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Mr. FISHER. Mr. Chairman, I thought most of them came from Italy.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. That is where they were picked up. They were refugees in Italy. The adults speak English. Some of them did not speak good, perfect English, but they spoke English. Am I correct?
Mr. FISHER. That is right.
Mr. Chairman, what do you think of my suggestion, if we are going to make a suggestion to the Immigration Service giving them jurisdiction to do it; first, see if it is not possible to return them to their homelands, and then, if that should not be found practicable and it was impossible to return them to their homelands, then they could take the other course?
Chairman DICKSTEIN. But this is recommending that they should be declared illegally in the country; the war is over and the condition was that right after the war they would be returned. They have been here now a month after the war is over and no move has been made to dispose of them. The Attorney General can then say that these people are illegally here, and then let them go and do all the worrying about it.
Mr. GOSSETT. If we are going to be exceedingly technical, the war is not over, particularly the war in Europe is not over. There has been no peace signed and there won't be for another year or two.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. Gentlemen, I am only asking this: Let them be declared illegal entrants and let the law take its course. Mr. FISHER. Mr. Chairman, don't you think any suggestion that
. we make should be that they should first explore the possibilities of returning them to their home countries, and if it be found impossible to do that, then bave the alternative. The State Department and the Immigration Service are in a far better position to know, and in a better position to find out whether they can successfully be sent home, and we do not have access to such information.
Mr. Dolliver. I do not see why Mr. Fisher's suggestion could not be adopted.
Mr. Mason. I do not, either.
Mr. DOLLIVER. That sort of puts it right back where it started. If they find it is impracticable, then there is the alternative suggestion.
Mr. Ellis. Mr. Dolliver, what is the state of the law?
Chairman DICKSTEIN. They are the ones who can give us the information.
Mr. COOLEY. The War Refugee Board has testified and General O'Dwyer has testified.
Mr. DOLLIVER. It seems Mr. Fisher's suggestion is a practicable one, insofar as this committee is concerned. I know that some of us, including myself, are somewhat embarrassed by this whole business, and if we can by some such action as this which has been suggested put it back where it belongs, and following that say that they should be declared illegal entrants, that would take care of the situation.
Mr. Mason. Mr. Chairman, I am ready to make a motion.
Mr. GOSSETT. Why not have a recommendation made by this committee, which has been there and has just returned, composed of Mr. Fisher, Mr. Doughton, Mr. Dolliver, and Mr. Stockman? Why
not let them have a brief session as a subcommittee and draw up a resolution and present it to the Department of Justice? Let them get together in a huddle and draw up such a resolution.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. Is it agreed, then, that if the War Relocation Authority will communicate with the Chair for the committee and state that it is impossible to place them anywhere, that it is not practicable to return them to their homelands, then the committee can go along on the question of the original plan to declare illegal entry into this country and let the law take its course? Am I correct in that?
Mr. Fisher. Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that is based on the analysis of the State Department.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. The State Department, with the advice of the Attorney General.
Then it is agreed in this event that the committee will ask that they be declared illegal entrants.
Mr. FISHER. They must be declared as illegal entrants and then it will be the responsibility of the Department of Justice and the Immigration Service and it will not be the responsibility of the Immigration Committee.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. That is right.
Mr. FISHER. After they are declared illegal entrants, then it is up to the Justice Department.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. That is right.
Mr. DOLLIVER. Mr. Shaughnessy and I have been discussing this and he has written down a resolution which I think perhaps contains your ideas as well as mine and the sentiment of the committee, and I will ask Mr. Shaughnessy to read it.
Mr. SHAUGHNESSY (reading):
It is the sense of this committee that these refugees are in the United States illegally and that the theory that they are not technically in the United States is erroneous.
It is further the sense of this committee that the Departments of State and Justice make an investigation to ascertain if it is practicable to carry out the promise of the late President to return these aliens to their homelands as expressed in his communication to Congress of June 12, 1944; and if it is found to be practicable, that they be returned at the first available opportunity.
If it is found that the return of these aliens at the present time is not practicable, then the Attorney General is requested to make disposition of them in accordance with the provisions of the existing law.
