application for a new alien registration receipt card on 4 September 1952. This form AR-16 confirmed her parents names as Manuel Portillo and Teresa Diaz Portillo, and her city of birth as Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. Her first arrival in the US was on 28 November 1922 (see my post Manuela's Arrival). Under the remarks box, the officer in charge noted that she was "applying for I-151". This is a replacement Green Card.

Manuela's replacement I-151 was issued on 18 September 1952. I'm still struck by that stamp at the bottom of the form. My Granny, and her siblings, were all born in the US, so by birth they were US citizens, even though her parents were permanent resident aliens and appear to have retained Mexican citizenship.

In light of the immigration debates of today, this fact hits me, that even when my Mom was young, her grandmother was not a citizen. It is great to see that at least Manuela had permanent legal status.

I haven't yet found an alien registration file for my great-grandfather, Plutarco Campuzano. It is possible he did not become a citizen either.

I am once again thankful for the Internet, and for the publication of indexes to this information. A week ago I did not have this information, and today I'm holding a copy of my great-grandmother's picture and her replacement green card form.

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