Enemy Alien
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He said my name is Nakashima
And I'm a proud American
I came here in '27
From my homeland of Japan

And I picked your grapes and oranges
Made some money, bought a store
Until 1942
Pearl Harbor and the war

Came those relocation orders
They took our house, the store, the car
And they drove us through the desert
To a place called Manzanar

(from) Manzanar Tom Russell

Basic Information

An enemy alien (as opposed to an enemy alien) is a resident alien whose nation of origin is hostile to his nation of residence. This term is also - and more contravertially - applied to foreign born naturalised citizens who are perceived as remaining loyal (or at least favourable) to their home country in a dispute with their country of residence.

The original classification, however, has nothing to say on the matter of actual allegiance - the enemy alien is assumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to be hostile1 and may face hostility, surveillance, internment or even violence on the basis of this supposed alliegance. This, historically, has included those who arrived where they are specifically because of hostility to governing regime in their home country2.

An enemy alien who is hostile to his country of residence and who has not been effectively suppressed is liable to found working with local fifth columnists or intelligence agents from his home country. In the traditional sense, this would tend to be treated as espionage - if the enemy alien is actually a naturalised citizen, then it becomes treason instead, just as it would be if he were native born. If the enemy alien is also an illegal alien then things are liable to be far worse for him.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Can be fun for PCs to be trying to operate in a nation that is at war with their homeland - and whatever happens now, they may also be under suspiscion when they get home as well….
  • A particularly nervous (or paranoid) nation may even regard one of its own nationals who is over-affiliated with a hostile state as something similar … albiet probably more of a fifth columnist.
  • Conversely, a PCs dependant, spouse or important contact may be (or have been) a national of a hostile foreign power.
    • That may mean the PCs come under state scrutiny - or, alternatively, that the foreign power attempts to bribe, subvert or blackmail them into co-operating.
  • PCs may also be responsible for a community of enemy aliens and need to police them
    • This was the de-facto position for any medieval landholder with a Jewish ghetto in his feif - since the Jews were perennial bogeymen for most of medieval Europe, despite no actual evidence of hostility. S2D2 as the military would put it.
    • Conversely, in a modern setting, the state may refuse to recognise a community of enemy aliens as such and thus make the lives of PCs in the intelligence and security businesses far harder as they try to filter the active troublemakers from the passive troublemakers, sympathisers and fellow travellers.
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