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obtained within the quotas for the issuance of visas to the parents of American citizens and to such relatives of aliens in the United States to whom it is also proposed to grant preference.
In the proposed amendment of section 4 (a) it is noted that there is not retained the requirement to the effect that the citizen petitioner, to obtain nonquota instead of preference status for his relative, must reside in the United States at the time of the filing of petition. With respect to this requirement this department has instru its consular officers, upon advice from the Department of Labor, that “the residence of the American citizen in this sense is taken to mean his actual domicile; therefore the fact that he is temporarily sojourning abroad does not affect his right to file a nonquota status on behalf of his relatives under section 9 of the act." It has already been mentioned that the number of cases in which an American citizen has only been able to obtain preference, instead of nonquota status, for his child or wife by reason of the fact that he is not resident in the United States is negligible. In some instances where the requirement might be applied it would appear that it would work an unnecessary hardship, as, for example, in the case of a citizen who is obliged to reside abroad as a representative of an American concern and who wishes to return to the United States with his alien wife. Moreover, with the cancellation of the requirement the only relatives of American citizens who remain to be cited as preferred applicants within the quotas will be the fathers and mothers.
With reference to the amendment of section 6 of the act, which the bill secondly proposes, by which preference status within the quotas will be accorded to the unmarried child under 21 years of age, the husband or the wife of an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, in addition to the parents of an American citizen 21 years of age or over and immigrants skilled in agriculture and their wives and dependent children under the ages of 18 years who may be granted preference up to 50 per cent of the quota, the proposal would appear to possess the following prominent features :
1. It would permit the entire quota, where there is need and so long as that need exists, to be used to reunite families, that is, for the issuance of visas to the parents of American citizens and the unmarried minor children, the wives, and the husbands of aliens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, in addition to such skilled agriculturists who may be able to establish their right also to preference but only within quotas of 300 or over.
2. It would not adversely affect the status of any parent of an American citizen or skilled agriculturist who may now be of record as a preferred applicant and awaiting his turn to receive a visa. It is also noted that it continues those classes of immigrants in the enjoyment of no less a degree of preference than they have hitherto enjoyed.
3. It would permit the issuance of visas to begin July 1, 1928, to the relatives mentioned of lawfully admitted aliens ahead of other nonpreferred immigrants with whom they may now be awaiting their turns to receive visas.
4. It would establish the principle that the immediate family of an alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence, previously or in the future, should be preferred, along with the parents of Americans citizens and skilled agriculturists, to other new immigrants.
As to the effect which the proposed amendment of section 6 may be expected to have upon immigration, it will, no doubt, be most apparent upon the quotas for the countries of southern and eastern Europe and the Near East, where the relatives of alien residents desiring to immigrate to the United States, it is apparently agreed, are most numerous, despite the difference of opinion as to their exact numbers. Immigration from those countries would accordingly for some time consist mainly or entirely of the parents of American citizens and the immediate families of lawfully admitted aliens, besides the skilled agriculturists and their families entitled to preference in quotas of 300 or over. The total of the quotas for those countries is 20,447. One-half of that would become available for the issuance of visas, exclusively, if necessary, to the immediate families of lawfully admitted aliens, plus such part of the other half as may not be used for parents of American citizens and skilled agriculturists. It may be mentioned here that preference relatives of American citizens now of record as awaiting visas are sufficient to exhaust the preference half of the quotas to which they are chargeable for more than two years in the case only of those born in Greece, Italy, Syria, and Turkey.
It would not seem that the effect indicated in the foregoing paragraph would be obtained in any very appreciable degree upon immigration generally from the countries of northern and western Europe since the quotas are larger, the de
mand for visas is not so great and consequently the families of lawfully admitted aliens have been able to obtain visas without undue delay. The total of the quotas for these countries is 140,899.
It is noted that the proposed amendment raises the age limit for dependent children of skilled agriculturists who may be accorded preference status with their parent, from 16 to 18 years. It is believer unlikely that this change would bring about any appreciable increase in the number of pref red immigrants.
As to the administration of the law as amended, it is not believed that any great difficulty would be experienced. The instructions to the consuls would direct them to invite, with the concurrence of the Department of Labor, the children and husbands of American citizens now awaiting visas as preferred applicants to present themselves immediately for examination for nonquota visas. The consuls would be further advised that the existing procedure still obtained with respect to the parents of American citizens and skilled agriculturists, except that the age limit of the children of the latter, also accorded preference status, had been raised to 18 years, such aliens receiving visas according to the date on which their right to preference status was established as at present. With regard to the immediate families of lawfully admitted aliens the consuls would simply be instructed to accord them preference status as provided, issuing them visas in chronological order as they may appear on the present waiting lists or as they may subsequently apply, the consuls to examine into the lawful admission of the alien relative in the United States, verifying, in doubtful cases, the fact of such lawful admission with the assistance of the immigration officials at the port at which the alien claims to have entered the United States. Such verification is undertaken at present in the case of an alien claiming nonquota status under section 4 (b) as an immigrant previously lawfully admitted to the United States, who is returning from a temporary visit abroad." It is observed in this connection that the proposed amendment does not require the petition procedure for such relatives and accordingly prompter action will be possible in their listing by the consuls as preferred applicants for visas. No change of any other provision of the law would seem to be necessary and no extra burden of work will be placed upon the Departments of Labor and State.
