Garner J. Cline 1979 Letter: Soviet Jews in Rome

Authored by Marianne Brennan

Figure 1: Letter from Peter Regis to Garner J. Cline, in 1979, regarding the overflow of Soviet Jew refugees in Rome.

One of the hot topics in today’s political climate is the refugee crisis. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning refugees from Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days, and suspended the US refugee programme for 120 days.[1] This contentious national issue is nothing new. In fact, the banning of refugees can be traced back through US history.

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President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act

President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act

Authored by: Ariana Kaleta

President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act June 11, 1963,                     Abby Rowe/White House
“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we  can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience.”
John F Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants

Here we see a relaxed President Kennedy, laughing during a break at a press conference but what he was discussing were serious matters for the future face of America.  The President was compelled to write “A Nation of Immigrants” after repeatedly hearing the stories of immigrant’s rights groups, such as at this meeting with the American Committee on Italian Migration.

When Kennedy first came into office, Henry Cabot Lodge’s Immigration Act of 1924 had been diligently enforced under the firm hand of the Immigration Restriction League (a prominent lobbying group founded in 1884). [1]  For four decades, the Immigration Act of 1924 used quotas to prohibit all ‘non-nativist’ nationalities, in particular Jewish, Irish and Italians fleeing Europe. However, it also had punitive effects on the almost historically unrecognized Arabic and Asian immigrants.[2]  As the threat of communism and post war depression flooded across Europe and Asia, waves of immigrants risked their lives to journey to America, only to be turned away at Ellis Island, due to these racist and religious discriminatory laws. Continue reading

Behind the Numbers: Vietnamese Refugees at Dong Rek Camp

Authored by Marilyn Diliberti

Background Memorandum on Refugee Admissions Program FY 1986

First of four pages summarizing projected refugee admissions for the 1986 fiscal year

More than a decade after Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho shook hands at the Hotel Majestic in Paris and the last weary American troops returned home, Vietnam still held the world’s attention in 1985. The Vietnamese endured economic and social hardship in the years following the official end of the Vietnam War and, with these new challenges, America turned its focus from war to the resettlement of refugees. The number is small; only 1035 Vietnamese refugees from the Dong Rek Camp were accepted for resettlement into the United States in 1985.[1]  Behind the numbers, though, is history that has been all but forgotten, hidden by the lingering shadow of the Vietnam War. Continue reading

A Perspective on Italian Immigration in the 1960s

Authored by Pamela Griffin Hansen

 A watermarked image of the Maxime Maurice Caretti letter.

Letter from Maxime
Maurice Caretti

A letter dated June 15, 1963, from Maxime Maurice Caretti of Brooklyn to the House of Representatives Committee on Immigration, is archived in the Endres Collection held by the Center for Migration Studies (CMS). Arthur P. Endres was legal counsel to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and International Law, from 1973 to 1989. (CMS Archivist 2015) The Endres Collection is comprised of thirteen linear feet of documents and records kept by Mr. Endres as part of his immigration-related legal work for the House of Representatives, ibid. Mr. Caretti’s letter is one of just a few pieces of original correspondence from private citizens found in the Endres Collection, ibid. Continue reading

The Ethiopian Committee on Immigration, Inc.: Social Justice in Action

Authored by Leslie Wybiral

The Ethiopian Committee on Immigration, Inc. 1983 Fundraising Letter

The Ethiopian Committee on Immigration, Inc. 1983 Fundraising Letter

The Ethiopian Committee on Immigration, Inc. (ECI) was formed in October, 1982. (Mekbib, 1983). ECI’s main objective is to find a suitable solution to immigration problems faced by Ethiopian citizens in the United States. (Mekbib, 1983). Its principal concern is therefore humanitarian. (Mekbib, 1983).

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Don Edwards: Argument on the Misuse of Criminal Records, 1972

Authored by Diana Carillo

Chairman Don Edwards, Subcommittee No. 4 on the Judiciary opening statement on the misuse of criminal records.

Chairman Don Edwards, Subcommittee No. 4 on the Judiciary opening statement on the misuse of criminal records.


H.R. 13315 92nd congress, is a bill of the United States Code to provide for the dissemination and use of criminal arrest records in a manner that insures their security and privacy. On March 16th, 22nd, 23rd and April 23rd and 26th, 1972, security and privacy of criminal arrest record hearings were made before Subcommittee No.4 of the Committee of the Judiciary House of Representatives.  Committees of the Judiciary are often referred to as the lawyers of the House of Representatives, due to “its jurisdiction over matters relating to the administration of justice in federal courts, administrative bodies, and law enforcement agencies” (Goodlatte). This document provides the opening statement of chairman Don Edwards of California and his belief of the misuse of criminal records.

