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United Hias Director Testifies in Washington on Immigrants’ Needs

August 11, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A recommendation that potential immigrants to the United States from Eastern European countries be given an opportunity “to pursue their immigration without the need to seek a job in advance in the U.S. and without the need of a complicated labor certificate,” was made here today at a Senate subcommittee hearing.

The recommendation was voiced by Gaynor I. Jacobson, executive director of the United Hias Service, who testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Refugees and Escapees. “These persons desire to come here to join relatives or to live in a free and democratic society. Certainly they are not coming to the U.S. to compete with American labor nor to lower American working standards,” he said.

Mr. Jacobson commended the U.S. Department of Labor for “amending its regulations and procedures to alleviate many of the hardships,” caused by labor certification provisions in the new law. “However, the fact remains that one section of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as presently written, does prevent many persons who are now in Eastern European countries from obtaining visas,” he said.

The United Hias director recommended to the subcommittee, headed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D. Mass.) that the section of the immigration law dealing with labor certification be restored to its original version which “gave the Secretary of Labor sufficient authority to protect American standards of labor.” He also recommended that: 1. The United States should finally become a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees; 2. The 1966 United Nations Day dedication to the cause of refugees be endorsed and proclaimed by our Government; and 3. The experience and know how of all voluntary and public agencies be better utilized in carrying out refugee programs.

Mr. Jacobson concluded his testimony by commending the subcommittee “for its deep interest and sympathetic understanding of the plight of migrants and refugees who look to the U.S. and other countries of the free world for an opportunity to begin new lives as free men.” He also spoke warmly of the cooperation and support given United Hias by the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, United States Escapee Program and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He urged the Government to restore the reduction in U.S. Government allocations to these agencies.

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