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American Refugee-aid Groups in Plea to Lisbon Consulate on Refugee Entry Curb

The American Consulate today virtually suspended issuance of immigration visas to refugees and notified those to whom visas have already been accorded but not yet issued to present themselves for reconsideration of their cases under the new order barring admission of those having relatives in Germany and occupied territories.

About 1,000 refugees in Lisbon alone are hit by the order and face arrest for remaining in Portugal beyond the permitted transit period. In addition, a number of refugees who have already received visas whose validity expires before transport becomes available will fall under the new order when they have to apply for visa extension.

An undetermined number, estimated at several thousand, who are in unoccupied France are also affected by the new measure.

A delegation of American refugee-aid organizations called on U.S. Consul-General Wiley this morning to discuss the situation. They were told each case would be considered on its merits and the consulate is now formulating the procedure applicants must follow.

For the present refugees are required to prove they do not have relatives in occupied territories, which is virtually a physical impossibility. The suggestion was made by the delegation that the consulate accept affidavits from the American sponsors of the refugees, but pointed out that this would also involve delays which would have the result of jailing of refugees here.

The delegation is expected to have a further meeting at the consulate this weekend. Meanwhile, it is arranging inter-organization parleys to discuss the whole situation.

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