Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Truman May Veto “racist” Immigration Bill if It Passes Congress

April 25, 1952
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Passage by the House of the McCarran-Walter Omnibus Immigration Bill–described as “racist” by liberal groups and opposed by Jewish groups–was considered a certainty today as debate on the bill continued for the second day. However, highly-placed sources indicated that President Truman is determined to veto the measure should Congress adopt it. The vote will be taken in the House tomorrow.

While the House was debating the bill, 65 prominent Americans today joined in an appeal publicly condemning the McCarran-Walter Bill and voicing their support for the Humphrey-Lehman Bill which would provide for pooling of the more than 70,000 immigration visas which are wasted each year under the present law.

Emphasizing that “decisions made today may affect our country’s welfare and shape the destinies of countless human beings in the United States and abroad for generations to come,” the group assailed the McCarran and Walter proposals and charged that these bills would continue to waste 75,000 visas a year, would add new racial discriminations, and would provide many new and arbitrary bases for deporting immigrants.

On the other hand, according to the signers, “the Humphrey-Lehman Bill would keep flowing an invigorating stream of fresh talent, fervor and energy which has contributed so much to America’s greatness in the past, and would advance our efforts to inspire faith in democracy the world over.”


Under the McCarran-Walter Bill, new Americans or would-be immigrants who have been convicted by Nazi courts of violating Nazi laws would be automatically barred from the United States; American citizens may be deprived of citizenship, in certain cases, without trial; new grounds for denaturalization and deportation would be made retroactive to cover all immigrants who have hitherto been admitted to the United States.

Displaced Persons Commissioner Harry N. Bosenfield today issued a warning against the bill. “Don’t let’s have provisions which could result in the exclusion of victims of political, racial, or religious persecutions,” he said. He asked how it could be determined whether it is or is not an offense, “if a Jew failed to register under some Nazi rule.” Commissioner Rosenfield said that it is undesirable “to deport people who have been law-abiding residents for 50 years.”

After Commissioner Rosenfield issued this statement, Rep, Walter arose in the House and made a rabble-rousing attack on him as well as on the American Jewish Congress and others. Walter linked opposition to his bill with statements against it in a Communist periodical.

Recommended from JTA