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United Hias Reviews Forty Years of Jewish Immigration to U.S.

September 29, 1965
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

United Hias Service, the Jewish migration agency which has been in the forefront of the successful efforts embodied in the new Immigration Act to eliminate the national origins quota system, issued a survey today, showing the facts relating to Jewish immigration into the United States since the now-discarded quota formula went into effect some 40 years ago.

Murray I. Gurfein, president, and James P. Rice, executive director of United Hias, reported that the massive influx of Jews into the United States, prior to the World War I era dropped to a mere trickle after passage of the McCarran-Walter Act in 1924, setting up the national origins quota system. The report showed that, from 1924 to 1933, only 128, 494 Jews immigrated to the United States, compared to the hundreds of thousands who came annually prior to the outbreak of the war in 1914. The lowest figure was recorded in 1933, when only 2, 372 Jews entered the United States.

A dramatic change occurred during the Hitler period. From 1933 to 1945, 174, 200 people were assisted by Jewish organizations to resettle in this country. Then, from 1946 to 1964, another period was marked, during which United Hias Service helped resettle 168, 200 Jews in this country.

United Hias Service was formed in 1954 by the consolidation of the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigration Aid Society, Which had been established in 1884; United Service for New Americans; and the overseas migration services of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Since the merger, to the end of 1964, United Hias Service has assisted more than 77, 500 migrants to find new homes. Of the total, 28, 600 immigrated to the United States, 10, 000 to Canada, 7, 400 to Australia, and 18, 200 to other destinations, primarily France and other Western European countries.


On a global scale, the United Hias leaders pointed out, the organization, responsible for world-wide Jewish migration and resettlement (except Israel), carries out its program through more than 350 Jewish welfare organizations and cooperating committees in North America, Brazil, Europe, Israel, Africa, Australia and the Far East.

The manner and speed with which Jewish immigrants into the United States become integrated was described by Mr. Gurfein and Mr. Rice from responses to inquiries to 57 U. S. Jewish communities in 27 states, and the District of Columbia. These responses showed that: Jewish immigrant families became self supporting, on the average, in four and a half months. It was estimated that 18 percent own their homes, 13 percent own their businesses, and 8 percent employ other persons in their enterprises.

Between 90 percent and 100 percent of the children of high school age attend high schools, while a substantial but undetermined proportion have gone on to higher educational institutions. More than 70 percent of the immigrants spoke “moderately fluent” English one year after their arrival. About 98 percent of those eligible for naturalization have become American citizens. Among the immigrants are a Nobel Prize winner (Dr. Konrad Bloch, of Harvard); a twice-decorated Korean war hero, who came to this country under former President Truman’s Displaced Persons directive of 1946, and many other outstanding scholars, physicians, surgeons and notables in various fields.


Mr. Gurfein and Mr. Rice said, “The rising trend in calls for migration assistance has continued into the year 1965, when United Hias estimates it will assist close to 60, 000 Jewish men, women and children of whom 11, 700 will be helped to resettle in the United States, France, Canada, Brazil, Australia and other countries of the free world. Other services to be provided in 1965 include aid to 3, 000 aliens in the United States in naturalization, adjustment of status and prevention of deportation and jeopardy; successful location of 1, 400 relatives throughout the world, and resettlement assistance in Latin America to 400 migrants who arrived in previous years.

“The United Hias budget for 1965 requires expenditures of $2, 504, 600. This was based upon a prospective assisted migration of 11, 700 persons. Thus, while assisted migrants would increase by 10 percent over the 1964 level, expenditures would decrease by 7 percent, because of stringent operating economics effected by the agency.”

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