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House Committee Hearing Approves Amelioration Legislation on Aliens

January 12, 1933
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Legislation to eliminate duplication of work within the Department of Labor in handling immigration and naturalization cases and to give status to aliens where there is no record of admissions for permanent residence prior to 1924 was endorsed at a hearing, yesterday, before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization.

The Committee had under consideration three bills introduced by Congressman Dickstein, chairman of the House Immigration Committee, which provides for the disposition of immigration cases of various categories not covered under existing law.

The first of these bills would amend the Immigration Act of 1924 to permit aliens eligible for citizenship who were admitted as non-immigrants and who desire to remain in the United States under a non-quota status to make application for adjustment of status without going to a foreign country to secure an immigrant visa. Aliens admitted temporarily into the country would not be subject to this provision, according to the Act.

The Committee was told that under present regulations aliens in this classification must obtain a visa from a foreign port in order to procure a non-quota status if they have become entitled to such status since their entry. Under Mr. Dickstein’s amendment, the alien could adjust his status before any immigration officer in the United States.

Chairman Dickstein told the Committee that this legislation has the support of both the Departments of State and Labor. Testimony in favor of the bill was presented by Edward J. Shaughnessy, Assistant Commissioner General of Immigration, Department of Labor.

Legislation to provide for the voluntary removal at Government expense of aliens in distress who wish to return to their native lands was also indorsed by Mr. Shaughnessy. This legislation would amend the Immigration Act of 1917 to provide for the relief of such aliens at any time within five years after entry instead of three years as provided in the 1917 Act.

A third bill providing for the registry of aliens at ports of entry who have no record of admission for permanent residence prior to 1924 was indorsed by Mr. Shaughnessy and Raymond F. Crist, Commissioner of Naturalization, Department of Labor.

Mr. Shaughnessy, while supporting the general purpose of this legislation, opposed those provisions of the bill which, he said, show two separate heads of bureaus deciding the same case. He pointed out that the registry of such aliens is to be granted under the bill “if such aliens shall make a satisfactory showing to the Commissioner of Naturalization, if the application is made for naturalization purposes, or the Commissioner General of Immigration in all other cases, in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Commissioner of Naturalization or the Commissioner General of Immigration.”

In urging passage of the bill, Commissioner Crist stated that about 35,000 applicants during the last two years could be identified by records on their claims of entrance into this country.

He declared that in investigating these cases, the Bureau of Naturalization makes entirely separate records which are not used by the Bureau of Immigration. “This is pure duplication of work,” he testified, adding that the Bureau offered to make its records available in 1929 to the Bureau of Immigration but that the request was refused and separate investigations were made by the latter Bureau.

He testified that there is no way under the existing law to handle cases of aliens who arrived between 1921 and 1924. Aliens who entered illegally since 1924 can be deported, he explained.

Chairman Dickstein announced at the conclusion of testimony that a sub-committee of the Committee will hold a hearing Jan. 19 to consider objections made by Mr. Shaughnessy and to adjust other features of the bills.

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