Administration Asks Congress to Ease Immigration; Submits Proposals

The Administration announced today that it had prepared a series of legislative amendments to the McCarran-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act and had transmitted them to the Vice President as presiding officer of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. The effect of the amendments would be generally to liberalize the immigration laws and ease the admission of refugees into the United States.

The proposals were drafted by the Department of Justice and transmitted today by Attorney General William P. Rogers. The major change proposed by the Attorney General was in the immigration quota system. The Administration proposals would base immigration quotas on the 1950 census instead of on the census of 1920 as under the existing law. This, it was estimated, would increase the annual quota total by approximately 65, 000.

The Administration also proposed a change in the system which would permit the unused quota numbers of one year to be used in the next year. It would also set up separate “quota pools” for Europe, Asia and the Pacific area and unused quota visas would be distributed to persons with preferred status–those having special skills or close relatives in the United States–without regard to their country of birth.

Another major proposal was an amendment which would permit the United States to take an active role in World Refugee Year by opening its gates to refugees. This amendment would empower the Attorney General to parole into the United States refugees from Communist-controlled countries who had fled to non-Communist areas. Under this provision, 10, 000 persons could be paroled yearly and, upon proclamation by the President of an extraordinary situation, up to 68, 000 could be admitted in one year.

Other amendments submitted by the Attorney General provided for revision of court review procedures in deportation cases; overhaul of the law covering naturalization of aliens in the armed forces and authorization of administrative relief in hardship cases. The amendments generally followed the lines of proposals discussed before the White House conference on refugees last week. The conference, in which representatives of all faiths in the United States participated, approved this program and called for its support.

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