Mr. Mason. Would you suggest that as a motion?
Mr. FISHER. I think, Mr. Chairman, I would suggest we might very well incorporate a reference to the fact it is costing us considerable money and other details.
Mr. Mason. Do you mean to add that it is costing the Government $600,000 a year?
Mr. FISHER. In view of that, we feel that those steps can be taken, if it is practicable, to return them in accordance with the President's direction; and in the alternative, they be declared illegal entrants and the law as it now is take its course.
Mr. Mason. If that suggestion is incorporated in the motion, then you are ready to second it?
Mr. FISHER. Yes.
Mr. Ellis. I would like to ask a question. On whose decision do we rest as to the practicability of returning those people to their homelands?
Mr. MASON. On the Immigration Service?
Mr. COOLEY. It would be the joint opinion of the State and Justice Departments.
Mr. Ellis. That we accept that decision as to whether or not those people could be returned to their homelands?
Mr. Mason. That is as to the practicability of their being returned.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. Then it is moved and seconded that the resolution just read be favorably adopted?
Mr. DAUGHTON. We have had a suggestion that the subcommittee which was able to visit the scene offer some suggestions. What would be the objection to that?
Chairman DICKSTEIN. The subcommittee under the procedure of the House has made a report to the full committee and we are now reporting this back to the full committee. That is the procedure of all subcommittees.
Mr. SHAUGHNESSY. It would be about as I read it, but I would add Mr. Fisher's suggestion:
It is further the sense of this committee that the continued expense of $600,000 per annum in maintaining the camp at Oswego is inadvisable, unwarranted, and should be discontinued.
And then I would say:
If it is found that the return of these aliens to their homeland at the present time is not practicable, then the Attorney General is requested to declare these refugees illegally present in the country and to undertake deportation proceedings, and to make disposition of them in accordance with the provisions of the existing laws and regulations. Mr. Ellis. You say the expense is unjustifiable?
. Mr. SHAUGHNESSY. $600,000. No, I have no thought on this phase of the question—it has been brought out by different members of the committee.
Mr. Ellis. I do not think so. Mr. Dolliver did not say that.
Mr. FISHER. I think the subcommittee should meet and draft it and then the committee could pass on it.
Chairman DickSTEIN. I believe we have given all the facts. The subcommittee has reported to the full committee. We are now asking an expression of opinion. We are willing to hear anything further.
Mr. Mason. Will the subcommittee have that ready for this committee tomorrow?
Mr. DOLLIVER. Yes.
Mr. Mason. I think that is a very good idea. Let the subcommittee work over this and report back to the full committee.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. I would appreciate it very much if we could dispose of it now.
Mr. GOSSETT. Mr. Chairman, the thought I had in mind is that the resolution ought to be very carefully drawn so that the committee will be henceforth in the clear.
Mr. Mason. Are you willing to risk drafting that by the subcommittee?
Mr. DOLLIVER. Yes.
Mr. Mason. Then I move that the report made by this subcommittee contain a resolution directing the Department of Justice and the Department of State to take action, and that the resolution be approved by the full committee.
Mr. Ellis. I cannot agree to that.
Mr. GOSSETT. Mr. Ellis will not be satisfied with that. Why not have the subcommittee bring in a report.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. Suppose the subcommittee meet right now and decide this matter.
(Thereupon a 15-minute recess was taken.) (The hearing was resumed.)
Chairman DickSTEIN. Mr. Cooley will read the resolution that has been prepared by the subcommittee.
Mr. COOLEY (reading):
It is the sense of this committee that the refugees at the Port Ontario refugee shelter are in the United States illegally, that the theory that they are not technically in the United States is erroneous, and that no groups should be brought into the United States under these conditions in the future. It is further the sense of this committee that the Departments of State and Justice should make an investigation to ascertain whether it is practicable to carry out the undertaking of the late President to return these aliens to their homelands as expressed in his communication to the Congress of June 12, 1944; and if it is found to be practicable, that they be returned to their homelands at the first available opportunity.