Don Edwards

Don Edwards was a Democrat representative from California, born in San Jose, Santa Clara Country, California on January 6, 1915. Don attended law school at Stanford University Law School. In 1940 Edwards became a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He was elected as a Democrat to the 88th from the 10th Congressional District and to the fifteen succeeding congresses in 1963 and served until 1995. Edwards was also the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights for 23 years. This court case was one of many that Edwards had worked hard on to bring to light the misuse of criminal records, and how the misuse affects the future lives of people who were convicted.

The Artifact

In Edwards’ opening statement, he gives examples as to how the lives of those who were convicted and released are impacted by the misuse of criminal records. He states, “A recent survey, for example, has shown that 75% of the employment agencies in New York City refuse to recommend an individual with an arrest record regardless whether it was followed by conviction.” This statement proves how for those who were arrested and not even convicted have trouble getting job recommendations because their record is available for employers to look at. Even today with advanced technology and the World Wide Web, anyone can view someone’s criminal record. If a normal patron wanted to look up someone’s criminal record they can easily access the information on All a person has to do is type in the name of who they are looking up and the state they reside in and they have the information right in front of them.

In this court hearing, Edwards states, “we intend to take a hard look at the arrest record problem and come up with a method of protecting individuals’ privacy while at the same time recognizing and safeguarding the objectives and needs of law enforcement officials.” Doing further research on individuals’ rights during an arrest, the fourth amendment seems to appear a lot. The fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution “protects personal privacy, and every citizen’s right to be free from unreasonable government intrusion into their persons, homes, businesses, and property” (2014). A person who is convicted of a felony has rights and the forth amendment ensures that, and the use of these conviction records should only be in the hands of law enforcement and nothing more. They have a right to their privacy, and this amendment should be “method” enough to protect those individual rights.


Edwards, William Donlon, “Biographical Information,” Retrieved March 20, 2015, from

“Security and Privacy of Criminal Arrest Records, Hearings Before Subcommittee No. 4 … , 92-2, on H.R. 13315, March 16, 22, 23; April 13 and 26, 1972,” 1972. Retrieved March 21, 2015, from

Goodlatte, B., “About the Committee,” Retrieved March 21, 2015, from

“Instant Checkmate – The Internet’s #1 Source for Background Checks,”Retrieved March 21, 2015, from

” ‘Search and Seizure’ and the Fourth Amendment,” Retrieved March 21, 2015, from

Humanity and “Red Tape”: Interpol and the Third Reich

Authored by Chris Scipioni

Watermarked Image #1

Press release from Church of Scientology NCLE Chief Researcher Vaugh Young

It is widely known that following the conclusion of World War II, a number of Nazi officials and collaborators not only avoided prosecution, but retained positions of authority. The most startling instances involve the ranks of German and French Police, as well as the International Criminal Police Organization known as “Interpol.” By the mid-1970s, new and intense pressure was being applied to Interpol regarding reputed ties with the Third Reich. This was spearheaded by a new agency funded by The Church of Scientology, labelled the National Commission on Law Enforcement and Social Justice. The church’s motives have been rightfully questioned; founder L. Ron Hubbard had been long evading taxes and other legal jurisdictions by having business transactions in international waters, and several countries repeatedly lobbied Interpol for support through the late 1950s and 1960s. By the 1970s, Scientologists had reacted by launching a campaign to create negative publicity and public distrust for Interpol (Stalcup 2013 p.236). While these ulterior motives provide a dramatic backdrop, the information put forth by the NCLE has been generally accepted as factual and meticulously researched, and highlights more critical points.  Continue reading

The Case Histories of the Refuseniks

Authored by Mary McNulty

Mr. Gorbachev: Let My People Go

Mr. Gorbachev: Let My People Go

Mr. Gorbachev, Let My People Go

Mr. Gorbachev: Let My People Go is a pamphlet held by the Centre for Migration Studies, as part of the Arthur P. Endres collection.  It was published by the South Florida Conference on Soviet Jewry, a smaller entity of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Committee (Sanford and Sandberg, 1986).  It details cases of Jews who attempted to receive visas to leave the Soviet Union during the Cold War, specifically from the 1960s through the 1980s (Golub 1989). Continue reading

American Committee on Italian Migration: Proceedings of the Third National Symposium

Authored by Jannette Sheffield

First page of material presented at the American Committee on Italian Migration's Third National Symposium

First page of material presented at the American Committee on Italian Migration’s Third National Symposium

A defining principle of American democracy is the inherent equality of all mankind.  America’s history of immigration legislation illustrates, however, that advocates of equality must often struggle to cause this principle to be reflected in law.  This document, which contains excerpts from material presented at the American Committee on Italian Migration’s (ACIM) Third National Symposium on Italian Immigration and American National Interest, shows that legislation antithetical to the values of democracy can be reformed through activism.  The document highlights ACIM’s role in the trajectory from the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952, which resulted in large-scale national and racial discrimination, to the race-neutral reforms of the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965.  It exhibits ACIM’s advocacy for Italian immigrants in the U.S. political system, its instrumental role in influencing legislative reform and its use of Christian principles to inspire political participation. Continue reading