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Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (Pub.L. 82–414, 66 Stat. 163, enacted June 27, 1952), also known as the McCarran–Walter Act, codified under Title 8 of the United States Code (8 U.S.C. ch. 12), governs immigration to and citizenship in the United States. It has been in effect since June 27, 1952. Before this Act, a variety of statutes governed immigration law but were not organized within one body of text.

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952
Great Seal of the United States
Other short titlesMcCarran–Walter Act
Long titleAn Act to revise the laws relating to immigration, naturalization, and nationality; and for other purposes.
Enacted bythe 82nd United States Congress
EffectiveJune 27, 1952
Citations
Public law82-414
Statutes at Large66 Stat. 163
Codification
Titles amended8 U.S.C.: Aliens and Nationality
U.S.C. sections created8 U.S.C. ch. 12
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 5678 by Francis E. Walter (D-PA) and Pat McCarran (D-NV) on October 9, 1951
  • Passed the House on April 25, 1952 (passed)
  • Passed the Senate on May 22, 1952 (passed)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on May 23, 1952; agreed to by the House on June 10, 1952 (adopted) and by the Senate on June 11, 1952 (adopted)
  • Vetoed by President Harry S. Truman on June 25, 1952
  • Overridden by the House on June 26, 1952 (278–113)
  • Overridden by the Senate and became law on June 27, 1952 (57–26)
Major amendments
USA PATRIOT Act

Contents

Legislative HistoryEdit

The Cold War tension fueled fears and suspicions of infiltrating Communist and Soviet spies and sympathizers within American institutions and federal government, prompting the Second Red Scare and McCarthyism in the United States. The anticommunist hysteria from the Cold War sparked tension among legislators regarding the immigration system in the United States. Driven by the anticommunist political atmosphere of the postwar period, restrictionists pushed for selective immigration to preserve national security. Senator Pat McCarran (D-Nevada), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, proposed an immigration bill to maintain status quo in the United States and to safeguard the country from communism, “Jewish interests”, and undesirables that he deemed as external threats to national security.[1] His immigration bill encompassed the McCarthy Era politics of the 1950s with anti-Communist barriers and restrictive measures including increased vetting, deportation, and naturalization procedures. The bill also placed a preference on economic potential, special skills, and education. In addition, Representative Francis E. Walter (D-Pennsylvania) proposed a similar immigration bill to the House.

In response to the liberal immigration bill of Representative Emanuel Celler (D-New York) and Senator Herbert H. Lehman (D-New York), both Senator Pat McCarran (D-Nevada) and Representative Francis E. Walter (D-Pennsylvania) combined their restriction immigration proposals into the McCarran-Walter bill and recruited support of patriotic and veteran organizations.[1] However, various immigration reform advocacy groups and testimonies by representatives from ethnic coalitions, civil rights organizations, and labor unions challenged proposals of restrictive immigration and pushed for a more inclusive immigration reform.[2] Opponents of the restrictive bill such as Senator Herbert H. Lehman attempted to strategize a way to bring the groups together to resist McCarran’s actions. Despite the efforts to resist, McCarran’s influence as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee ultimately overpowered the liberal immigration reform coalition.

President Harry Truman vetoed the McCarran-Walter Act because the act continued national-origins quotas that discriminated against potential allies that contain communist groups within.[3] However, Congress overrode the veto by a two-thirds vote of each house.[4] The 82nd United States Congress enacted the act and it became effective on June 27, 1952. The passage of the McCarran-Walter bill, known as the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, solidified more restrictive immigration movement in the United States.

ProvisionsEdit

The Act abolished racial restrictions found in United States immigration and naturalization statutes going back to the Naturalization Act of 1790. The 1952 Act retained a quota system for nationalities and regions. Eventually, the Act established a preference system which determined which ethnic groups were desirable immigrants and placed great importance on labor qualifications. The Act defined three types of immigrants: immigrants with special skills or relatives of U.S. citizens who were exempt from quotas and who were to be admitted without restrictions; average immigrants whose numbers were not supposed to exceed 270,000 per year; and refugees.

