Secretary Davis Recommends Relief Measure for Separated Immigrant Families

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The long awaited translation into concrete terms of President Coolidge’s recommendation to relieve the hardships brought about by the separation of families under the present quota law was made in a letter from Secretary Davis to Hiram Johnson, Chairman of the Senate Immigration Committee, purporting to carry out this recommendation and embodying, so far as is known at this time, the maximum stand of the administration, whereby under Secretary Davis’s estimate not over 25,000 additional aliens will be admissible. It is not a thorough remedy of exemption, such as proposed by the Wadsworth-Perlman Bill, but a temporary limited emergency proposal, it is stated.

In his letter Secretary Davis states that he has dealt with cases involving the separation of families. From the economic standpoint the principle of restriction of immigration is undoubtedly a success, he says, but the hardship is great. It is only human to sympathize with the plight of many of these people. “I have given much study to a means of remedying the situation without destroying the basis of the restrictive principle of the present law,” the Secretary states.

Secretary Davis recommends merely an amendment to give only preference to wives, husbands, minor children, step-children and parents of all aliens over twenty-one lawfully admitted and permanently residing in America. Another recommendation is for a special quota not exceeding five hundred vises to be added to each present quota for cases where hardships are felt. This five hundred however, is not to be further available after once exhausted and only 20 per cent are to be issuable each month. A reserve quota made up by pooling all the unused quotas of the past two years, which now amounts to four thousand, and also any future unused up to ten thousand more for such hardship cases, at the discretion of the Secretary of Labor, after the exhausting of the other quotas, is also recommended.

The secretary’s letter is completely silent on the exemption of relatives from the quota as provided in the Perlman-Wadsworth bills. The Secretary’s letter is perplexing in view of Commissioner Husband’s testimony at the Immigration Committee hearing and his answer to Johnson’s inquiry. Senator Johnson already had Davis’s letter which, because of its length and the fact that a formal resolution covering the amendments included, coupled with Coolidge’s message as basis, would seem to be the final word on the subject.

Commissioner Husband’s statement may indicate that another letter of more liberal character may come later, with regard to Commissioner Curran’s testimony and the recent developments.

“As I have repeatedly expressed myself, I want to see something done to relieve the cases of extreme hardship caused by the separation of families. It is morally right, it is economically right, that these families should be united. I might, Mr. Senator, give you many illustrations of how the sympathetic appeals try the souls of the officers of the immigration service, but you know them as well as I Every member of Congress and every Senator has had individual cases brought to his attention and I am not going to burden you with more. I do hope you will give every consideration to the measure of relief I propose and that it may have that consideration as speedily as possible,” Secretary Davis concluded.

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