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Pogrom Refugees Can Be Exempt from Literacy Test, Washington Rules

September 14, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Refugees can be exempt from the literacy test on the ground that they are flecing from re? persecution. This was the latest ruling of the Department of Labor, according to an announcement made yesterday by Max J. Kohlen prominent New York attorney, who with ? Warner Parker of Washington, acted as counsed for a Jewish woman and her three daughters coming from Russia.

Mrs. Szeywa Waidman and her three daughters arrived in the United States at the end of August 1922, having escaped from ? in the Ukraine at the end of 1920. where they had lived through the worst of the terrible Ukrainian parents in which ? ? were killed and ? wounded including twenty-five of Mrs. Wa### man’ relatives After six month temporary stay in Lember ? reached Warsaw and ? ? a year until 1922. pending visit of ? from and securing places under ?

On arriving at Bills Island, she excluded as an illiterate. and her children with her paticularly as the youngest was also fam. On appeal to the Secretary of Labor he directed a new test in both Hebrew and Yiddish and on the mother’s failing to pass these all were ordered, deported Habeas corpus proceedings followed, which the District Court decided against them but of appeal to the ? Court of American they were admitted into the U. S. on the ground that the te### had been improperty administered in ### and a new right of appeal to the Secretary demed The U. S. Suprany Court on the government’s appeal, held however, that while it agreed with the lower court as to the irregularities in procedure having taken place, this did not give these aliens a right of entrance, without an affirmative finding that they were eligible, but that the fundamental question was whether they were fugitives from religious persecution, before a literacy test was authorized, and it could not be inferred that this question had been decided against them, in the obsence of a finding to that effect on their claim of exemption.

The Secretary was directed by the Court to pass on that question and if his ruling was adverse, to decide as to a new test. Meantime Mrs. Waldman was subjected to a new test in her home in Providence, while the case was awaiting Supreme Court action, and it was announced that she had passed the test and deportation proceedings against them had been dropped, but the immigration authorities declared that this determination was reached merely because the Supreme Court decided to entertain the Government appeal, and that the Secretary had not adopted the new test. Judge Bondy sustained this claim. Mrs. Waldman declined to take a new literacy test, until the main question had been decided as to her exemption, and the Secretary has finally decided that she and her daughter were religious refugees, when they landed here, but the youngest daughter is required to give a bond against becoming a public charge and that she will continue her schooling until 16 years old.

The case is interesting not merely because of the extreme unwillingness of the immigration authorities to exempt aliens from the literacy test, but because the provision of the law was availed of, to introduce new evidence as to religious persecution to the Secretary of Labor direct, which was not before the Board of Special Inquiry. In the interim between the Ellis Island tests, and the one in Providence, new reading matter for testing was furnished, in consequence of a determination of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals that tests based on the use of difficult and unusual Biblical passages were illegal.

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