It expanded the definition of the "United States" for nationality purposes, which already included Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, to add Guam. Persons born in these territories on or after December 24, 1952 acquire U.S. citizenship at birth on the same terms as persons born in other parts of the United States.[5]

RaceEdit

The McCarran-Walter Act abolished the "alien ineligible to citizenship" category from US immigration law, which de facto only applied to people of Asian descent. Small, token quotas of about 100 people per country were established for the countries of Asia. However, people of Asian descent but who were citizens of a non-Asian country counted towards the quota of their Asian ancestral country.[6] Overall annual immigration from the Asiatic Barred Zone was also capped at 2000.[7] Passage of the act was strongly lobbied for by the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Japanese American Citizens League, Filipino Federation of America, and Korean National Association; though as an incremental measure, as those organizations wished to see national origins quotas abolished altogether.[8]

McCarran-Walter Act allowed for people of Asian descent to immigrate and to become citizens, which had been banned by laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Asian Exclusion Act of 1924. Chinese immigration in particular had been allowed for a decade prior to McCarran-Walter by the Magnuson Act of 1943, which was passed because of America's World War II alliance with China.[9] Japanese Americans and Korean Americans were first allowed to naturalize by the McCarran-Walter Act.[10] Overall changes in the perceptions of Asians were made possible by Cold War politics; the Displaced Persons Act of 1948 allowed anticommunist Chinese American students who feared returning to the Chinese Civil War to stay in the United States; and these provisions would be expanded by the Refugee Relief Act of 1953.[7]

NaturalizationEdit

A 1962 guideline explained procedures under the Act:[11]

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 requires an alien to apply for a petition for naturalization. This form may be obtained from any office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, a division of the Department of Justice, or from any court authorized to naturalize aliens.

Before applying, an alien must be at least 18 years old and must have been lawfully admitted to live permanently in the United States. He must have lived in the United States for five years and for the last six months in the state where he seeks to be naturalized. In some cases, he need only have lived three years in the United States. He must be of good moral character and "attached to the principles of the Constitution". The law states that an alien is not of good moral character if he is a drunkard, has committed adultery, has more than one wife, makes his living by gambling, has lied to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, has been in jail more than 180 days for any reason during his five years in the United States, or is a convicted murderer.

Preference SystemEdit

Good Moral Character was an ideal character of beliefs and values beneficial to the country. The United States measured good moral character through a person’s ability to behave morally and honor the Constitution and laws of the United States. The concept of “good moral character” dated back to the Naturalization Act of 1790. The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 required applicants to be a person of good moral character who adhered to the principles of the Constitution and was in favorable disposition to the United States. The act gave the government the authority to deem an immigrant who lacks good moral character ineligible for admission or naturalization and deport the immigrant who engaged in a list of activities that violated the “good moral character” requirement such as crimes involving moral turpitude, illegal gambling, alcohol use, drug trafficking, prostitution, unlawful voting, fraud, etc. These violations of the good moral character requirement undermined the U.S. national security.[12]

Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 eliminated the contact labor bar and placed employment-based preferences for aliens with economic potential, skills, and education. In addition, the act created H-1, a temporary visa category for nonimmigrants with merit and ability.[13] The act also created the H-2, a process to approve visa for temporary foreign laborers if there is no one available to work in the labor field.[14]

Class of Aliens Inadmissible and Ineligible for VisaEdit

Before the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, the U.S. Bureau of Immigration vetted newcomers to the United States and often denied entry to new immigrants on subjective conclusion of perverse acts such as homosexuality, prostitution, sexual deviance, crime of moral turpitude, economic dependency, or perverse bodies like hermaphrodites or individuals with abnormal or small body parts during the 1900-1924.[15] During this time, immigration authorities denied immigrants entry on this subjective basis by issuing “likely to be a public charge.” However, by the 1950s, the immigration authorities solidified this screening measure into law when they enacted a provision against such perverse acts such as prostitution or any immoral sexual act in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. Alien who were feeble-minded, mentally disabled, physically defects, or professional beggars were also ineligible for admission.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 placed provisions on drinking and substance use as a requirement for admission. The act stated that any immigrant who “is or was…a habitual drunkard” or “narcotic drug addicts or chronic alcoholics” challenged the notion of good moral character, a requirement for citizenship in the United States. As a result, immigrants who participated in excessive alcohol or substance use were inadmissible to the United States.[12]

