the traditions of freedom in this country, and there are many who will
Senator Herbert H. Lehman (D-
N.Y.), in a statement before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Naturalization, November
22, 1955, said that the Walter-McCarran Act adopted most of the worst features of old laws and added new evils.
He stated, further, that the Act isolated the country rather than protected it, for it could be taken for granted
'hat those subversives who were determined to enter the United States
*ouItl be resourceful enough to enter
through either Mexico or Canada.3
On the other hand those who would
"' desirable citizens are prevented
bom entering the country.
Opponents of the Walter-McCarran
Af-'t claim that citizenship by naturalization can be too easily taken away
bom the "side-door" citizen; he can be
toreed to forfeit it for any one of a
lumber of reasons. Therefore, the dis-
t'rietion is too great between native-
^>rn and naturalized citizens.
A false premise of the Walter-McCarran Act is that all immigrants are
Potential Communists and subversives
unti] proved otherwise. This, of
°°urse, is in contradiction to the long-
established tradition in this country
^at one is innocent of wrongdoing
""til proved guilty.
Proponents of the Walter-McCarran
^ct have another argument against
"y "new look" in liberality, immigra-
"Ori-wise; they hold that increased
""migration would threaten the econ-
?ty of the country by affecting wages
the native-born. Opponents of the
j*et state that this argument has no
as's in fact, because if it did, labor
rRanizations would not favor a lib-
al immigration policy, which most
0f them do.
'hose persons who favor a more lib-
. a' immigration policy claim that if
./""igration ever begins to endanger
e American economy, the shut-off
°uld be practically automatic. When
. jobs are available, immigrants
j, ^er do not come or do not stay.
"ring the depression of the 1930s
0re immigrants left this countrv than
anle into it.
a Another thing to bear in mind is
q,"1' many American citizens, because
(, Carriage or other reasons, leave the
?'ted States each year ancl move to
°PPonents of the Walter-McCarran
Act is archaic and in need of a facelifting. Even those who favor the Act
are agreed, for the most part, that
some changes might prove beneficial.
The Act contains provisions which
burden international transportation
companies. Designed primarily to protect citizens from dangerous aliens,
under certain conditions the law imposes fines and penalties on steamship
lines and airlines. For example, if an
alien misrepresents his eligibility to
enter the country and is admitted temporarily, the carrier is made responsible. It must pay for many expenses,
say it is no great secret that the
Senator Herbert H. Lehman (D-N.Y.1, above,
stated that the Walter-McCarran Act has isolated this country rather than protected it.
in addition to the return fare of the
alien. And this applies, even il an
alien has been given permission to
enter the country by the State Department, already has his visa, and has
been approved by the Immigration
Service. Still, the carrier can be fined
as much as $1,000 for bringing him.4
The carrier must, in addition, furnish office space and facilities for the
Immigration Service, even though the
Service is performing a public function.
Under the present law foreigners
who come to this country for temporary visits are required to meet the
same tests as those coming as permanent immigrants. This, of course,
necessitates considerable work. The
President, in a state of the Union message, recommended that temporary
visitors be subjected to modified requirements.9
'84 CongreMiono! Record (1936), p. 1412.
■ihiil . p. 1299.
Acfs Forum News, August, 1956
President Eisenhower's opposition
to the Act is one of long standing.
Holding that the Act is discriminatory,
he has asked that the number of persons allowed to come into this country
each year be based on the 1950 rather
than the 1920 census. Also, he favors
a flexibility of quotas, so that if anv
one country does not utilize its quota,
another may be able to do so. For example, unused quotas for Great Britain, Austria, or Germany might be
apportioned to Italy or Greece.6
President Eisenhower stated that
the United States has always welcomed immigrants to its shores. In his
message the President said:
Experience in the postwar world demonstrates that the present national-origins
method of admitting aliens needs to be reexamined, and a new system adopted
which will admit aliens within allowable
numbers according to new guidelines and
Representative Torbert H. Mac-
Donald (D-Mass.) remarked that the
immigration laws needed thorough re-
vision, that the time had come to stop
shadow-boxing on such a vital issue.
He held that it was in the best interests of the country for the Walter-
McCarran Act to be abolished and replaced by one without national or
The present law states, in actuality,
that an Englishman or a German i.s
welcome in this country, but that a
Greek, Italian, etc., is not. This, naturally, is an un-American concept
This is judging a man by his nationality rather than by his individual
worth." Communists have pounced on
this like a hungry dog on a bone,
using it as propaganda against America. For this law says, in effect, that
for biological reasons all immigrants
are "equal," but that some are more
equal than others. In other words
some can enter the United States only
if they are from an "approved" country. This, opponents of the Act claim,
is reminiscent of Hitlerism. America
has always represented multiple cultures. It is this plurality which lends
color and variety to the great national
If America is to remain the bright
and shining symbol of freedom, justice, and equality, if it is to avoid the
patina of bigotry and suspicion, it necessarily follows that unfair and
archaic laws must be amended. Terror-stricken inhabitants, shrouded in
(Continued on page 54)
•Ibid., p. A7S1.
■11,1,1 . p. 1998.
>lbid., p. A751.
""America's Racist Intminralion Law," the San
Froncfeco Cull-llullitin. January 16, 1956.