Anna Ludescher Ochsner
In 1940, the U.S. Congress passed the Alien Registration Act. It required all non-U.S.-citizens age 14 and older living in the United States to register with the federal government. Prior to 1940, the U.S. government did not keep track of immigrants living in the country. With Europe at war, however, and the U.S. being pressured to choose sides, Congress began to view immigration as a national security issue.
Anna had been living in America almost 50 years when this law was enacted. She promptly went to the post office in Lawton to register, along with many of her neighbors. A clerk asked her some questions, and typed her answers on a typewriter. She gave her occupation as "housekeeper". When asked whether she belonged to any clubs, organizations, or societies, she answered, "I don't belong to anything." When asked if she had ever been arrested for or indicted or convicted of any offenses, she answered, adamantly, "No! I have not! I obey the law!" A few months later, she received a small green card in the mail, indicating that she was a lawful permanent resident of the United States of America.
Read the book excerpts for more of Anna's story.