Displaced Persons Act

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Displaced Persons Act of 1948
Great Seal of the United States
Long title An act to authorize for a limited period of time the admission into the United States of certain European displaced persons for permanent residence, and for other purposes
Enacted by the 80th United States Congress
Effective June 25, 1948
Citations
Public law 80-774
Statutes at Large 62 Stat. 1009, Chapter 647
Codification
Titles amended 50 U.S.C.: War and National Defense
U.S.C. sections amended Appendix - Civilian Protection from War Hazards - Admission of Displaced Persons § 1951 - 1965
Legislative history

The Displaced Persons Act of 1948 (Pub.L. 80–774)[1] authorized for a limited period of time the admission into the United States of 200,000 certain European displaced persons (DPs) for permanent residence.[2]

This displaced persons (DP) Immigration program emerged from the enormous need to handle millions of displaced persons in Europe at the end of World War II. The United States helped fund temporary DP camps, and admitted large numbers of DPs as permanent residents. Truman strongly supported all activities to help DPs, and he supported the DP Immigration Program, and obtained ample funding from Congress for the 1948 Displaced Persons [Immigration] Act.

However, Truman had many objections to specific details in the Immigration Act, which he made explicit in his "Statement On Signing the Displaced Persons Act of 1948.[3]" One strong objection was that it took away previous immigration quota places from others already on quota waiting lists, and simply transferred these places to DPs, and actually did this forwardly for as many years as needed by DPs (mortgaging the future years' places). Another strong objection was that the details of the Act caused it to very heavily discriminate against Jewish DPs, specifically those originally from Poland and the Soviet Union who had not yet reached Germany, Austria, or Italy by Dec 22, 1945 - this excluded group represented nearly the full totality of Jewish DPs. These two objections, and others, were removed in a later "Displaced Persons {Immigration} Act of 1950."

Truman also supported Jewish refugees in Palestine/Israel, but generally kept his actions quiet so as not to arouse anti-Semitism.[4] Historians Phil Orchard and Jamie Gillies hail Truman's "atypical leadership" in helping refugees.[5] Truman signed it into law on June 25, 1948.[6]

Proclamations of the Act[edit]

Eligible displaced person - any displaced person or refugee as defined by Annex I of the Constitution of the International Refugee Organization.[7] A displaced person is eligible for admission to the United States given the conditions on or after September 1, 1939 and on or before December 22, 1945.

  • Entered Germany, Austria, or Italy
  • Resided in the American sector of Italy
  • Resided in the British sector or French sector of Berlin or Vienna
  • Resided in the American zone, British zone, or French zone of Germany or Austria
  • A victim of persecution by the Nazi government whereas such persons were detained or obliged to flee persecution from Nazi perpetrators and subsequently returned to any of the aforementioned countries as a result of enemy action and of war circumstances.
  • Native of Czechoslovakia who fled from persecution or fear of persecution from that country and any of the aforementioned countries since January 1, 1948.

Immigration visas - limitations of visa quotas for eligible displaced persons as authorized by the Act

  • Immigration visas shall not exceed two hundred thousand for the first two years from the date the Act is passed by the U.S. 80th Congress.
  • Two thousand visas may be issued without regard to quota limitations to eligible displaced persons as quota immigrants.
  • Eligible displaced orphans may be issued special non-quota immigration visas whereby issuance shall not exceed three thousand.

Displaced Persons Commission[edit]

The Displaced Persons Commission was created with the enactment of the U.S. Senate S. 2242 bill. The Commission provided oversight of the U.S. displaced persons organization from June 25, 1948 through August 31, 1952.[8]

During the four years of the Commission legislative oversight, President Truman issued Executive Orders petitioning the Commission for investigative reports concerning the activities of the U.S. displaced persons affairs.[9][10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sarah Starkweather. "US immigration legislation online". University of Washington, Bothell Library. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  2. ^ "1948 Displaced Persons Act". US immigration legislation online. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "President Truman's Statement On Signing the Displaced Persons Act of 1948." http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=12942
  4. ^ Mel Schiff, "President Truman and the Jewish DPs, 1945–46: The Untold Story." American Jewish History 99.4 (2015): 327-352.
  5. ^ Phil Orchard and Jamie Gillies. "Atypical Leadership: The Role of the Presidency and Refugee Protection, 1932‐1952." Presidential Studies Quarterly 45.3 (2015): 490-513.
  6. ^ Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Harry S. Truman: "142 - Statement by the President Upon Signing the Displaced Persons Act" June 25, 1948". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara. Retrieved 17 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Constitution of the International Refugee Organization". The Avalon Project - Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Lillian Goldman Law Library - Yale University. December 15, 1946. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Peters,Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Harry S. Truman: "Executive Order 10382 - Providing for the Liquidation of the Affairs of the Displaced Person's Commission" August 9, 1952". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ Peters,Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Harry S. Truman: "Executive Order 10003 - Providing for the Investigation of and Report on Displaced Persons Seeking Admission Into the United States" October 4, 1948". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  10. ^ Peters,Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "Harry S. Truman: "Executive Order 10131 - Providing for the Investigation of and Report on Displaced Pesons and Persons of German Ethnic Origin Seeking Admission Into the United States" June 16, 1950". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Carruthers, Susan L. "Between Camps: Eastern Bloc 'Escapees' and Cold War Borderlands." American Quarterly 57.3 (2005): 911-942.
  • Orchard, Phil and Jamie Gillies. "Atypical Leadership: The Role of the Presidency and Refugee Protection, 1932‐1952." Presidential Studies Quarterly 45.3 (2015): 490-513.
  • Schiff, Mel."President Truman and the Jewish DPs, 1945–46: The Untold Story." American Jewish History 99.4 (2015): 327-352.

External links[edit]