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Alfred E. Smith Urges U.S. to Admit German Refugees

November 17, 1933
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date
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Alfred E. Smith, in an article entitled “Can We Make Room for the Refugees?” in November’s Outlook, discusses our immigration laws and the necessity for allowing those Jews, Liberals and Socialists, who have suffered under the present German government, entry into our country. He writes:

“I am fully aware of the persuasive arguments for cutting down unrestricted immigration into this country. I have always suspected, however, that some of the more drastic provisions of our laws and some of the national quotas which were established were fixed on the basis of fantastic Aryan theories rather than American principles. The theory that only people of Protestant extraction from the north of Europe can absorb our ideals and understand the spirit of our institutions has suffered a rude shock since the World War. Recents events in Europe have blasted this theory along with a lot of others. In spite of these events, however, some of our patriotic societies continue to entertain strange notions of the exclusive uses which the Almighty intended that this continent, so long hidden from the rest of the world, should be put for the benefit of mankind.

“Whatever may be our ideas as to immigration, we have before us now a demand for asylum for a limited number of German refugees which we cannot ignore. Many of these Germans are people of superior education and great ability who, if intelligently distributed over the country, will be an invaluable asset to the communities in which they settle. It is not unlikely that among them will be found men like Carl Schurz, one of our most distinguished statesmen, and Dr. Abraham Jacobi, who was for so many years at the head of the American medical profession, both of whom were driven over here from Germany in 1848. It is to be assumed also that adequate funds will be provided by responsible groups and societies to insure that these people will not become public charges, and that they will be given a proper start in life here.

“The test of neighborliness is made in time of want and trouble. We must uphold our traditions and vindicate the principles on which this nation was established by making room here for our share of the refugees from Germany. We shall never regret it.”

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