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TO GRANT A QUOTA TO EASTERN HEMISPHERE INDIANS

AND TO MAKE THEM RACIALLY ELIGIBLE FOR NATURALIZATION

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 1945

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION,

Washington, D. C. The committee convened at 10 a. m., the Honorable Samuel Dickstein (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. This hearing is called on H. R. 173, the Celler bill; H. R. 1584, the Luce bill, a similar bill; and H. R. 2256, the Dirksen bill, which is also a similar bill. In view of the fact that Congressman Celler was the author of the first-named bill, I will call him as the first witness. Mr. Celler.

(The bills referred to follow:)

(H. R. 173, 79th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To authorize the naturalization and the admission into the United States under a quota of Eastern:

Hemisphere Indians of India and descendants of Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That so much of section 303 of the Nationality Act of 1940, as amended, or precedes the proviso is amended to read as follows:

SEC. 303. The right to become a naturalized citizen under the provisions of this Act shall extend only to white persons, persons of African nativity or descent, descendants of races indigenous to the Western Hemisphere, Chinese persons or persons of Chinese descent, and Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India or persons descended from Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India."

SEC. 2. With the exception of those coming under subsections (b), (d), (e), and (f) of section 4, Immigration Act of 1924 (43 Stat. 155; 144 Stat. 812; 45 Stat. 1009; 46 Stat. 854; 47 Stat. 656; 8 U. S. C. 204), all Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India or persons descended from Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India entering the United States annually as immigrants shall be allocated to the quota for Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India computed under the provisions of section 11 of the said Act. A preference up to 75 per centum of the quota shall be given to Indians born and resident in India or its dependencies.

Sec. 3. For the purposes of this Act, the term “Eastern Hemisphere Indian of India” shall mean a person who is as much as one-half of the Eastern Hemisphere Indian of India race and not as much as one-half of a race ineligible to citizenship,

(H. R. 1584, 79th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To authorize the naturalization and the admission into the United States under a quota of Eastern

Hemisphere Indians and descendants of Eastern Hemisphere Indians Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That so much of section 303 of the Nationality Act of 1940, as amended, or precedes the proviso is amended to read as follows:

“Sec. 303. The right to become a naturalized citizen under the provisions of this Act shall extend only to white persons, persons of African nativity or descent, descendants of races indigeous to the Western Hemisphere, Chinese persons or

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persons of Chinese descent, and Eastern Hemisphere Indians or persons descended from Eastern Hemisphere Indians.”

SEC. 2. With the exception of those coming under subsections (b), (d), (e), and (f) of section 4, Immigration Act of 1924 (43 Stat. 155; 144 Stat. 812; 45 Stat. 1009; 46 Stat. 854; 47 Stat. 656; 8 U. S. C. 204), all Eastern Hemisphere Indians or persons descended from Eastern Hemisphere Índians entering the United States annually as immigrants shall be allocated to the quota for India computed under the provisions of section 11 of the said Act. A preference up to 75 per centum of the quota shall be given to Indians born and resident in India or its dependencies.

SEC. 3. For the purposes of this Act, the term "Eastern Hemisphere Indian" shall mean a person who is as much as one-half of the Eastern Hemisphere Indian race and not as much as one-half of a race ineligible to citizenship,

(H, R. 2256, 79th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To authorize the naturalization and the admission into the United States under a quota of Eastern

Hemisphere Indians of India and descendants of Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That so much of section 303 of the Nationality “Act of 1940, as amended, or precedes the proviso is amended to read as follows:

"SEC. 303. The right to become a naturalized citizen under the provisions of this · Act shall extend only to white persons, persons of African nativity or descent, descendants of races indigeous to the Western Hemisphere, Chinese persons or persons of Chinese descent, and Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India or persons descended from Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India.”

SEC. 2. With the exception of those coming under subsections (b), (d), (e), and (f) of section 4, Immigration Act of 1924 (43 Stat. 155; 144 Stat. 812; 45 Stat. 1009; 46 Stat. 854; 47 Stat. 656; 8 U. S. C. 204), all Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India or persons descended from Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India entering the United States annually as immigrants shall be allocated to the quota for Eastern Hemisphere Indians of India computed under the provisions of section 11 of the said Act. A preference up to 75 per centum of the quota shall be given to Indians born and resident in India or its dependencies.

SEC. 3. For the purposes of this Act, the term "Eastern Hemisphere Indian of India” shall mean a person who is as much as one-half of the Eastern Hemisphere Indian of India race and not as much as one-half of a race ineligible to citizenship.

