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Jews in Italy Hit by New U.S. Immigration Regulations

July 18, 1941
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

With immigration to the United States practically suspended as a result of the State Department’s recent restrictions, Jewish refugees in Italy, as well as native Jews, find little hope of escape from Europe before the end of the war. There is still a slight trickle of migration to Argentine and Brazil, particularly among converted Jews, but the number of refugees fortunate enough to obtain visas for these countries is so small as to be insignificant.

The decision of the United States Government that the admission of immigrants who left close relatives behind in certain “unfriendly” countries and territories occupied by them would constitute a peril to United States interests because of possible intimidations, has brought with it a great many disillusionments and personal catastrophes among refugees and native Jews. Actually, it is ascertained that the intimidation of relatives of emigrants has not been practised in Italy. The general opinion is that there is little likelihood of such a practise being inaugurated in this country.

The immigration restrictions came most painfully to a considerable group who had already succeeded in overcoming the severe consular requirements of financial guarantees and paid for ship reservations to the United States. They were due to receive their visas on July 1st, which is the first day of the new quota year. Not only did they not receive their visas now, but they will lose their ship passage by default. They remain without clothing, as baggage is usually sent ahead to Lisbon by train while the immigrant proceeds by plane. To comply with the financial guarantees required by the Consulate, all those who possessed foreign funds, deposited the sums in United States banks under the form of irrevocable trust funds. If they are unable to reach the United States, these trust funds will remain frozen for the duration of the war. Several hundred refugees in Italy are believed effected in this manner.

Since the Italian racial laws came into effect in September 1938, approximately 4500 immigration visas have been issued in Italy to Italian Jews. This is considerably below the Italian quota limit of 5000 yearly. About 5500 immigration visas have been issued to foreign Jewish refugees in Italy during the same period.

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