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Jewish Congressmen Oppose Quota Cut

February 7, 1923
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Congressmen Siegel and Sabbath, members of the House Immigration Committee, announced today they would file a minority report against the 1890 census clause in the House committee’s immigration bill which would restrict the number of immigrants from any country to two per cent of residents in the U.S. in the year 1890, as compared with the present 3 per cent quota of nationals according to the 1910 census.

Little credence is given to reports that the results of this measure would virtually halve the number entering at present, as one of the clauses of the measure provides that certain classes of relatives may obtain exemption from the quota restrictions. The bill provides for the admission of the wife, father, mother, unmaried minor children, unmaried minor brother or sister of a citizen of the U.S., also of the unmaried minor orphan, niece or nephew of a citizen of the U.S.. An immigrant who is the husband, wife or an unmaried child of an alien, who has been permanently admitted to this country would also be permitted to come in.

Exemption from the quota is also made in favor of skilled laborers of any class in which a shortage may exist in the United States. The Secretary of Labor is given discretion to determine if such a shortage exists. It is considered probable that needle workers will be included in the skilled labor class, although it is doubted if a large number will be admitted by the Labor Department. Ministers of religion, their wives and minor children are also exempt.

The number who may be able to take advantage of the exemption of relatives of citizens may bring the aggregate of immigrants admissible above the present 3% quota, but this is purely an estimate. The bill will be reported to the House within the next few days.

Objection was made by Congressman Siegel to the use of the year 1890 as the basis, on the ground that this would discriminate against immigrants from Russia, Poland and countries of Eastern Europe.

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