The granting of preference to the families of lawfully admitted aliens will obviously result in the postponement of the turns for consideration to receive visas of a number of other prospective immigrants who are of record and who have been waiting for some time, but it is, of course, the prerogative of the Congress to specify those classes of immigrants who may enter the United States within or outside numerical or other limitations, as it has already done in the immigration act of 1924.
I wish to take this occasion to state that since the quota year begins on July 1, in the interest of proper administration and of the aliens who may be affected, it would be desirable for this department to have notice as early as possible of any change of the law. I am, my dear Mr. Johnson, Sincerely yours,
FRANK B. KELLOGG, The CHAIRMAN. Is there anything further along that line?
Miss Wold. That is all, Mr. Chairman. We simply wish to register our stand as an organization for the same rights for women as men have.
Mr. DICKSTEIN. As a matter of fact, the position of your party is that you want the husband of an American citizen exempted completely and absolutely, with just the same exemption as is given under the present law to a male citizen?
Miss WOLD. That is it, Mr. Dickstein.
The CHAIRMAN. It is rather interesting to see members of the Women's Party, who had to work so hard to secure the same rights for women, now turn around and come back asking this for the men.
Miss Wold. We want to have the same rights for both.
STATEMENT OF MAX J. KOHLER, CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE
ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION OF THE AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE
Mr. KOHLER. My name is Max J. Kohler; address 25 West Fortythird Street, New York.
I am chairman of the committee on immigration and naturalization of the American Jewish Committee, of which Mr. Louis Marshall, who lately passed away, was president, and of which Dr. Cyrus Adler is now president.
Doctor Adler deeply regrets his inability to be here to-day, and I am acting on behalf of the committee; and I might say a word or two further about the personnel of our committee, so that the gentlemen will see who is on our executive committee.
The president is Doctor Adler, who is president of the Jewish Theological Seminary. One vice president is Julius Rosenwald, of Chicago, president of Sears, Roebuck & Co., the well-known philanthropist; another vice president is Judge Irving Lehman, of our New York Court of Appeals. Mr. Isaac M. Ullman, of New Haven, is treasurer, and Judge Horace Stern of Philadelphia is chairman of the executive committee. Judge Cardozo, the chief judge of New York, is another member of our executive committee; ex-Ambassador Elkus is another member, and Judge Eli Frank, of Baltimore, is another member. I am a member of the executive committee.
Herbert H. Lehman, Lieutenant Governor of New York, is also a member of our executive committee.
James Marshall, the son of Mr. Louis Marshall, is another member.
Mr. Ratshesky, of Boston, who has just been appointed Minister to Czecho-Slovakia, is another member.
Prof. Milton J. Rosenau, professor of Preventive Medicine at Harvard, is another member.
Mr. Félix Warburg of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., the philanthropist, is another member.
I need not take up more time in regard to the personnel. I might say, so far as I myself am concerned, that I have been deeply and actively interested in immigration questions since 1894, having been assistant United States district attorney in New York between 1894 and 1898; and since then I have had extensive experience in the courts, in the Supreme Court of the United States and other Federal courts, in immigration and naturalization matters. During late years, due to my active interest in immigrant aid work, my work in the courts has been done purely as a labor of love.
To take up the bills which are before you, gentlemen, I want to heartily approve H. R. 5645 in regard to holders of visas granted before July 1, 1924. I think the honor of our country is involved in recognizing those visas. It is an unprecedented thing that the holders of these visas, which were issued on the faith of the Government to persons who disposed of their property and made all of their arrangements to leave home, on the faith thereof; in short, burnt all their bridges behind them, should now find that, through some construction of a remedial measure like the act of 1924-because that is all its really was, in substance—should now find that the Government is not honoring the passports visaed by its representatives, perfectly valid when issued.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me ask you, do you remember about how many persons held visas or real passports or near passports at the time the act of 1924 went in?
Mr. KOHLER. I can not give you the figures. I am quite confident that the great bulk of them have already come over here under the later act of 1924. The number of those entitled to such preferential status is now very much smaller than it was originally.