STATEMENT OF EMANUEL CELLER, A REPRESENTATIVE

IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK

Mr. CELLER. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I take this opportunity of expressing my gratitude for the opportunity to appear and present my views on H.R. 173, as well as the identical bill introduced by the gentle lady from Connecticut, Mrs. Luce.

The bills have for their purpose first the right to become naturalized citizens on the part of a national of what we know as India, and secondly, establish an immigration quota for the peoples of India. These bills follow generally the bill that was approved by your distinguished committee, and which was passed in the last Congress, which provided for the removal of the so-called Chinese exclusion provisions from the Immigration and Naturalization Acts. These bills, in a word, do for the native of India what you heretofore have done for the natives of China.

Slowly, but surely, we forge ahead to the realization that no man, no government, no people are islands entirely unto themselves; that inasmuch as what happens in one corner of the earth reverberates throughout all corners, or, to change the figure, like waves that wash one shore because stones had been cast into the waters from the opposite shore.

We in the West can no longer remain indifferent to what happens in the East, especially as the world shrinks daily in size. Our good President has stated:

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The United Nations are fighting to make a world in which tyranny and aggression cannot exist; a world based upon freedom, equality, and justice; a world in which all persons, regardless of race, color, or creed, may live in peace, honor, and dignity.

And in so saying, the President of the United States was delineating our war aims. That is a mighty large program. It means the liberation of oppressed peoples, as well as (and this I want to emphasize) the removal of discriminatory measures, not so thoroughly advertised, on the statute books of our own country.

Naturally, I have reference to the fact that for no reason save that of origin, Eastern Hemisphere Indians are precluded from entering the United States under immigration quotas such as are established for other peoples already embraced within the Immigration Act of 1924, and, moreover, are precluded from becoming naturalized citizens of these United States.

They were thus excluded from the family of nations that is the United States, although the nation that was excluded, to wit, India, has become one of the family of the Allied Nations in this war.

The Johnson Act of 1924 discriminated against people of eastern and southern Europe, but in its utter exclusion of nationals of Asiatic countries, anticipated Hitler's theory of Herrenvolk and Sklavenvolk.

Is not such an exclusion an echo of the totalitarian ideas we seek to crush today? I say this in all humility. From what Olympian heights do we point our finger and say: "You, Welshman, may become a part of us, and you, Italian, and you, Yugoslav, and you, Iraqi, but no, not you Indian.”

Under our discriminatory laws, it is possible for a gutter-snipe from Prussia, a disguised Fascist from Spain, to enter, but the late Rabindranath Tagore, a most distinguished philosopher of India, or Pandit Nehru, a very gentle and wise man, enjoy no such right.

No sound reason, in my humble estimation, exists for delaying the passage of my bill, setting up an immigration quota for the Indian peoples and according them the right of naturalization. It must be passed if the sincerity of our war aims is to pass the test, a test placed before us by every oppressed peoples on this earth who look toward these United States for justice and equality.

The Indian peoples have joined us on the battlefield. Two million Indians are fighting in the Army, Navy, and merchant marine of Great Britain. They are among the dead, wounded, and missing. . They are producing for war, farming for war, building for the war which is ours and theirs.

The Indian soldiers within the ranks of the so-called Chindits are performing heroically a gargantuan task. Chindit is a word which has sprung out of this war. It comes from the Burmese word meaning lion (chinthe) and the English word, bandit. Thus it actually means lion-hearted bandit. The term was applied to Wingate's jungle forces, which included many Indians as well as British and American fighters. They were known for their daring exploits.

Because of the courage and daring of the Chindits, of which a preponderating portion is found to be Indians, a whole belt of combat rings, all supplied by air, stretches more than halfway across Burma. Most main roads of Japanese retreat are already reported cut, and only jungle trails remain.

For a time, we on this side of the water were apprehensive, particularly since the success of the Japanese efforts might have imperiled

the activities of General Stilwell. But now the Japanese have been thrown back from Kohima and have been stopped in their effort to cut the Assam-Bengal railway.

The British themselves realized that the capture of the Manipur capital would have been a political feather in the cap of the Japanese and strengthened their propaganda in India. But now they have the Japanese on the run and the Indians in the rear of the Japanese are remorselessly hacking at their thin lines of supply.

India has contributed the largest volunteer army to the Allies— 2,000,000 men—all natives of India, fighting on many fronts. They continue to enlist at the rate of 70,000 a month. There is a veritable continuous cataract of volunteers.

