Immigration Policy

February 6, 1957

Report Outline
Congress and Immigration Law Revision
Evolution of U.S. Immigration Controls
Proposals for Revision of Quota System

Congress and Immigration Law Revision

Need to Regularize Entry of Hungarian Refugees

united states immigration policy, thrown into sharp focus by the Hungarian refugee problem, faces thoroughgoing public and legislative scrutiny in the months ahead. President Eisenhower asked Congress, Jan. 31, for emergency legislation to deal with the refugee question. The President also renewed last year's recommendations for revision of certain provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which embodies the nation's basic policy on admission of aliens. Other more far-reaching changes in that law have been proposed by certain members of Congress.

Better known as the McCarran-Walter Act—after its coauthors, the late Sen. Pat McCarran (D-Nev.) and Rep. Francis E. Walter (D-Pa.)—the basic immigration law has been a subject of continuing controversy since Congress put-it on the statute books over President Truman's veto in June 1952. Criticism has centered on allegedly discriminatory provisions of the 300-page omnibus measure. In 1953 and 1955 President Eisenhower requested Congress to revise the law, and in 1956 he asked for several specific amendments without success. The 1956 Democratic platform called for prompt action “to eliminate unfair provisions,” while the Republican platform pledged support of “needed modifications” recommended by the President.

Defenders of the 1952 law as it stands are led by Rep. Walter, chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee handling immigration matters, and Sen. James O. Eastland (D-Miss.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both are in position to exercise strong influence over the fate of administration bills and other measures to amend the act.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Feb. 24, 2017  Immigrants and the Economy
Sep. 02, 2016  U.S.-Mexico Relations
Oct. 23, 2015  Immigrant Detention
Sep. 27, 2013  Border Security
Mar. 09, 2012  Immigration Conflict
Dec. 2010  Europe's Immigration Turmoil
Sep. 19, 2008  America's Border Fence
Feb. 01, 2008  Immigration Debate Updated
May 04, 2007  Real ID
May 06, 2005  Illegal Immigration
Jul. 14, 2000  Debate Over Immigration
Jan. 24, 1997  The New Immigrants
Feb. 03, 1995  Cracking Down on Immigration
Sep. 24, 1993  Immigration Reform
Apr. 24, 1992  Illegal Immigration
Jun. 13, 1986  Immigration
Dec. 10, 1976  Illegal Immigration
Dec. 13, 1974  The New Immigration
Feb. 12, 1964  Immigration Policy Revision
Feb. 06, 1957  Immigration Policy
Nov. 27, 1951  Emigration from Europe
Feb. 09, 1945  Immigration to Palestine
Sep. 30, 1940  Forced Migrations
Apr. 18, 1939  Immigration and Deportation
Jul. 27, 1931  Deportation of Aliens
Mar. 12, 1929  The National-Origin Immigration Plan
Aug. 19, 1927  Immigration from Canada and Latin America
Nov. 01, 1926  Quota Control and the National Origin System
Jul. 12, 1924  Immigration and its Relation to Political and Economic Theories and Party Affiliation
Immigration and Naturalization
Outsourcing and Immigration