The CHAIRMAN. We can save time by getting at that right now. My impression is that they were originally about 35,000. They are now about 1,800 ?
Mr. KOHLER. About 1,800 ?
Mr. DICKSTEIN. They are coming down now, because we are admitting wives and children this year.
The CHAIRMAN. That is exactly the point I want to bring out. That is to say, the State Department, by crowding the holders of those visas as far to the front as possible, has got it cleaned out down to 2,000; but certain preferences were made in the quota, and the State Department lost its opportunity as to visa holders.
Mr. KOHLER. The refunding of the money is a mere bagatelle.
Mr. KOHLER. I am telling you frankly that I have not the figures. You have those much better than I have.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. KOHLER. I do want to say, in regard to our past experience in matters of that kind, the principle of law and the principle of common sense and equity is, of course, that no statute, unless it is absolutely essential, should be construed to be retroactive, unless it is absolutely indispensable; and no certificate or passport ought to be invalidated when it was valid when issued. The principle has, of course, been repeatedly laid down. It never was better laid down than in an opinion by Chief Justice Marshall; and when we lawyers can invoke his authority, we are, of course, eager to do so.
Many years ago, in the case of Reynolds 'v. McArthur, in 2 Peters 417 at 434, Chief Justice Marshall speaking for the Supreme Court said:
It is a principle which has always been held sacred in the United States that laws by which human action is to be regulated, look forward, not backward ; and are never to be construed retrospectively unless the language of the act shall render such construction indispensable. No words are found in the act of 1818 which render this odious construction indispensable. It does not annul patents already issued
*. Patents which have been granted are not affected directly by the words of this law, and must depend on the preexisting act of Congress.
The CHAIRMAN. At this point I will have inserted in the record a letter dated January 25, from the State Department, addressed to Mr. Dickstein. (The letter referred to is here inserted in the record, as follows:)
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, January 25, 1930. Hon. SAMUEL DICKSTEIN,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. DICKSTEIN: Replying to your letter of January 17, 1930, it may be stated that it has been ascertained from reports received from American consular officers that approximately 15,000 visas were made invalid by the immigration act of 1924.
On the basis of reports submitted by certain consular officers in reply to telegraphic instructions sent by the department on December 6, 1928, it is estimated that there are now approximately 2,008 aliens in possession of passport visas issued during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1924, who have been unable to complete their journey to the United States on account of quota limitations. This estimate comprises 1,888 aliens chargeable to the Russian quota and 120 aliens chargeable to the Turkish quota.
The department understands that there is also a limited number of aliens in possession of passport visas issued during the fiscal year ended July 30, 1924, who have not chosen to reapply for immigration visas, although exact data in regard to such cases is not available.
Although I shall be unable to attend the hearing on January 27 on the immigration bills under your name, I desire to confirm Mr. Simmons's verbal assurance to you that he will be pleased to attend and testify if called upon. Sincerely yours,
WILBUR J. CARR. The CHAIRMAN. Proceed, Mr. Kohler.
Mr. Kohler. The same question came up several times, and practically the same question, under our Chinese exclusion laws. The exclusion law was passed in 1882. People who were here before that time had gone to China, in some cases on a visit, and they wanted to come back. In the meantime, the Chinese exclusion acts of 1882 and of 1884 were passed, which required all persons to have certificates in order to enter, and the Supreme Court said that those people who had left on the faith of the old law were, in spite of the language of the statute, entitled to come in without the certificates. That was the leading case, Chew Heong v. The United States, in 112 U. S. 536, and that was followed soon after in a case in 124 U. S. 621. Similarly, Chinese registration certificates were required under the act of 1882 and next year all Chinese laborers were required to secure a different certificate, containing their photo. graphs, but the court held in 110 Federal Reporter 154 that holders of the earlier certificate required no new one.
I will go further than that, and say that a very serious question of law arose as to whether the executive department's position that those old certificates were superseded was correct. It never was tested. There are no decisions in the courts on the question, but the visas ran out within a year.
Now, a number of those people did leave the foreign countries where they were, particularly Jews who left Poland and Russia, leaving horrible conditions at home, particularly conditions of unprecedented economic distress. A number of them are no longer in those countries of their original habitation, but are elsewhere, but they have the visa of this Government, and they ought to be allowed to enter under the visa as a matter of governmental honor.
The CHAIRMAN. Where are the principal numbers of them now?
Mr. KOHLER. I do not know. I believe there are some in Cuba, and there are some scattered in France, and all over the world, but few left in Russia. People were very glad of the opportunity of getting out of Russia. For instance, at present it is almost impossible to do it.
Possibly you gentlemen may not know that Russia's present attitude is, and her attitude for some time has been, to require a passport fee of $150 for each passport, and a person may not carry out more than $150 of property, altogether; so that it is practically