WASHINGTON (Nov. 6)
Lack of transportation, rather than inability to get visas, resulting in a bottleneck at Lisbon, was given today by Avra Warren, chief of the State Department’s Visa Division, as the reason for failure of thousands of refugees to gain admission to the United States.
Warren’s assertion was made in commenting on a JTA dispatch from Lisbon yesterday which reported that administrative action by the State Department had reversed America’s traditional immigration policy and had barred the United States to refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Warren also attributed part of the difficulties to the fact that the Visa Division had been expanded during the last few months from 25 to more than 300 persons, many of whom were untrained, thus resulting in “unavoidable delays.”
Refugee-aid circles here, however, took sharp issue with Warren’s explanation that a “transportation bottleneck” at Lisbon was largely responsible for the immigration difficulties, averring that there was sufficient transportation available but that the real trouble lay in the delay in handling the visa applications.
Warren said that since July 1 the State Department had issued 45,000 visas. He added, however, that of this number 3,881 were quota visas and 1,000 non-quota visas for European immigrants. The remainder of the 45,000 visas, it was pointed out, were issued to temporary visitors, officials, diplomats, Latin-Americans, Orientals and people from countries not under quota restrictions.
The visa chief denied that “family books” are required of prospective immigrants and that immigrants were having trouble getting visa renewals because of administrative delays.