WASHINGTON (Feb. 7)
Two separate but similar bills aimed at liberalizing United States immigration quotas were introduced in the Senate today.
One measure, introduced by Democratic Senator Philip Hart of Michigan with the bipartisan support of 30 other Senate members, would authorize the annual issuance of 250,000 visas distributed as follows: 50,000 for refugees or escapees regardless of quota restrictions; 120,000 to be allocated among countries on the basis of a proportion of immigration to the U.S. during the last 15 years; and 80,000 to be divided among countries in proportion to the size of their population. It would set a ceiling of 3,000 per country.
The other bill, introduced by Senator Claiborne Pell, Rhode Island Democrat, who was also one of the co-sponsors of the Hart Bill, contains virtually the same provisions with the exception that it would reduce to 40,000 the number of visas reserved for refugees without regard to national origin. The remaining 10,000 visas would be granted to persons with special skills critically needed by the United States.
The Rhode Island lawmaker said his bill was designed to correct what he termed “noxious barriers” to U. S. Immigration. He charged the present quota system is based on “prejudice rather than arithmetic.” In introducing his jointly sponsored bill, Senator Hart told his colleagues that the measure would make this country’s “permanent immigration policies more consistent with the demands of our present foreign policy requirements” and would erase “present national and racial discriminations from current U. S. immigration practices.”
The Administration is reportedly readying its own version of a liberalized immigration quota system which is expected to be presented shortly to Congress.