1933 September 10

ACLU to President Roosevelt: Admit Refugees from Nazi Germany


The ACLU on this day urged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to admit more refugees from Nazi Germany. In a letter signed by 36 lawyers, educators, religious leaders, and others, the ACLU urged the president to honor the American “tradition of asylum for refugees escaping from foreign tyrannies.” Specifically, the letter urged FDR to revise a 1930 Executive Order by President Herbert Hoover that, in its view, practically stopped “all immigration.” It also claimed that the English and French governments had been much more open to refugees from Nazi Germany. The letter was signed by Felix Frankfurter, Harvard Law School; Jeanette Rankin, of Washington, D.C.; theologian Reinhold Niebuhr; and the top leaders of the ACLU.

Learn more: Richard Breitman, FDR and the Jews (2013)

Learn more about political asylum today: http://www.politicalasylumusa.com/

Read: David Wyman, Paper Walls: America and the Refugee Crisis, 1938-1941 (1985)

Learn more about the government’s asylum policies today: http://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum

Read: Christopher Einolf, The Mercy Factory: Refugees and the American Asylum System (2001)

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