Menu JTA Search

J.D.B. News Letter

Download PDF for this date

(By our Washington Correspondent)

A statement has been issued by the Republican National Committee headquarters here, explaining that Herbert Hoover’s announcement of opposition to the National Origins plan “does not contemplate any lifting of the present barriers” of immigration restriction.

The statement issued by the Committee declared:

“The intention of Herbert Hoover to apply common sense to immigration limitation by abolishing the ‘national origins’ provision of the existing act does not contemplate any lifting of the present barriers. It simply proposes the abolition of an unworkable plan which has never been put into effect because of its utter impracticability.

“Named as a member of the commission which was to have determined national quotas of immigrants under the act of 1924 on the ‘national origin’ basis, Mr. Hoover gave the prescribed method careful study and reached the conclusion that no accurate determination of proper and fair quotas was possible through its use. In this conclusion he has been sustained by the other members of the commission, Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and Secretary of Labor James J. Davis, and by the American Council of Learned Societies, which delegated two scientists to investigate the possibilities of the ‘national origins’ plan.

“As a result of the commission’s findings, the effective date of the new quota plan has twice been postponed for a year. Briefly, the idea of ‘national origin’ was to determine how many Americans trace their ancestry to each foreign nation, and to base quotas proportionately upon that determination. In other words, the commission was to ‘unscramble the melting pot’ and ascertain its ingredients, but it found the mould too firmly set. To trace the ancestry of every American is a practical impossibility, and Mr. Hoover does not hesitate to say so.

“He favors thee continuance of the present basis of determing quotas, which permits two percent of the number of foreign-born of each nationality who were in this country in 1890 to come in annually, with an amendment, supported by humanitarian considerations to overcome unnecessary hardships on families. Immigration experts believe the present quota basis is working very satisfactorily, and the majority of Americans take the same view.

“Great Britain and Northern Ireland would receive practically all the benefit if an effort were made to apply the ‘national origin’ clause. A survey of the tentative quota figures prepared by the cabinet commission shows that the ‘national origin’ basis would reduce Germany’s annual contribution of new-comers from 51,227 to 24,908: that of the Irish Free State from 28,567 to 17,427; Sweden’s from 9.561 to 3.399; Norway’s from 6,453 to 2,403; Denmark from 2,789 to 1.234; France’s from 3,954 to 3,308; Czecho-Slovakia’s from 3.073 to 2.726. The number permitted to come from Great Britain and Northern Ireland would jump from 34,007 to 65,894.

“The commission’s conclusions were based upon the lack of suitable data from which fair calculations might be made. Census figures prior to 1850 are inaccurate and not complete, so that guesswork would have to replace actual statistics in large measure to determine the quotas.

“Mr. Hoover’s ideas about the regulation of immigration are definite and clear. They stand out in strong contrast to the declaration in the Democratic platform on the question which is that ‘laws which limit immigration must be preserved in full force and effect.’ which presumably means that the ‘national origins’ provision shall not be changed.

“In addition to favoring repeal of the national origins provision, Mr. Hoover stated in his acceptance speech that he favors enactment of the necessary legislation to remove from the present immigration laws features which work hardships upon families, or cause them to be divided. Upon this point, he declared:

“We welcome our new immigrant citizens and their great contributions to our nation; we seek only to protect them equally with those already here. We shall amend the immigration laws to relieve unnecessary hardships upon families. As a member of the commission whose duty it is to determine the quota basis under the national origins law I have found it impossible to do so accurately and without hardship. The basis now in effect carries out the essential principle of the law and I favor the repeal of that part of the act calling for a new basis of quotas.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund