Menu JTA Search

Dies Alien Bill is Assailed in House Report

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

A bitter attack against repressive alien legislation, Mrs. O’Day warned #ive Caroline O’Day of New York, in a minority report filed against the Dies bill which is designed to provide for the exclusion and expulsion of alien Fascists, Nazis and Communists.

Opposing enactment of anti-alien legislation, Mrs. O’Day warned Congress that legislation of this type will bring the United States nearer to Fascism. She pointed out that “There are now pending a great variety of repressive measures, ranging from a bill which would prevent any alien from holding a job to bills which would imprison any of our citizens advocating doctrines not shared by the majority.

“If all this mass of bills should be enacted there would be no appreciable difference between this country and the countries of the Communists and Fascists against whom the (Dies) bill is aimed,” Mrs. O’Day cautioned the legislators. “It will not do to say that because Communists and Fascists in their own lands have blotted out all civil liberty, we must oppose them by adopting the same methods. To ### reason is obviously to reason in a circle. Moreover, it may be noted that measure of this character have represented one of the early steps in the growth of all forms of Fascism in Europe.”

REVIVAL OF OLD LAWS

Addressing herself specifically against the Dies bill, Mrs. O’Day said, “This bill is objectionable primarily because it is merely a new manifestation of the type of repressive legislation which has always proved a tragic failure in this country. It is a new form of the Alien Act of 1798 which raised so great a storm of protest from the country, led by Jefferson and Marshall, that it was never enforced.”

Mrs. O’Day warned Congress that enactment of the Dies bill “would lead to the imposition of a new system of espionage over our aliens similar to that which was in effect during and after the World War with notoriously sterile results.”

The Dies bill, the Representative from New York said, “is founded upon the fallacy that ideas and beliefs may be effectively changed or suppressed by legislation. Another fallacy which contributes to its proposal is that we can cure or substantially help our economic difficulties by getting rid of aliens who compete for jobs with our own citizens.”

Mrs. O’Day termed the Dies bill “a part of a regrettable movement, sponsored by certain sections of the press and certain organizations. Neither the Department of Labor nor the Department of State nor any other branch of the administration has asked for this bill, Mrs. O’Day reported. Conservative public opinion of the country is apparently opposed to this type of legislation, she said.

“The country has learned by bitter experience that laws repressing ideas and opinions have always merely helped to drive underground such ideas and opinions, to intensify and publicize them, and to embitter and make martyrs of their proponents,” she added.

Mrs. O’Day is a member of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. The Dies bill which she opposes, has been reported favorably to the House by the committee.

NEXT STORY