FDR And Jewish Immigration


Mik Moore (“Our Enemies Wear Hoods, Not Hoodies,” Opinion, May 24) states that “the Immigration Act of 1924 ended the wave of Jewish immigration to the United States, sealing their fate in the smokestacks of Hitler’s Europe.”

Although the immigration laws enacted in the 1920s severely restricted the admission of foreigners — and were weighted to reduce immigrants from Eastern and southern Europe in particular — President Franklin D. Roosevelt took a bad system and made it much worse.

The quotas for immigrants from Germany and, later, from Axis-occupied countries, were filled in only one of Roosevelt’s 12 years in office. In most of those years, the quotas were less than 25 percent full. A total of 190,000 quota places that could have saved Jewish lives were never used, because the Roosevelt administration created countless bureaucratic obstacles intended to discourage and disqualify Jewish refugee applicants.

Director The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies Washington, D.C.