Washington (Jul. 1)
A strong plea for admission into the United States of a “reasonable number” of European refugees as visitors for the duration of the war was made in the House today by Rep. Emanuel Celler of New York.
Rep. Celler based his argument on an editorial published in the New York Post of June 21, which he read into the Congressional Record. The editorial, entitled “Can We Do Less?” pointed out that 40,000 Nazi and Fascist soldiers have been brought to this country as prisoners of war and are being well cared for here. It asked whether Hitler’s victims were not entitled to at least equal humanitarian consideration.
Supporting the Post’s proposal, Celler pointed out that without any change in immigration laws, it would be possible to bring a large number of refugees here temporarily and then moved to permanent homes that will be available for them in other countries after the war.
“Twenty-two nations have declared war on Germany,” said Celler. “High ranking nationals of all of them have issued pious protestations against Nazi massacres of Jews and other victims, but not one of those counties so far has said it would be willing to accept as refugees any of those trying to escape the Hitler prison and slaughter house. Goebbels says: ‘They won’t take any Jews, we don’t want them, let’s kill them.’ Without any change in our immigration statutes, we could receive, as visitors, a reasonable number of those who are fortunate enough to escape the Nazi hell-house. They could be placed in camps and cantonments and held there until after the war.”
Celler said he had definite knowledge that private charitable agencies and a number of wealthy individuals would, if necessary, defray all the costs of such a plan, including transportation, so that it would cost the government nothing. “We house and maintain Nazi prisoners, many of whom are undoubtedly responsible for Nazi atrocities. We should do no less for the victims of the rage of the Huns,” he added.
If refugees from neutral countries were brought here, he said, it would relieve the pressure there and permit those nations to accept other escaping refugees who now have no place to go, Celler pointed out. Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and British South Africa were among the possible permanent post-war havens for refugees if they were brought here now on a temporary basis, he said. Officials of all those countries have indicated willingness to accept refugees after the war, he declared, adding: “The hangman doesn’t wait. We should take them in now. Such action on our part would have an electrifying effect on the whole situation, and particularly on the underground movement in Nazi-dominated Europe.”