Labor Department Offers New Plan for U.S. Immigration Policy
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Labor Department Offers New Plan for U.S. Immigration Policy

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Restriction to Continue but on Different Basis in Proposed Codification of Immigration Laws; Wives and Minor Children, Husbands of American Women to be Admitted; Residence of Illegal Entrants Before 1924 to be Legalized (Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Secretary of Labor Davis will recommend to Congress an entirely new quota basis for limiting immigration to the United States, different from either the present 1890 Census basis or the proposed National Origins plan, according to a statement issued by the Secretary yesterday, in which he also announced additional important proposed recommendations. Secretary Davis is still at work on the proposed new plan, which will be embodied as one of the features of a consolidated code of immigration laws, not yet completed by the Department of Labor.

Relief to separated families by alleviation of the present quota restrictions regarding the wives and minor children of aliens admitted prior to July 1, 1924, who were then married and legalization of the residence of aliens who entered unlawfully prior to said date provided they can meet the physical, literacy and other general requirements of the immigration laws, except the quota restrictions, were among the important proposed recommendations indicated by the Secretary. It is significant, however, that the Secretary fails to declare for an absolute exemption from the quota of the separated relatives, merely stating that “Congress should consider the necessity for special relief” of such aliens without specifying the precise character of the relief. The Secretary also links his proposed legalization recommendation with his old plan of enrollment of aliens under the direction of the Naturalization Service.

Among the recommendations made by Secretary Davis are the following:


“That alien husbands of American citizens, who are now accorded only a preference in the issuance of immigration visas, shall be classed as exempt from quota requirements, which status is now accorded to the alien wives of American citizens.

“That the unmarried alien children of United States citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 be accorded the status of non-quota immigrants, as in the case of children under 18 years of age, instead of being granted only a preference in the issuance of immigration visas, as at present. In other words, that all un-married children of American citizens who are minors be accorded a non-quota status.

“That the provision under which alien students are regarded as nonquota immigrants under Section 4 (e) of the Act of 1924, be transferred to Section 3 of that Act, thereby giving them the status of non-immigrants, which is the status of all other classes of aliens who are admitted for a temporary stay only. It is also recommended that provision be made for admitting students under bond where deemed necessary, no sucn provision being included in the present status.


“He calls attention to the fact that during the past few years there have been large numbers of quota aliens admitted who are members of families of aliens previously residing in the United States, and also that in the meantime many of those who could petition for their families have become citizens and have thereby secured nonquota status, and are admissible for that reason.

“He also pointed out that as this only affects families of aliens who arrived prior to the present quota act that it will only be a very short time before every alien who would bring his family under special consideration could become an American citizen and thereby secure a nonquota status. He does not believe, however, that a desire other than an honest one to become a citizen should impel an alien to become naturalized.

“A wish for citizenship should come from the heart and should be grounded upon desire to take part in our Government, and not upon a hope of receiving a particular benefit under a single law.

“Relief at this time would only mean that some of such alien families could be reunited possibly a year earlier than they could otherwise.

“That the preference in the issuance of quota visas now accorded to persons skilled in agriculture be granted only on petition of responsible parties in the United States who are seeking to bring in skilled farm labor or to establish aliens as independent farmers in this country, such petitions to be approved by the Secretary of Labor s now provided in the case of relatives of United States citizens who are also accorded a preferential quota status under the Act of 1924.

“That preference in the issuance of immigration visas be extended to include skilled labor in cases where importation of such labor is authorized under a waiver of the contract labor provisions of the general immigration law, and also to members of a learned profession, such preference to be granted on petition of prospective employers in the United States in the manner now prescribed for relatives of United States citizens who are already accorded a preferential status. In such cases it will have to be shown that labor of like kind cannot be found unemployed in the United States.

“That a non-quota status be accorded to aliens born in the United States or in territory belonging thereto who have lost their United States citizenship.”

Speaking along general lines, Secretary Davis states also that he would recommend that the Secretary of Labor be empowered to legalize the residence in the United States of aliens who entered prior to the present quota law under a temporary status or concerning whose entry no record is available, provided that such aliens now meet the requirements of the immigration laws, except the provisions of the Immigration Act of 1924 which relate to quota limitation.

The vast majority of aliens who arrived prior to the present quota law are not deportable on any ground, and it is believed that the anamolous situation thus created-they are privileged to stay, but cannot become citizens- is against the interest of the Government, as well as the individual alien.

As the basis for this action he recommends enrollment of aliens under direction of the Naturalization Service. This would facilitate naturalization procedure for aliens entitled to citizenship and would also assist in preventing the successful surreptitious entry of other aliens in the future.

The Secretary also stated that the recommendations which he is making are for improvements in existing laws and that the Department has now under consideration the preparation of suggested new legislation in the form of a permanent code. He expressed the opinion that the immigration laws were in such condition as to require a codification, and also stated that he had submitted to Congress a draft of a code of all existing legislation concerning aliens, but that the draft does not contain the new principles upon which the Department is now working.

When asked about what he thought of the National Origin provision of the law which was delayed in being put into effect by Congressional action in the last Congress, he stated that in the new treatment of the limitation of immigration which he is considering, there would be a revision of the quota so that the objections to both the census basis and the National Origin method of computation would be removed.

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