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A Connecticut Reader Forwards An Early Example Of Resistance To Amnesty—From 1965
From: Joseph Morabito [Email him]
I came across a very interesting article in the New York Times archives.
WASHINGTON, June 25, 1965
(AP) - The Daughters of the American Revolution said today that President Johnson's bill to abolish the national origins quota system of immigration would destroy "a first-line of defense in perpetuating our institutions of freedom and the American way of life."
Mrs. William H. Sullivan Jr., D.A.R. president, told the Senate Immigration subcommittee that passage of the bill would "drastically alter the immigration pattern" prevailing under the present McCarran-Walter Immigration Act.
"Why should this nation expand its immigration program by increasing the number of potentially unassimilable aliens when it is unable to solve its own unemployment problems and has felt obliged to declare war on poverty within its own borders?" she asked.
When Mrs. Sullivan finished her testimony, Senator James O. Eastland, Democrat of Mississippi who is chairman of the subcommittee and its parent body, the senate Judiciary Committee, told her: "I certainly agree with your conclusions."
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, who was the only other committee member present, said he could not disagree more with her conclusions. But he asked Mrs. Sullivan only one question.
That was after she had said that the breakdown of the McCarran-Walter Act had been a major objective of the Communists.
"You don't suggest that anyone who opposes the act or wants to change it is a Communist, do you?" Mr. Kennedy asked.
"No. indeed," Mrs. Sullivan replied.
The bill provides for abolition over five years of the present system under which immigration quotas are allocated to other nations on the basis of their ethnic make-up of the United States population in 1920.
The present system gives by far the largest quotas to Northern and Western European nations, with England, Ireland and Germany alone having about 70 per cent of the annual immigration quota of about 158,000.
Under the Administration bill, immigrants would be taken on a first-come, first-served basis without regard to their country of origin. But, as under present law, preference could be given to aliens with United States relatives and to those with needed work skills.
Mrs. Sullivan said the present law was properly designed to maintain the nation's "cultural heritage, its free institutions and its historic population mixture."
She noted that the bill not only would abolish the national origins quota system but also would eliminate the present limitations on the immigration of persons of Asiatic ancestry.
"Under the legislation," she said, "Asiatics born in Latin America could freely enter the United states in substantial numbers and on a nonquota basis."
Latin Americans may now enter the country on a nonquota basis, as may certain other classes of immigrants, and Mrs. Sullivan observed that nonquota immigrants outnumber quota immigrants 2 to 1 each year.
James Fulford writes: I’m printing this as a historical document—we do that a lot, and I’d like to thank Joseph Morabito for this and many other items he’s sent in. This story is featured in a work of liberal hagiography called The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings, in which author Thomas Maier referred to the President of the DAR as “a woman who identified herself Mrs. William H. Sullivan Jr.” as if the custom of calling yourself by your married name was some kind of freakish plot against liberal values.
Maier mentions Kennedy’s harassing Mrs. Sullivan about Communism without bothering to provide the context—the McCarran Walter Act was passed specifically to prevent Communist immigration and pro-Communists are complaining about it to this day.
Finally, he describes her reference to America's "cultural heritage, its free institutions and its historic population mixture" as “the code words of the DAR, a long-time opponent of immigration.” [P.304]
Maier can't grasp that Mrs. Sullivan’s words weren’t coded—they meant what they said. They were a defense of America’s historic population, from which she herself was descended, and which it was her business as president of the Daughters of the American Revolution to defend.
Mrs. Sullivan's resistance to the 1965 Act failed, and we see the consequences, but I hope there are still a few people like her to fight against amnesty now.