According to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, polygamy violated the notion of good moral character under Section 101(f). Any alien in a polygamous relationship was inadmissible or ineligible for naturalization as a result. In addition, the polygamy bar denied the polygamous alien to immigration benefits such as employment-based visa, asylum, or relief.[16]

Class of Deportable AliensEdit

Crime involving moral turpitude were acts, behaviors, or offenses that violate the standards of a country. The concept, “crimes involving moral turpitude,” have been in United States immigration law since the Immigration Act of 1891, which made those who committed crimes involving moral turpitude inadmissible.[17] Despite the difficulty of defining “crimes involving moral turpitude,” the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 established provisions that help define “crimes involving moral turpitude.” Under sections, “Inadmissible aliens” and “Deportable aliens,” aliens were ineligible for naturalization if suspected of or committed criminal convictions, illegal gambling, alcohol use, drug trafficking, prostitution, unlawful voting, etc. within five years of entry. The list of crimes involving moral turpitude lead to removal of the alien.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 deemed aliens who were anarchists or members of or affiliated with the Communist Party or any other totalitarian organizations that plan to overthrow the United States as deportable aliens.[18] Aliens who were successors of any association of Communism, regardless of name changes, still fell under the deportable aliens. Aliens who advocated, taught, wrote, published in support for communism, a totalitarian dictatorship, and the overthrowing of the United States were also deportable aliens.

Under Section 243(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, the Attorney General had the authority to stop the deportation of an alien if the Attorney General believed that the alien would face physical persecution if he or she returns to the country.[19] The period of withholding deportation was up to the Attorney General as well.

EnforcementEdit

The following list provides examples of those who were excluded from the Act prior to the 1990 amendment. While it has not been substantiated that all of these individuals formally petitioned to become United States Citizens, many were banned from traveling to the US because of anti-American political views and/or criminal records. Among those listed, there are noted communists, socialists, and anti-American sympathizers.[20]

ModificationsEdit

Parts of the Act remain in place today, but it has been amended many times and was modified substantially by the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965.

When regulations issued under the authority of the Passport Act of 1926 were challenged in Haig v. Agee, Congress enacted § 707(b) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 1979 (Pub.L. 95–426, 92 Stat. 993, enacted October 7, 1978), amending § 215 of the Immigration and Nationality Act making it unlawful to travel abroad without a passport. Until that legislation, under the Travel Control Act of 1918, the president had the authority to require passports for foreign travel only in time of war.

Some provisions that excluded certain classes of immigrants based on their political beliefs were revoked by the Immigration Act of 1990, however members of Communist Parties are still banned from becoming citizens of the United States.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, President George W. Bush implemented the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System and other border and immigration controls.

