1952 Immigration Act

1952 Immigration Act

Pat McCarran was the chairman of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee that investigated the administrations headed by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. In September 1950 he was the chief sponsor of the Internal Security Act. This legislation required registration with the Attorney General of the American Communist Party and affiliated organizations.

In June, 1952, Pat McCarran and Francis Walter instigated the passing of the McCarran-Walter Act that imposed more rigid restrictions on entry quotas to the United States. It also stiffened the existing law relating to the admission, exclusion and deportation of dangerous aliens as defined in the Internal Security Act.

Primary Sources

(1) Stetson Kennedy, I Rode With the Ku Klux Klan (1954)

Another signal for the Ku Klux Klan ideology is represented by the McCarran Immigration Act. sponsored by Republican Senator Pat McCarron - who is also the author of the U.S.A.'s concentration camplaw - and Republican Congressman Francis Walter, the new law bars coloured races almost entirely, while favouring immigration by north Europeans. Instead of working for repeal of this racist law, Eisenhower has asked for special quotas to let in migrants from eastern Europe, most of whom are diehard German Nazis.

(2) Emanuel Celler, speech in the Senate in 1948.

The Immigration Act of 1924, establishing the annual quotas for countries based on a computation of approximately one-sixth of one per cent, presumably reflects composition of national origin of the inhabitants of the country in the year 1920. Due to the rigidity of our quota system, during the twenty-seven years the present quota law has been in effect, only forty-four per cent of the possible quota immigrants have actually been admitted. Of the total number of 154,000 annual quotas permitted under the law, 65,700 are allotted to Great Britain; 25,900 to Germany; and 17,800 to Ireland. Every other country having a quota is accorded a quota allotment of less than 7,000. This startling discrimination against central, eastern and southern Europe points out the gap between what we say and what we do. On the one hand we publicly pronounce the equality of all peoples, discarding all racialistic theories; on the other hand, in our immigration laws, we embrace in practice these very theories we abhor and verbally condemn. In the meantime, because Great Britain and Ireland barely use the quota allotment, a large percentage of the 154,000 annual quotas go to waste each year. They are non-transferable. The simple, practical solution - which it seems to me could easily be adopted without even going so far as to disturb the national origin system be to take the unused quotas and distribute them among countries with less than 7,000 quota allotments in the same proportion as they bear to the total quota pie.

It is important that we do so in terms of our own productivity and growth. If we take a long-range view of the position of the United States in the world, we must recognize that our rapid rise to world power during our 176-year history was based upon our population growth from four million to one hundred and fifty million, and this growth was largely the result of immigration. In the years ahead our population is headed for a stable plateau which means an aging population; that is, fewer young persons and more old persons proportionately in the total population. The rate of population growth in the United States is slightly below that required to reproduce itself. The American rate between 1933 and 1939 was 0.96. Compare that with the rate of Russia alone, which was 1.70. The population forecast for the United States in 1970 is 170 million people. The population forecast for Russia alone in 1970 is 251 million. The implications are clear.