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Celler Tells Hias Legal Steps Needed for Entry of Jews Permitted to Leave Russia

March 4, 1968
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Rep. Emanuel Celler, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called today for revision of the 1965 Immigration Act to make provision for the admission into this country of Jews and others leaving a Communist or Communist-dominated land. Mr. Celler told the 84th annual meeting of United Hias Service that “sooner or later” the time will come when the Soviet Union “rolls up its curtain to permit Jews to leave.” He said Congress should be prepared for such an emergency.

The New York Congressman told the meeting that elimination of the national origins quota system from the immigration law had been a victory that was “too late” for thousands of human lives. This, he insisted, “must not happen again.” He proposed that the Attorney-General be given discretion to “permit entry by parole, without reference to numbers, to those who leave a Communist or Communist-dominated country.”

He said that “I would not want to wait for the time when the crisis is upon us to begin consideration of such legislations. I want it done before so that we stand in readiness when the Soviet chains are removed.” Mr. Celler disclosed also that he was studying the possibility of introducing legislation providing for “new seed” immigration.

In a report on current migration problems. Carlos L. Israels, president of United Hias, noted that thousands of Jews still in Arab lands received technical and financial aid and said that “we pledge to provide whatever assistance is needed for their resettlement in Western countries.”

Gaynor I. Jacobson, the organization’s executive director, said there were 15,000 refugees from Arab countries in Italy and France, many of whom desired to emigrate to Western countries. In addition, he said, the agency will continue its aid program for migrants from North Africa, Eastern Europe and Cuba seeking reunion with their families in the free world.

The meeting adopted a resolution urging “full and complete implementation” of the statement by Premier Kosygin of the Soviet Union in December 1966 promising to permit the emigration of Jews from Russia for reunion with their families abroad. In another resolution, Congress was urged to restore the labor provision of the former Immigration and Nationality Law and provide equitable opportunities for all potential immigrants.

A replica of the Statue of Liberty was presented to Rep. Celler by Murray I. Gurfein, chairman of the United Hias executive committee, in recognition of his “devoted efforts to make our country a haven for the oppressed and persecuted.” A scroll was presented to Adolph Held by Edwin Rosenberg, chairman of the national council, in recognition of Mr. Held’s “dedication to the cause of Jewish refugees” in more than a half-century of service as a member of the United Hias Board.

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