White House Parley on Aid to Refugees Opens; Discusses Immigration Laws
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White House Parley on Aid to Refugees Opens; Discusses Immigration Laws

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Legislative changes affecting immigration of refugees to the United States were discussed today at the opening session of the two-day conference in the White House, called by President Eisenhower in connection with U.S. participation in the World Refugee Year, which starts on July 1.

Charges that the present immigration laws discriminated against Jews, Italians and Poles were voiced yesterday by a number of U.S. Senators, at a hearing of the Immigration Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The charges were made by Senators Harrison Williams, New Jersey Democrat; Kenneth Keating, New York Republican; Hubert Humphrey, Minnesota Democrat; Jacob Javits, New York Republican; and Richard Neuberger, Oregon Democrat. All spoke in favor of changes of the immigration laws, and of relaxing of barriers to the entry of refugees to this country.

Addressing the White House conference today, Congressman Francis E. Walter, chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization, clearly indicated that he will oppose any amendments liberalizing the present immigration laws. The Pennsylvania Democrat, who is also the co-author of the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act, to which exception is now taken by other members of both houses of Congress, told the 106 prominent Americans of all faiths participating in the White House parley that he considers the pending legislative proposals for the liberalization of the immigration laws as “unrealistic.”

“What is the nature and the extent of the new immigrants’ contribution to our economy, to our scientific achievements, to our arts and literature, to our politics and to our rate of crime?” he asked. He claimed there is no answer to these questions, as no study has been made in the last 50 years on this subject. He urged the conference to take the initiative for scientific study of immigration’s impact upon all facets of life in the United States.


The conference, in which representatives of Jewish organizations are participating, was told by John W. Hanes, administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs in the State Department, that the United States Government favors construction of vocational training facilities for the Arab refugees to assist in their rehabilitation within the framework of World Refugee Year.

The U. S. also hopes, subject to approval by Congress, that it would be able to contribute to the Arab refugee program at the same high level as in the past, Mr. Hanes said.

In the past two and a half years, Mr. Hanes said, thousands of Jewish refugees have fled the Middle East, some 30,000 have arrived in Europe in the past few years, and about half of them have required and received aid, principally from Jewish welfare agencies. An estimated 5, 000 of them still require international assistance, he said.

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