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Justice Department Denies It Has Ordered Deportation of 1,800 Stateless Refugees

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The Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice has denied published reports that it has ordered the deportation to Europe of 1,800 stateless refugees now in the United States. “On the contrary,” the Department said, “the Immigration and Naturalization Service is doing its utmost to carry out the humanitarian program of President Truman in the entry into the country and the handling of displaced persons.”

Calling attention to the Justice Department’s statement, Charles G. Ross, White House press secretary, said that the policy as outlined is entirely in accord with the President’s program on displaced persons.

A considerable number of aliens admitted to the United States as temporary visitors were stranded here at the outbreak of the war, the Department said, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service permitted “many thousands” to remain in the country as visitors, giving them the opportunity of securing visas as quota immigrants in nearby countries and re-entering the United States for permanent residence.

“A very large percentage of these are not political or religious refugees,” the statement said, “as this figure includes many persons who had come here for business or temporary visits and others such as deserting seamen.” They said 23,000 aliens have availed themselves of adjustment procedure since 1941.

The Department reviewed steps it has taken to alleviate hardships resulting from enforced departure of aliens temporarily here. With many cases closed by adjustment, according to the Department, a small number is left who, “because of the depletion of quota numbers available for nationals of their country or because of inability to meet other immigration requirements have been unable to obtain visas from American consuls in Canada or other nearby countries.

“With respect to others in this group, it has been directed that deportation should not be affected in cases of unusual merit, if removal proceedings are based upon a mere technical violation of law, until Feb. 15, in order that the incoming Congress may be made aware of the problem concerning this group and legislative corrective action taken with respect to them, if the Congress sees fit. Some of the persons whose cases fall into this category have been in this country for many years and have unblemished records.”

Circles interested in immigration policy raise several questions in connection with the Department’s statement, particularly what number of the aliens now in the country were given the right of pre-examination and of adjustment of status within the past six months. They also express interest in what has happened to those aliens not already deported; and point out that the statement does not deny previous reports that approximately 1,800 persons have received form letters from the Department informing them of the necessity of making other arrangements, since they were here temporarily.

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