Unired States World War II Refugee Policy: Resettlement in America (1945-50)

American refugee policy resettlement
Figure 1.--Europe was awash with displaced persons, many of which could not go home. They bincluded both Jews and persons from countrues where Stalin instituted Communist police state dictatorships. President Truman authorized 40,000 emergency entry visas (1945). It took Congress 4 years to pass the Displaced Persons Act (1948). Eventually 341,000 visas were authorized. The Act assigned a preference to DPs from areas occupied by the Red Army and annexed by the Soviet Union (the Baltic republics and eastern Poland). A peference was also given to agriculturalists. Both these provisions worked against Jewish refugees. Special provisions were made for orphans. The caption read, "Here are three generations of displaced persons. Mrs. Adele Kalnins is the grandmother. Mrs. Venta Rambis is the mother. The children (from left) are Janis, Maia and Valda." The photograph is dated June 11, 1950. They are farming in Washington state. Their nationality is not indicated, but the names sound Latvian to us.

The United States began a series of actions to address the needs of these people. President Harry Truman issued an emergency directive ordering U.S. consulates to give first preference in immigration to displaced persons (December 22, 1945). No particular ethnic group was specified or excluded. The President ordered that 'visas should be distributed fairly among persons of all faiths, creeds, and nationalities.' Some 40,000 of these emergency visas were issued, about 28,000 went to Jews. President Truman understood that this was only a temporary emergency measure. Immigration was a matter that required Congressional action. And Congress takes time to do virtually anything. A major change in immigration law proved controversial. The horrors of the Holocaust had diluted, but not eradicated anti-Semitism. The original proposal submitted by the Administration of 400,000 visas for to displaced persons was rejected. Finally Congress after exhaustive study and debate passed the Displaced Persons Act--DPA (1948). This superseded President Trumanís emergency 1945 directive. The Act assigned a preference to DPs from areas occupied by the Red Army and annexed by the Soviet Union (the Baltic republics and eastern Poland). A peference was also given to agriculturalists. Both these provisions worked against Jewish refugees. The NAZI killers had been especially sucessful in Eastern Europe. And few Jews were farmers. (Dating back to th Medieval era, Jews were not allowed to own land.) Coingress approved 202,000 visas to be issued for 2 years without regard to existing national immigration quotas, but charged to the appropriate country quotas in subsequent years. Some 3,000 non-quota visas were authorized for DP orphans. Granted the Attorney General the authority with Congresional approval to adjust the status of up to 15,000 DPs who entered the country prior to April 1, 1948. Presudent Truman objected to many of the Congerssional changes in the DOA but signed the measure into law. He believed that it was better than no law at all. He and Congressional allies fought for changes. As a result, the DPA was amended (June 16, 1950). Another 121,000 visas wre authorized, bringing the total to 341,000, valid through June 1951. The number of orphan visas was increased to 5,000 but within the 341,000 total. The provision of the 1948 Act adjusting the status of previously admitted DPs was extended to those who had entered the United States prior to April 30, 1949. Another orphan provision was added authorising 5,000 additional non-quota visas for orphans under the age of 10 years who were coming for adoption through an agency or to reside with close relatives and thus would not be wards of the state







CIH -- WW II







Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to Main U.S. refugee policy]
[Return to Holocaust DP page]
[Return to Main DP Camp page]
[Return to German refugees from the NAZIs page]
[Return to Main World War II page]
[Return to Main French Holocaust page]
[Return to Main Holocaust page]
[About Us]
[Biographies] [Campaigns] [Children] [Countries] [Deciding factors] [Diplomacy] [Geo-political crisis] [Economics] [Home front] [Intelligence]
[Resistance] [Race] [Refugees] [Technology]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Return to the Main World War II page]




Created: 10:02 PM 10/11/2018
Last updated: 10:03 PM 10/11/2018