Former President Truman said that
the national-origins system "breathes
prejudice" against the foreign born,
and that it shows racial and religious
Others label the Act as hysterical
legislation which was rushed through
Congress; also, that the Act is both
reactionary, Fascist, and racist.1 They
claim, further, that passage of the Act
marked a new high in American bigotry and narrowmindedness. They
charge that never before were there
so many barriers to immigration, and
that never before were so many reasons given as grounds for deportation
of many Americans who were foreign
Senators Lehman, Humphrey,
Morse, Kefauver, Moody, Benton, and
Douglas led a fight against the original bill, ancl they were able to force
acceptance of 21 amendments before
the bill passed through the Senate by
a vote of 44 to 28.
The objections to the Walter-McCarran Act are many. For one thing,
a foreign-born American can have his
citizenship taken away and he deported if it is proved that he once belonged to a subversive movement, no
matter if he is a perfectly good American at present. Moreover, the Act
puts native-horn Americans abroad in
danger of loss of citizenship without
so much as a hearing.
The Act expands the powers of immigration officials, consuls, and the
attorney general. The opinions of
these people are basis enough for exclusion or deportation, without benefit
of a judicial review.
Under the Act political and religious refugees may be deported, and
the Act reduces further immigration
of such people.
Additionally, the Act is responsible
for many obstacles to international
travel for citizens and non-citizens
A large number of organizations
have, from the beginning, opposed the
Walter-McCarran Act. and have carried on a running fight to have it
repealed. Many such organizations are
religious or racial groups, together
with most of the merged CIO-AFL
Opponents of the Walter-McCarran
Act claim that the national-origins svs-
tem, as an immigration policy, has
been responsible for much resentment
against the United States in foreign
'"Corralling the Trojan Horse Called Immigration," Don Bell Reports (bulletin). May 18, 1956.
Former President Truman, who said that the
national-origins quota system "breathes prejudice
against the foreign born, and is the embodiment
of racial and religious discriminations."
countries. Also, they state that such a
policy refutes the oft-heard cry of
equality of opportunity for all peoples
in America, regardless of race, creed,
To many the Walter-McCarran Act
represents a philosophy of fear and
distrust of foreigners abroad and
aliens within. So long as this situation
exists, America cannot in truth be regarded as a haven for the oppressed.
Furthermore, as things stand now,
many potentially valuable immigrants
are prevented from ever reaching flic
shores of America. So, in the thinking
of many Americans, the Walter-McCarran Act is a monument to the inconsistency between words and deeds.
Most proponents of the Act justify
their positions on the basis of national
security. The Act, in short, makes it
difficult for foreigners to enter America, and makes it easy to deport those
who have entered. Also, these proponents spend a great deal of their
time discrediting opponents of the
present immigration policy, charging
them as being dupes of the Communists.
If the above is true, many persons
of prominence must be so labeled.
Opponents of the Act claim that it is
a familiar method of attack to label as
Communists, Socialists or leftists those
who do not agree with the policies of
any given side.
Departing from the political aspects
for a time, and considering only the
historical, it must be remembered that
America was settled by refugees in
the beginning, by persecuted people
and by those who wanted to start a
fresh life in a new land. They wanted
religious and political freedom.
As the trickle from abroad became
a steady stream, there came the English, Germans, French, Irish, Jews,
Czechs, Italians, Greeks, Poles, and
Serbs — potential Americans all. These
people helped populate a country
which has become the wealthiest
most productive nation in the world-
Immigrants have been responsible
for many accomplishments. The building of transcontinental railroads in the
nineteenth century was accomplished
only through the help of Chinese and
Irish immigrants. Farms were cut out
of the wilderness by Scandinavian an''
German immigrants. And great caster'1
factories are presently being run 9,
large part by immigrants and their
children — representing many races.
During times of war immigrants
have always been in the thick of tin'
fight with our armies. And not one
have they contributed muscle and
bravery, but brain-power as well. l'nl"
migrants have made names for then1'
selves in all fields of endeavor."
Taking the above into consider11'
tion, would it not be acceptable, aS
well as humanitarian, to welcome today those people who are fleeing froO1
tyrrany in their native countries? Th*
is not to say that everyone should '"
welcomed with open arms, for thefl
are those who would like to destrO!
the American system of government"
murderers, thieves, and subversive*
Immigrants should be both limit1'1'
and screened, of course. But on tnf
other hand it would seem that tH
system should not preclude entraiie
into this country of those men of gi"'
intellectual stature, or those men *"**
are exceptionally gifted — scientist*'
musicians, educators, artists, OT
For example, where would Ainc'1''
be today if it were not for those scic"
tists who fled from persecution ■',
home and came to America, son"' ■
them ultimately to assist in produd
the nuclear weapons which helpy,
this country to win World War '
What would have happened if ol',
enemies in that war had posse**1,
these skilled men and, as a matter
course, the nuclear weapons?
It has been said that some pr"\
sions of the present immigration P"
icy are more closely related to i-'°"
nuinistie philosophies than they are
""Should Basic Chanees He Made in U. S. ""J!,, .
gration Policy?" Congressional linnet (J811
19S6), i>. 24.
Facts Forum News, August,
ed it, f
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