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Bill to Prevent Admission of Interned Refugees is Opposed in Washington

August 1, 1941
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Opposition to the bill introduced by Representative Allen of Louisiana, to deny admission into the United States to any alien who has been interned in a foreign country by a nation at war unless “one year has elapsed following the alien’s release” was strengthened here today when the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America announced that it was joining the organizations which are fighting this bill.

Simultaneously the minority report, which was submitted to the House by members of the Immigration Committee opposing this bill, was made public here today. It emphasizes that the bill, if passed, “would pass adverse, judgment on hundreds of thousands of refugees who have suffered more than anyone else from Nazism and were forced to flee from their native land because of the brutality of the German Gestapo.”

Pointing out that they are “heartily in accord with the majority views that no aliens should be permitted to come into the United States who are undesirable,” the majority report declares that the Allen Bill “fails to discriminate between aliens who have been interned for good and sufficient reason and those whose only offense may have been their courageous, outstanding opposition to Nazism.” The latter had to flee from Germany and many of them were in transit through England when the war broke out. As enemy aliens they were transported to Australia, New Zealand, and about 2,500 to Canada, where they were interned and placed in concentration camps, and therefore fall under the category of aliens who would be affected by the Allen Bill.

In enumerating the reasons for its opposition to the bill, the minority report states:

“(1) The bill is unnecessary because we understand the Secretary of State has already ordered our American consuls everywhere not to issue visas to any alien who in the judgment of the consul might be detrimental to the safety or welfare of this nation at the present time. Under present law, the Secretary of State has the power in his discretion to issue such an order.

“(2) The bill is so sweeping in its present form that it covers all internees who for religious or political reasons have fought against the doctrine of nazism or communism and, as a result of their expressed opposition to these doctrines that me all despise, have been placed in concentration camps in Germany, Russia, France, Poland, Greece, Belgium, Holland, Norway, and elsewhere. To illustrate, if this bill were to become law, it would make the heroic Pastor Nizmceller the godly here of all Protestants and Catholics alike, ineligible for admission.”

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