Spanish Civil War Orphans enroute to England in 1938 - by all accounts, only a tiny fraction would be let into the States.

Immigration In The World Of 1959 – Past Daily Reference Room

Spanish Civil War Orphans enroute to England in 1938 - by all accounts, only a tiny fraction would be let into the States.

Spanish Civil War Orphans enroute to England in 1938 – by all accounts, only a tiny fraction would be let into the States.

Click on the link here for Audio Player – Image America: Immigration – June 25, 1959 – NBC Radio Network.

Since the recent passage of new Immigration reform legislation, it’s always interesting to consider where the history is – what were Immigration laws like 20, 30, 50 years ago.

In 1959 it was clear our Immigration policy was broken, or least horribly out of date and balance. In place since the mid-1800s, it favored policies of granting citizenship to those from “northern European” and Scandinavian countries, while virtually excluding Asian and Southern (i.e. African) countries.

As was pointed out during an interview for this program with Edward Corsi, former Special Assistant to The Secretary of State for Refugee and Migration problems, on average 1/6 of 1% of those applying for citizenship, were granted that status. And the vast majority of those granted such status were not from developing or Third-World countries but rather from Norway, Sweden, Germany and England. You get the drift.

So as part of it’s multi-part radio documentary series Image Minorities over NBC Radio, a segment was devoted to the matter of Immigration and discussing what was being done, or at least suggested to be done, about the broken system in 1959.

When you consider the legislation being passed yesterday as having a history going back to the 1800’s, you begin to sense the wheels of fairness tend to move very slowly.

Like the matter of Health Insurance and Universal Health Care – these aren’t issues that suddenly pop up one day and are considered in an off-hand gesture. They are attempts at fixing a broken system that’s been in place for generations, where ungrounded fear becomes the reason to avoid and ignore.

Which is the reason why the Supreme Court ruling to abandon key provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965 earlier this week is so tragic. It was an attempt in 1965 to fix a broken and unfair system that had been in place for generations prior to its passage. We forget those things. And we can’t.

Here is the segment on Immigration from the Image Minorities Series produced for NBC Radio on June 25, 1959.

 

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