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Jewish Groups Laud Johnson’s Proposals to Congress on Immigration

January 15, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The United Hias Service and other major Jewish organizations interested in immigration today issued statements lauding President Johnson’s message to Congress yesterday in which he urged a number of measures to relax the present immigration laws.

Murray I. Gurfein, president of United Hias Service, "wholeheartedly" endorsed President Johnson’s message to Congress as "demonstrating in unequivocable terms that the passage of a liberalized immigration law is in our national interest and is long overdue."

Mr. Gurfein said that a new law eliminating the discriminatory features of the present system would manifest to the world our nation of the skills of potential immigrants who have much to offer. Now is the time under the leadership of President Johnson and far-sighted members of Congress to redress a wrong that has existed for too many years."

James P. Rice, UHS executive director, attended a briefing session at the State Department in Washington today, together with representatives of the other major voluntary immigration agencies, called by Abba P. Schwartz, administrator of the Bureau of Security and Consular Affairs. Agency representatives were told that the Administration intends to make every effort to encourage the passage into law of the principles embodied in the President’s message. The support of the voluntary agencies was sought to inform and educate the public about the purposes of the proposed legislation.


The seven national Jewish organizations affiliated in the National Community Relations Advisory Council enthusiastically nailed President Johnson’s message in joint statement by the American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans, National Council of Jewish Women, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America and the United Synagogue of America. The statement was issued by the NCRAC–which includes also 74 Jewish councils in cities throughout the United States–and was made public by Albert E. Arent, of Washington, chairman of the NCRAC committee on immigration. The text reads:

"President Johnson’s proposals to Congress for long overdue changes in our antiquated and discriminatory national immigration policies are admirable and should be enacted into law without needless further delay. The President has stated eloquently in his message to Congress the need for elimination of the national origins quotas which for so many years have defaced our immigration policy and mocked our national protestations of equality of treatment without regard to race or nationality.

"The changes he proposed would make reality of the vision all of us have had of an American immigration system reflecting our finest traditions of democracy, humaneness and regard for individual character and ability and geared to our national needs. We commend the President most heartily on the breadth and cogency of his recommendations and equally on his call for priority consideration by the congress."

A telegram to President Johnson landing his immigration message to Congress was sent today by the Workmen’s Circle, largest Jewish fraternal organization. A similar telegram to the White House was sent also by Dr. Joachim Prinz, president of the American Jewish Congress, who described the President’s immigration proposals as "farseeing and far-reaching."

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