Senate Body Urged by Jewish Organizations to Liberalize Present Immigration Laws
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Senate Body Urged by Jewish Organizations to Liberalize Present Immigration Laws

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Spokesmen for the American Jewish Congress and the National Council of Jewish Woman today urged in testimony before a Senate immigration sub-committee the adoption of measures which would liberalize existing immigration legislation, permitting a larger number of displaced Jews to enter the Unite States.

Will Maslow, director of the A.J.C.’s Commission on Law and Social Action, urged that the national origins quota system be eliminated as a basis of the U.S. immigration laws. He labelled the national origins provision “undemocratic and contrary to American traditions” and “arbitrary and unjustifiable in operation.”

This formula for allocating immigration quotas to various nationalities was enacted in 1924 for the express purpose of favoring immigration from northern and western Europe while drastically limiting immigration from southern and eastern Europe, he said. “From the scientific point of view.” ho declared, “the doctrine of Nordic supremacy is sheer buncombe,” Maslow also disputed the theory that immigrants from northern and western Europe have been and are more “assailable” than those from the other sections of the Continent.

“Immigrants from southern and eastern Europe now have in fact a slightly lower rate of increase in their concentration in cities of 100,000 or more than those from northwestern Europe, and a considerably lower rats than the general population,” he said. “All evidence shows that new immigrants have been as willing to become naturalized citizens as any others.” Maslow suggested that all quota members legally available in any one year be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis with preference categories established for relatives of citizens and alien residents and for victims of racial, religious and political persecution.


A proposal that the present immigration quota system be made more “flexible” so that the legally admissible number of immigration can actually enter the United States, was made by Mrs. Esther Beckwith Kaunitz, a representative of the National Council of Jewish Women.

Mrs. Kaunitz urged that unused quotes of any country be carried over from one month to another within the same fiscal year, and that all unused quotas for any given year be pooled for the emergency needs of certain groups such as victims of racial and religious persecution.

A non-statutory Visa Review Board, to which appeals can be taken from unfavorable consular decisions, should be established, she recommended, to limit the present wide authority of the consul. “In helping to unite immigrant family groups, we have had considerable opportunity to observe the lack of uniformity in granting or denying visas and in constructing the requirements of the immigration law,” she said.

The Senate investigators were also told by the representative of the Council that all racial restrictions should be wiped out of U.S. immigration and naturalization laws. “Racially diversified immigration is not only sound economics, but absolutely imperative, if we are to demonstrate to other nations our sincerity in espousing the democratic form of government,” he said.

“Now is the crucial moment when we as a world force must show other nations that in a free society, all races and creeds can live in peace and can contribute to the material and spiritual strength of our country. We know that any totalitarian system with exclusion of so-called inferior races must necessarily destroy itself,” she declared.

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