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Eisenhower Asks Congress to Revise Present Immigration Laws

President Eisenhower renewed his appeal for revision of immigration laws today in his State of the Union address.

The President recalled that two years ago he advised Congress of “injustices” under the McCarran Walter Act. Today he restated his contention that certain provisions of the immigration law “have the effect of compelling action in respect to aliens which are inequitable in some instances and discriminatory in others.”

“Two years ago,” the President said, “I advised the Congress of injustices under existing immigration laws. Through humane administration, the Department of Justice is doing what it legally can to alleviate hardships. Clearance of aliens before arrival has been initiated, and except for criminal offenders, the imprisonment of aliens awaiting admission or deportation has been stopped.

“Certain provisions of law, however, have the effect of compelling action in respect to aliens which are inequitable in some instances and discriminatory in others. These provisions should be corrected in this session of the Congress,” President Eisenhower stressed.

(Rep. Francis E. Walter, co-author of the McCarran-Walter Act, today introduced a bill to revise the “unworkable, ill-conceived and half-baked” provisions of President Eisenhower’s Emergency Refugee Act of 1953. Rep. Walter said that although 209,000 refugees could be admitted under this Act, only 13,056 have come in during the last 18 months owing to mal-administration. The bill introduced today, he said, would remove the “unworkable” restrictions in the 1953 law.)

The President avoided mention of the Israel-Arab situation, but referred generally to the current Near Eastern picture. He said: “Recent agreements between Turkey and Pakistan have laid a foundation for increased strength in the Middle East. With our understanding support, Egypt and Britain, Yugoslavia and Italy, Britain and Iran have resolved dangerous differences. The security of the Mediterranean has been enhanced by an alliance among Greece, Turkey and Yugoslavia.”

On the foreign aid question, the President said:” We must facilitate the flow of capital and continue technical assistance, both directly and through the United Nations, to less developed countries to strengthen their independence and raise their living standards.”