In January 2017, President Donald Trump's Executive Order 13769 made reference to the "Immigration and Nationality Act".[25]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Marinari, Maddalena. “Divided and Conquered: Immigration Reform Advocates and the Passage of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act.” Journal of American Ethnic History, vol. 35, no. 3, Spring 2016, pp. 9–40.
  2. ^ Marinari, Maddalena, and Donna Gabaccia. “‘In the Name of God … and in the Interest of Our Country’: The Cold War, Foreign Policy, and Italian Americans’ Mobilization against Immigration Restriction.” New Italian Migrations to the United States: Vol. 1: Politics and History since 1945, University of Illinois Press, Urbana; Chicago; Springfield, 2017, pp. 59–79.
  3. ^ Gabaccia, Donna R. “Immigration and Restriction: Protection in a Dangerous World, 1850–1965.” Foreign Relations: American Immigration in Global Perspective, Princeton University Press, Princeton; Oxford, 2012, pp. 122–175.
  4. ^ Rosenfield, Harry N. “The Prospects for Immigration Amendments.” Law and Contemporary Problems, vol. 21, no. 2, 1956, pp. 401–426.
  5. ^ A later amendment, effective November 3, 1986, added the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands."8 FAM 302.1 Historical Background to Acquisition by Birth in U.S. Territories and Possessions". U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 8. U.S. Department of State. 2018-06-27. Retrieved 2018-07-18.
  6. ^ Leonard, David; Lugo-Lugo, Carmen, eds. (2015). Latino History and Culture: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 850.
  7. ^ a b Yoo, David; Azuma, Eiichiro, eds. (2016). "Cold War". The Oxford Handbook of Asian American History. Oxford University Press. p. 173.
  8. ^ Cheng, Cindy (2014). Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race During the Cold War. NYU Press. p. 177.
  9. ^ Szmanko, Klara, ed. (2015). Visions of Whiteness in Selected Works of Asian American Literature. McFarland. p. 20.
  10. ^ Okihiro, Gary, ed. (2013). "McCarran-Walter Act". Encyclopedia of Japanese American Internment. ABC-CLIO. p. 113.
  11. ^ 1962 World Book Encyclopedia, Page 52, Book-13. Petition for Naturalization
  12. ^ a b Rathod, Jayesh M. “Distilling Americans: The Legacy of Prohibition on U.S. Immigration Law.” Houston Law Review, vol. 51, no. 3, Winter 2014, pp. 781–846.
  13. ^ Saminathan, Vignaswari. “An Analysis of the United States Employment Immigration System in Attracting and Retaining Skilled Workers and the Effects of Its Dichotomous Objectives--Competitiveness versus Protectionism: A Case for Reform?” Pace Law Review, vol. 32, no. 1, Jan. 2012, pp. 149–187.
  14. ^ Danger, Cecilia. “The H-2A Non-Immigrant Visa Program: Weakening Its Provisions Would Be a Step Backward for America's Farmworkers.” The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, vol. 31, no. 3, 2000, pp. 419–438.
  15. ^ Canaday, Margot. “A New Species of Undesirable Immigrant: Perverse Aliens and the Limits of the Law, 1900-1924.” The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America. Princeton University Press, 2009.
  16. ^ Smearman, Claire A. “Second Wives’ Club: Mapping the Impact of Polygamy in U.S. Immigration Law.” Berkeley Journal of International Law, vol. 27, no. 2, June 2009, pp. 382–447.
  17. ^ Campbell, Patrick J. “Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude: In Search of a Moral Approach to Immoral Crimes.” St. John’s Law Review, vol. 88, no. 1, Spring 2014, pp. 147–174.
  18. ^ Battisti, Danielle. “The American Committee on Italian Migration, Anti-Communism, and Immigration Reform.” Journal of American Ethnic History, vol. 31, no. 2, 2012, pp. 11–40.
  19. ^ “Protecting Deportable Aliens from Physical Persecution: Section 243(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952.” The Yale Law Journal, vol. 62, no. 5, 1953, pp. 845–852.
  20. ^ "Larry McMurtry testimony". Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and Administrative Justice of the House Judiciary Committee, January 3, 2005. PEN/USA. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
  21. ^ Mitchell, Tony (1999), Dario Fo: People's Court Jester (Updated and Expanded), London: Methuen, pp. 162–163, ISBN 0-413-73320-3
  22. ^ a b Reginald Whitaker (1987). "Double standard: the secret history of Canadian immigration". Lester & Orpen Dennys. ISBN 9780886191740. A few years ago it became known that Pierre Elliott Trudeau, before he became prime minister of Canada, had been barred from travelling to the United States.
  23. ^ a b Reginald Whitaker; Gregory S. Kealey; Andrew Parnaby (2012). "Secret Service: Political Policing in Canada: From the Fenians to Fortress America". University of Toronto Press. p. 208. ISBN 9780802007520. Retrieved January 25, 2013. By the late years of the Cold War, the prominence of Canadians barred at one time or another from entering the United States became a highly visible public scandal: those so treated included Pierre Elliot Trudeau (on whom the FBI maintained a file, even while he served as prime minister) and the popular writer Farley Mowat, who characteristically parlayed his experience into an entertaining book, My Discovery of America.
  24. ^ Hyder, Thomas. "The "Activist" Lives of Gust Alonen and Carl Paivio". IndyMedia. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  25. ^ See Wikisource:Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States

Further readingEdit

  • Bennett, Marion T. "The immigration and nationality (McCarran-Walter) Act of 1952, as Amended to 1965." The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 367.1 (1966): 127–136.
  • Chin, Gabriel J. "The civil rights revolution comes to immigration law: A new look at the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965." North Carolina Law Review 75 (1996): 273+.
  • Daniels. Roger, ed. Immigration and the Legacy of Harry S. Truman (2010)
  • Rosenfield, Harry N. "Necessary administrative reforms in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952." Fordham Law Review 27 (1958): 145+.

External linksEdit