The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I have just read a little pamphlet called "Refugee Facts," a study of the German refugee in America, issued by the American Friends Service Committee. It is an interesting little pamphlet and some of the facts, I think, will be new to many people, just as they were to me. For instance, did you know that under the National Origins Law, enacted in 1924 and amended in 1929, 153,774 immigrants are allowed to come to this country annually, but of this number, Great Britain and Ireland have had as their quota, 83,574, and last year only 4,551 people came in under those quotas? This means that not 75,000 came into this country in spite of the larger quota allowance.

During the 6 year period from 1932 through June 1938, a total of 241,962 immigrants were admitted into the United States for permanent residence. During this same period 246,449 immigrants previously admitted to this country for permanent residence moved away, so that roughly, during the six years of the Nazi regime in Germany, 4,487 more aliens departed than were admitted to the United States. Of course, of the number admitted, 50 percent are not looking for employment, being children, under eighteen, married women or old people.

A number of other interesting facts are in this pamphlet, including the experience which England has had with its recent German refugees, Jews, Catholics and Protestants. The items which interested me most, however, dealt with refugees admitted to the United States. They were the following: "One German textile man used to own a shirt factory in Germany and sold his wares to South America. Having to leave his homeland, he has transferred his factory to our country and is employing American labor to supply his customers as before.

"Harmonicas and accordians used to be imported from Germany, now a refugee has set up a shop for the making of these instruments and American workers are making them.

"A German firm exported until recently certain types of wool hosiery to the United States. Now the three refugees who had owned this firm have re-established it in Massachusetts and are employing 38 American workers in the manufacture of of goods which have been imported previously from abroad.

"Another refugee has brought over from Germany a patented process used in the manufacture of gloves. The firm he established to utilize this patent now does an annual business of $100,000."

Since no country prospers if its population is on the decline, the above facts seem to indicate that these immigrants will contribute to our well-being as have similar groups in our past history. They seem to be, in the main, a group of valuable citizens.

I hope that you will obtain this pamphlet and read it in full, for I cannot give you in this short column all the facts it contains.


(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 19, 1939

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.