CHICAGO (Oct. 12)
Twenty-three Chicago Jewish organizations, with a membership of 150,000, called for drastic amendment of the McCarran Immigration Act at hearings before the President’s Commission on Immigration and Naturalization held here this week-end. Similar requests were voiced at the hearings by representatives of Protestant and Catholic organizations.
Attorney Max Swiren, representing the 23 Jewish groups, testified in favor of revision of present immigration and naturalization laws which, he said, relegate “the naturalized citizen to a secondary position, whose exercise of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution would jeopardize his precious citizenship.”
Branding the immigration quota system as racist and undemocratic, Mr. Swiren said the primary concern in the admission of immigrants should be their worth and need, not their place of birth. On behalf of the organizations represented, he submitted a four-point program calling for:
1. Doubling of the annual number of visas for immigrants.
2. Establishing a national immigration policy board which would set criteria for the admission of immigrants in a particular year in accordance with national and world needs. Preference would be given to persons seeking asylum from racial, religious, or political persecution; persons seeking to join their families in the United States; and persons having special skills and training.
3. The right to administrative and judicial review of all decisions under our immigration and naturalization laws.
4. A revision of present deportation laws to prevent their use as a substitute for criminal proceedings. He urged that our criminal laws be relied upon to deal with infraction by alien and citizen alike.
Attorney H. William Ihrig, who specializes in immigration law, suggested at the hearings that President Truman grant full pardon and amnesty to all persons who violated the immigration laws prior to June, 1952, to protect them against retroactive provisions of the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act, which becomes effective Dec. 24. Mr. Ihrig said that the new law contained retroactive features which make it possible to denaturalize and deport citizens who had been guilty of some inadvertent or technical provision of the law in the distant past. He added that the President had authority under the Constitution to grant the pardons he suggested.