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Congress Hearings on Easing of Immigration Postponed Indefinitely

Congressional hearings on a bill to speed immigration under the Refugee Relief Act have been indefinitely postponed as Congress approaches its summer recess. The Senate Judiciary Committee, for the last several weeks, has tried in vain to reach an agreement on amendments to the refugee act. But either failure to get a quorum or strong differences of opinion among the committee members have obstructed the committee’s efforts.

During the first session of the 84th Congress, extensive hearings were held on the controversial refugee program. Several Jewish organizations offered suggestions to liberalize the program. As a result of the hearings, a compromise measure was sent to the full committee without recommendations. The compromise measures were reportedly termed very limited.

A special House Immigration Subcommittee headed by Francis E. Walter this weekend urged the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration to put more emphasis on resettling remaining refugees in countries other than the United States. However, the subcommittee did recommend continued U.S. participation in the international program to resettle European refugees in new homes.

The program, which includes 26 other non-Communist nations, was established in 1951 for a three to five year period at the suggestion of the U.S. The cost is shared by all the participating nations. The subcommittee report said that the program’s plan for 1955 included a rather high estimate of 34,530 refugees expecting to come to the United States. That figure, the report noted, has now been reduced to 26,775 “but even that may prove to be too high.”

A speech by Archbishop Cushing advocating thorough revision of U.S. immigration policies to be made consistent with the “law of God” was called to the attention of Congress yesterday by Senator Herbert H. Lehman.

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