Heated Debate in U.S. Senate Before Wadsworth Amendment Was Passed

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The vote in the Senate on the Wadsworth Amendment for the admission of 35,000 wives and minor children of declarants came after two hours of thrilling debate in the course of which Senator Wadsworth made a fight for his measure, succeeding in obtaining action thereon despite the rejection by the Senate Immigration Committee last session. Senators Wadsworth, Copeland, Walsh of Massachusetts and Bruce of Maryland spoke for the bill and Senators Reed of Pennsylvania and Heflin of Alabama led the debate against the bill. The measure will now be referred to the Committee of Conferees, representing the Senate and the House, and will not have to be referred first to the House itself, which would have probably greatly delayed action.

The Reed Bill, which was passed along with Wadsworth’s amendment, admits as non-quota immigrants women who lost their American citizenship by marrying aliens prior to the Cable Act. If the House Conferees accept the amendment they will make their report to the House and, barring unexpected events, an early vote will probably be taken by the House.

Whether the House Conferees will accept the amendment is a question. The Senate’s favorable action does not assure acceptance by the House which is necessary before the amendment can become a law. The House Conferees will probably be Congressmen Johnson, Taylor of Tennessee, White of Kansas, Sabath of Chicago, and Raken of California. All except Congressman Sabath are not particularly friendly to a liberal immigration. Of the Senate Conferees, Senators Hiram Johnson, Keyes of New Hampshire, Willis of Ohio, King of Utah and Harris of Georgia, King and Johnson are probably sympathetic, whereas the others are more or less unfavorably disposed toward liberal immigration.

As the majority of both groups of the Conferees are opposed to a liberal immigration policy, there is a danger, therefore, even if the conferees do not refuse to accept the amendment outright that they may compromise by cutting down the number of immigrants admissible.

The Senate vote came after the previous effort of Senator Wadsworth last Friday to obtain consideration of the amendment had failed because of the parliamentary situation.

Congressman Perlman, author of the companion bill to Wadsworth’s amendment in the House, announced following the Senate’s decision that he will immediately make an effort to persuade the majority of the Republican Conferees to forward the acceptance of the amendment.

Just before the Wadsworth amendment came up in the Senate the House Immigration Committee granted a hearing for next Thursday to Congressman Sabath on his bill to admit a limited number, not to exceed one thousand five hundred for any one country, of parents over fifty-five and children between eighteen and twenty-one of citizens, unmarried children under eighteen and the wives of declarants who have resided in America for at least three years. Congressman Sabath intends to bring to the hearing a number of important witnesses to speak for liberalizing the law. The Wadsworth amendment, however, will probably admit a larger number of wives and children of declarants than Sabath’s measure. If Wadsworth’s amendment is accepted by the Conferees, Sabath may abandon his bill.

Congressman Dickstein who previously announced his intention to ask for a hearing on his bills, which would admit a larger number than Sabath’s supported Sabath’s request for a hearing on his bill in deference to the latter’s seniority on the Committee and to facilitate some favorable action to liberalize the law.

Louis Marshall expressed his appreciation of the vote taken in the Senate on the Wadsworth amendment when interviewed by the representative of the “Jewish Daily Bulltin.” Mr. Marshall stated: The adoption of the Wadsworth amendment, does not constitute a change in the immigration law, but represents an effort to humanize the effect of the immigration laws. It will make possible the uniting of husbands and wives and minor children and their parents, a measure which every human being will heartily welcome.”

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