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Plan to “steam Roll” Immigration Bill Through This Session

March 2, 1923
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The Immigration situation took a highly unexpected turn today, with House and Senate leaders conferring over the possibility of “steam rolling” the new immigration bill through both Houses of Congress before their adjournment this week.

The sudden shift in the Congressional plans was brought about by pressure from quarters friendly to the near east refugees.

Chairman Johnson, following an executive session of the Immigration Committee announced that on Thursday or Friday he would demand a suspension of the rules for the immediate consideration of the bill. It is planned to push it through the Senate, following its passage in the House, which is taken for granted, by effecting a compromise with the Senate Armenian refugee bill which Johnson struck out by amendment when he introduced the House bill as a substitute.

Johnson’s hurried reversal of his plans was occasioned by the appearance before the immigration committee of Dr. Brody, representing the Near East Relief, Mr. and Mrs. Durea of Federated Churches of Christ, and Theodore Bartoli, representing Greek refugees of Asia Minor, all of whom joined in a fervent plea that Congress should not adjourn without providing for the refugees.

With adjournment for a period of nine months set for Sunday, prospects until today of any action by either House on the new immigration legislation was considered out of the question.

That Johnson will be able to push through his changed program of immediate action is by no means certain. Congressman Snell of New York, Chairman of the Rules Committee, admitted that serious consideration was being given to the proposal, but stated that in his opinion, it is extremely doubtful whether the program can be carried out in the few remaining days. No final decision has been reached, Johnson meanwhile is proceeding with preparations to carry out his plan.

The present tense situation is due principally to the alarming number of refugee arrivals in excess of the quota during the past few days. Monday morning, 515 cases were submitted to the Board of Inquiry. The same afternoon, the number assumed the proportions of seven hundred and eleven. To cap the climax, the Department of Labor today received a telegram that 2,137 of whom only a small number can come within the quota limits will arrive this week.

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