It is further the sense of this committee that the continued expense of $600,000 per annum in maintaining the camp at Oswego is inadvisable, unwarranted, and should be discontinued. If it is found that the return of these aliens to their homelands at the present time is not practicable, then the Attorney General is requested to declare these refugees illegally present in the country and to undertake deportation proceedings and to make disposition of them in accordance with the provisions of the existing laws and regulations.
Mr. FISHER. I second the motion.
Chairman DICKSTEIN. All in favor of the resolution will signify their assent by saying "Aye”; those opposed "No." Carried.
The resolution will be favorably reported.
(NOTE.—Upon subsequent consent of the members present, the resolution was revised to eliminate the inconsistency between the first sentence in the resolution and the substance of the recommendation in the remainder of the first paragraph thereof. As revised, the resolution reads:
It is the sense of this committee that the Departments of State and Justice should make an investigation to ascertain whether it is practicable to carry out the undertaking of the late President to return these aliens to their homelands as expressed in his communication to the Congress of June 12, 1944; and if it is found to be practicable, that they be returned to their homelands at the first available opportunity.
İt is further the sense of this committee that the continued expense of $600,000 per annum in maintaining the camp at Oswego is inadvisable, unwarranted, and should be discontinued. If it is found that the return of these aliens to their homelands at the present time is not practicable, then the Attorney General is requested to declare these refugees illegally present in the country and to undertake deportation proceedings and make disposition of them in accordance with the provisions of existing laws and procedures.)
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
Philadelphia (2), July 6, 1945.
I. As you were advised telegraphically on July 4, 1945, the M/S Gripsholm will sail from the port of New York on August 3, 1945. In addition, you were instructed to secure custody of aliens intended for deportation with this party in whose cases notification of deportation has been withheld as a precaution against their absconding in sufficient time to give the Central Office ample time to act on their protests and to give the aliens themselves time in which to settle their personal affairs. You will be advised later as to the date the deportees should be delivered at New York.
II. A special Kline party will transfer deportees to Jersey City, New Jersey, from the Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Spokane, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, and Buffalo districts: Provided, That where it is not economical or efficient to join to the Kline party aliens originating in any of these districts special instructions should be requested from the Central Office. You will be furnished the itinerary of the Kline party in sufficient time to make the necessary plans.
III. Other districts than those named in the foregoing and the St. Albans and Boston districts should request advices of the Central Office at least 10 days in advance of the sailing date as to the manner of delivery of aliens for this movement to New York,
IV. FOREIGN FUNDS CONTROL RESTRICTIONS AS TO THE EXPORT OF MONEYS AND
The following is quoted from letter dated July 4, 1945, addressed to this Service by the Foreign Funds Control Division of the Treasury Department:
“This letter will serve to authorize, so far as Executive Order No. 8389, as amended, and General Ruling No. 5A are concerned, any national under your jurisdiction or control (except a German or Japanese national) being deported from the United States, to withdraw from financial institutions in the United States any and all funds held or deposited in the name of such national and to export on
(1) United States currency not exceeding $50;
(3) All foreign currency other than British pounds without limitation on the total amount;
(4) All travelers checks issued in the name of the person carrying them without limitation as to the total amount; and
(5) Any security which was issued in the United States after December 7, 1941, in the name of such national and which security is non-negotiable and non assignable. “The Bureau of Public Debt advises that arrangements have been made through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York whereby war bonds less than 60 days old may be encashed prior to the time that the deportees leave the port of New York. It is suggested that the Office of Immigration and Naturalization designate an officer in New York who may certify to the Federal Reserve Bank the deportees' request for payments. For further information in connection with the encashment of these bonds, it is suggested that you contact Mr. J. Wilson Jones, vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
"Prospective deportees should be cautioned that powers of attorney, contracts and other instructions of a transactional nature in which there is a blocked interest may not be exported unless accompanied or authorized by appropriate Treasury licenses. Unless the export of such papers can be effected under General License No. 89, applications for specific licenses should be directed to the Federal Reserve banks in the districts in which the deportees reside.
"The above authorization shall apply not only to the repatriation scheduled for August 3, 1945, but to all other deportations made under your supervision and control, except deportations to Germany or Japan. Copies of this letter will be sent to the Federal Reserve Banks, the Bureau of Customs, and the Department of State."