IMMIGRATION: Revenge at Ellis Island

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 2)

The Metropolitan was also worried about one of its star sopranos, Ljuba Welitch. She probably joined the German Labor Front, observed Director Rudolf Bing sadly. "You either joined or you didn't sing," he explained. Arturo Toscanini was waved in though technically he too was suspicious: during Il Duce's regime, he had led an Italian orchestra, once ran for the Italian Senate with Mussolini on the Socialist ticket in 1919. Obviously the Attorney General felt he could make an exception of Toscanini.

Outcries. Most visitors were admitted after a couple of days for a temporary stay. At week's end, with 131 aliens still in custody, the State Department stemmed the flood by canceling temporarily all U.S. visas all over the world. U.S. consulates were swamped with travelers trying to get a new visa under the new rules; many simply canceled passage. In Europe, the Communist press happily crowed about "American political racism" and referred to Ellis Island as "that well-known concentration camp."

There were other problems still unsettled. In Congress, Nevada's Senator McCarran who sponsored the new immigration rules was the bright, particular friend of Spain's Franco; but weren't Spanish Falangists excluded by the act's language? Obviously they were, and presumably if any turned up they could be hustled off to Ellis Island. And what of followers of the Dominican Republic's Dictator Trujillo, or of any of the other Latin American Good Neighbors who had lived under military juntas and strong-man machines during the recent past?

State was considering making a distinction between "nominal" and "undeniable" totalitarian governments. No one had yet grappled with another provision of the law: a requirement that the Attorney General round up and deport all aliens now in the country who cannot qualify under the law. Throwing in the sponge, the Republican New York Herald Tribune admitted sadly: "This newspaper sees no alternative save to grant the President his revenge and insist on amendment of the worst features of the law as soon as the extra session reconvenes."

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next Page