Washington (May. 6)
The joint Senate and House conferees on the immigration bill reached a final agreement today in which the most important new feature is the exemption from the quota of the wives and children, under eighteen, of American citizens.
The conferees for the Senate, which had eliminated all relative exemptions, finally yielded after a strong fight by Congressman Sabath of Chicago, and agreed to allow these two points of liberalization, which are of the utmost importance to the Jews, particularly because of the insignificantly small quota allowed to Eastern Europe under the new pro-Nordic census. These particular relatives will, under the exemption, not be faced with the tragedy of separation.
In other respects the provisions of the Senate Bill, in the main, were adopted. The quota based upon 2% of the 1890 census will go into effect July 1st of this year and will allow the admission of approximately 162,000 annual the present quota number in half. On July 1st, 192##ence, the Senate’s national origins plan, with##um annual quota immigration of 160,000 will take the pl## the 2% of 1890. Under both, the quota for the East and South E##s are reduced to a very small number.
The conference agreement reti ## the immigration certificate plan, and the burden of proof of eligibility upon the immigrant. The conference expressly rejected the House bill exemption of parents over 55. Under the final agreement, these will, however, be given first preference in the issuance of certificates within the quota.
Before the joint conference agreement can become law, it must be adopted by both branches of Congress, and it is expected that it will be formally reported for first action by the House tomorrow. Acceptance by a large majority vote in both House and Senate, within a week, is anticipated, although the strict exclusionists may endeavor to strike out the exemptions.
The American Federation of Labor issued today a manifesto from the executive of its national political campaign committee demanding absolute exclusion of immigration, stating:
“Regardless of the outcome in connection with immigration legislation now before Congress, a policy of strict exclusion is imperative for many years to come. The more nearly the United States can come to absolute exclusion, the better shall we be able to maintain and improve American standards of living and of American life and citizenship.
“It is imperative that American have time and opportunity to develop an American race. America cannot remain the dwelling place of many races and many nationalisms, and at the same time perpetuate those ideals and institutions for which America stands. Neither can America develop a racial unity and a thoroughly American psychology if it is compelled to accept into its midst a constant stream of dilution, a constant stream of thought and purposes coming from all corners of the world, bearing down upon us with its babel of language, customs, thought, idealism and lack of idealism, and with all its diversity of temperament, standards and modes of life.”