There is a huge Indian air force of over 300,000 men. Almost 60,000 Indians man British merchant ships. Indians are performing brilliantly under General Montgomery in his great Eighth Army. They are excellent mountain fighters, and are now performing skillfully and bravely in Italy.

India produces and manufactures 80 percent of its own war equipment, uniforms, guns, tanks, howitzers, planes. It supplies much clothing for our own troops in the Indian theater, as well as considerable ordnance for the British troops in India and Burma. Indian troops and labor have built scores and scores of airfields, airfield runways, and strips for British and American planes.

If we are to follow the logical consequences of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, then, indisputably, the argument forces itself upon our consciousness that the people of India and their descendants are deserving of no less equal and equitable treatment.

But leaving aside the potent argument that from the Chinese have been removed the unconscionable stigma of "lesser breed," and leaving aside the equally unanswerable argument that the soldiers of India have bravely fought a common foe on the battle fronts of Burma, Italy, North Africa, and against the Japanese in southeastern Asia, a higher morality demands that we prove to ourselves and to our allies, all our allies, that our preachments of democracy are not empty tenets.

We cannot, on one hand, revile the Nazi theories of racial supremacy, and, on the other, ignore the sinister implication of our immigration legislation that bars one people and not another, restrictions based on no moral or ethical ground save that of man's origin.

I think the amendment that I seek, amending section 11 of the Immigration Act of 1924, as amended, will make permissible the admission of somewhat less than 100 Indians annually.

The hue and cry that might be raised in opposition to the proposed establishment of an immigration quota for Indians, and their right to citizenship, making much of the competitive labor argument and of the evils of widening immigration legislation, have, therefore, no validity, no foundation in fact, when we consider that only 100 may come in each year. It would take 100 years to admit 10,000. It would take 50 years to admit 5,000. Surely labor has naught to fear.

I am informed also that a very important segment of the labor group of this country, to wit, the C. I. 0., is unalterably in favor of this bill.

It is not a special privilege we accord the East Indians in establishing for them an immigration quota, nor is it an act of condescension from our favored heights. It would be, rather, the acknowledgment of our sincerity in our battle cries, a renewal in the faith of our founders.

India no longer the India of Marco Polo. Indians are no longer the Indians of Kipling's Barrack Room Ballads. India has emerged out of its ancient chrysalis. It has become quite modern and up to date. Indians in the main are not too unlike us; given our radios, automobiles, hydroelectric power, and our gadgets, they would become more similar. It is wrong to consider them all as something bizarre and curious.

The cities of India have tall buildings, and huge war plants, as well as minarets and mosques and temples. It is a land of extreme contrasts, with wealth and poverty, princes and peasants, cleanliness and squalor, side by side.

Many Indians are as modern-minded and up to date in mode and manner as any man in this room. Indians already here have become thoroughly Americanized and steeped in our traditions. Those who would subsequently come, under the permissible quota of 100, would, I am sure, strengthen and enrich, with ancient Indian culture, wisdom and philosophy, the amalgam of many races that we call America. They would become good Americans.

Moreover, and while this thought cannot take precedence over our American basic principles of equity and "justice for all,” the decisive, overt act of placing the Indians within the embrace of our immigration quota and citizenship laws, on the basis comparable to those of the other peoples, will rob the Axis of their most telling barbed weapon in the battle of psychological warfare. But were it a time of peace, we could do no less.

The people of India realize that Nippon is on Burmese soil, and Jap propaganda is riotously gloating over it. Until recently the Japs were on Indian soil. Except for raids by Afghan tribesmen, India for the first time since the Raj took over in 1858, had a foreign foe on its land.

Much was made of the fact that the so-called Indian National Army, formerly headed by the Quisling puppet, the late Subhas Chandra Bose, bad participated in this invasion of India. Jap radios still speak of their "army of liberation." There can be no blinking the fact that pro-Jap propaganda is adding fuel to the political fires of unrest in India.

Tokyo, Burma, and Malay radios hammer harder than ever at India. They shout: “Come over to our side. You have nothing to fear from the Japanese." They taunt the people of India with the gruesome assertion that according to Churchill the Atlantic Charter does not apply to them. Indians are reminded that the Allies promise them freedom from the Japs, but not freedom. They speak of the hypocrisy of the offer of freedom of the Cripps' mission, and highlight the caustic comment of Gandhi that the offer was like a "postdated check drawn upon a tottering bank."

Our breaking down of immigration and naturalization barriers may do much to dull the edge of this Jap propaganda against us and our Allies.

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