WASHINGTON (Feb. 1)
The elimination of provisions from the Displaced Persons Act which President Truman last year called anti-Semitic was today recommended in the Displaced Persons Commission’s first report to Congress. The report also stated that 3,415 visas had been made available to DP’s during the first six months of operation of the DP Act, although 50,000 or more visas were theoretically available.
The Commission explained the discrepancy between the actual figure and the possible figure as due to “growing pains” such as inadequate staff, insufficient working space, and the difficulty of putting an entirely new concept into practice. Greater problems, however, it said, were the administrative requirements of the Act itself ?rtich establishes a 40 percent priority for displaced persons from “de facto annexed ####,” a 30 percent priority for “agriculturalists,” and sets the eligibility date at Dec. 22, 1945.
To resolve such problems the Commission recommended to Congress that these requirements be eliminated and that the date be changed to April 21, 1947 when the ###ps were closed to further entrance of displaced persons. It proposed substituting it provision that the selection of displaced persons be carried out without discrimination to race, religion or national origin.
Instead of requiring assurances of specific Jots and housing facilities for theDP’3, it suggested only the requirement of assurances of “reasonable and suitable resettlement opportunities.” The assurances against becoming a public charge should be sufficient to meet the requirements of all immigration laws relating thereto, the commission advocated.
It recommended the complete abolition of the system of charging entrants against future quotas and asked that the priority for displaced persons living in I.B.O. camps be eliminated.
WANTS 400,000 DP’S ADMITTED; RECOMMENDS LOANS TO VOLUNTARY AGENCIES
The program should be extended to a four-year program, the report proposed, and 400,000 should be admitted during that period. In addition, a revolving fund should be established for loans to recognized voluntary agencies to meet the expenses of reception and transportation of Immigrants from the ports of entry.
The Commission also asked for Inclusion in the law of a provision that would ### from entry “anyone who advocated or assisted in persecutions of others fop race, religion, or national origin.” Finally, it urged Congress to transfer to the regular immigration statutes the provision in the Displaced Persons law that would permit the entry of ethnic Germans.
these changes are already embodied in legislation before the Senate in a bill squatted by Democratic Senators J. Howard McGrath of Rhode Island and Matthew M. Neely of West Virginia. In their report the commissioners too singled out for particular criticism the current date of Dec, 22, 1945. “Information provided by the International Refugee Organization indicates that roughly an estimated 130,000 to 135,000 persons appear ineligible because of the date limitation,” it said. If the date were changed to April 21, 1947, as recommended, 95,000 DP’s out of an approximate total of 610,000 would immediately “become eligible for admission. Of the 95,000 78,000 sere are Jewish and a majority of the rest are Catholic.
EMPHASIZES EFFECT OF DISCRIMINATORY PROVISIONS ON JEWISH IMMIGRATION
The report went on to point out that the date, which discriminates particularly against Jewish DP’s, had had a much more serious effect along this line several months ago when the act was under consideration. “Most Jewish displaced persons left in the interim for other countries, principally Israel,” it pointed out.
The report also attacked the priority extended to Baits on the grounds that quite apart from the very serious administrative blocks it creates, it also “grants an unwarranted discriminatory advantage to certain groups because of national origin and therefore conflicts with the humanitarian objectives of the Act.”
The requirement that 30 percent of the visas be issued to agriculturalists was also attacked on the basis that it too would bar from entry great numbers of otherwise eligible DP’s. “A rigid conformity with the 30 percent provision in the absence of sufficient suitable assurances might well wreck the program,” the report stressed.
Citing facts and figures the Commission said that, up to December 31, 1948, assurances had been validated for 27,667 families, making available housing accommodations for between 55,000 and 63,000 persons. Of the 3,415 visas issued thus far, it vas pointed out. 36 percent (1,228) were issued to persons from de facto annexed areas and 16 percent (560) to “agriculturalists.” This was considerably under the 40 percent and the 30 percent respectively required for these two categories. Actually, only 2,499 persons have entered the country under the Act during the first six months of operation.
Resettlement of those who have entered has been fairly widely diffused, the report said. The DP’s so far have gone to 34 states, the District of Columbia and Alaska, Seventy percent went to large cities, 20 percent to smaller urban areas, and 10 percent to rural areas.