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Between the Lines

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The bill introduced in Congress last week calling for the issuance of labor permits to non-citizens in the United States, provides food for thought to Jewish organizations in America interested in naturalization problems.

There are thousands of Jews in America who have been living here for many years but who are still not American citizens. Many of them neglect to become naturalized for the simple reason that they find no time to apply for their naturalization papers. Others are not sufficiently aware of the importance of becoming naturalized.


All these persons will now be exposed to the danger of losing their jobs if a proper campaign is not started by Jewish organizations to enlighten them on the necessity of obtaining American citizenship to which they are entitled. Furthermore, they may face even more serious dangers than being deprived of the right to work.

So far there is no basis for fear that the bill demanding the ousting of non-citizens from employment will pass. The fact that such a bill has been introduced, however, indicates that it is high time for the proper Jewish institutions to see to it that every Jew in the United States should not neglect his right to become an American citizen.


There is no doubt that many liberal-minded Americans will support any restrictions which may be recommended against aliens as far as employment is concerned. Such restrictions exist now in practically every country of Europe. They exist against Americans in those countries. Why should America give employment to English, French, German and other citizens when these countries discriminate against the employment of Americans?

The demand to introduce labor permits for non-citizens in America, along the same lines as in every country in Europe, may therefore find more and more supporters in the United States, especially since its purpose is to decrease unemployment among American citizens.


One can easily imagine how seriously Italians, Poles, Germans, Greeks, Irish and others who have not yet become American citizens, will be affected, if restrictions in employment are introduced in the United States for non-citizens. These persons, however, have the alternative of returning to their homeland and enjoying full freedom in their native country. But such is not the case with the Jew.

The Jew in America who is not an American citizen cannot return to Poland because he is looked upon as an alien there even though he may still be a Polish citizen. He certainly cannot return to Germany. He would not find it possible to return to Russia. All East European countries from which the Jews emigrated to the United States are now practically closed to them.


The duty of the HIAS, the Naturalization Aid League, the Council of Jewish Women and other similar Jewish organizations, is therefore to start a nation-wide campaign among all the Jews in the United States to become citizens before any drastic measures against non-citizens are passed.

The B’nai B’rith at its last convention in Washington proclaimed the motto: Every Jew in the United States an American Citizen. This motto must be carried out. All forces must be mobilized to see that the Jews in America do not suffer from any anti-alien laws that may be issued.

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