WASHINGTON (Jun. 18)
The House today adopted by a voice vote the joint Senate-House compromise bill on displaced persons’ immigration to the United States, which is considered highly unfavorable to Jewish DP’s.
The bill was approved last night by a conference of 12 Senators and Representatives, four of whom refused to affix their signatures to the measure. Two of the eight who voted for it declared that they did so “reluctantly.” A motion to recommit the bill to further study was defeated today in the House by a vote of 266 to 133.
Rep. Emanuel Celler, who introduced the motion, told the House: The bill lacks an ounce of humanity. It is not a compromise but an abasement. It is completely unworkable, unfair and discriminatory. It is a bill for Voldsdeutsche, not displaced persons.”
The measure, which now goes to the Senate for perfunctory approval, before it is sent to the White House to be signed into law, stipulates that of the 200,000 displaced persons to be admitted to the United States within the next two years, 40 percent should originate in Eastern Poland and the Baltic countries, while 30 percent of the total should be farmers. It also excludes from eligibility all persons who entered DP camps after Dec. 22, 1945–effectively cutting off thousands of Polish and other Jews from Eastern Europe from classifications as admissible refugee immigrants, since the exodus of these Jews to Western Europe, following the outbreak of pogroms, began after that date.
The measure also provides for the immigration of 3,000 displaced orphans and 2,000 Czech political refugees above the 200,000 figure. The 15,000 displaced persons now in the U.S. on temporary visas and permitted to remain in this country as permanent immigrants under the terms of the measure.
Congressman Caller’s bitter attack on the bill brought on an apologetic reply from Rep. Frank Fellows, sponsor of the original House bill, which to the United States. “The compromise bill is not satisfactory, “he said,” it is much more restrictive than the one we passed bore, but it is the best solution we can get and better than nothing. It is this or nothing.”