President Johnson Urges New Immigration Law And The 24th Amendment

 

 

 

 

The Mount of the House of the Lord

The Mount of the House of the Lord

 

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 1964-President Johnson opened a drive today for passage of a sweeping new immigration law this year.

Mr. Johnson called representatives of a number of organizations interested in the bill to the White House for a ceremony in the Cabinet room. He told them he hoped for bipartisan action "at this session."

Senator James 0. Eastland's Committee opened hearings on the bill this morning, thus providing the occasion for Mr. Johnson' s appeal.

The bill was sent to Congress last summer by President Kennedy. It would abandon in five annual steps the present system of immigration quotas based on the national origin of applicants.

Instead, the bill would set up criteria based on the skills and abilities of applicants. Special consideration would be given to relatives of persons already living in the United States.

The total number of immigrants authorized in a given year would be increased only marginally, but the proposed bill would effect drastic changes in the national origins of those admitted.

The bill is also designed to put to use many quota allotments that are not filled under the present bill.

 

Johnson Cites Disparities

Mr. Johnson. pointed out that Britain now used less than half of the annual quota of 65,000 places assigned her. Germany, he said, "never fills" its quota of 25,000.

On the other hand, Mr. Johnson said, "Italy has a quota of 5,645, but it has a current backlog of almost 300,000. Greece has a quota of only 308, but it has a current backlog of over 100,000."

"The present, statute has overtones of discrimination," Mr. Johnson continued. "President Truman said that the idea behind this discrimination was, to put it boldly, that English or Irish names were better citizens than Americans with Italian or Greek or Polish names. And such a concept is utterly unworthy of our traditions and our ideals."

"I hope," the President declared, "we would ask ourselves this question: How would we feel if we were put in the other fellow's place? Maybe by doing that and engaging in a little introspection for a time we would find it a good feeling to apply the golden rule and do unto others as we would have them do unto us."

 

Hart Praises President

Senator Hart, who spoke briefly, praised Mr. Johnson "on his courage in stepping up and swinging out an issue that really isn't politically good."

This apparently referred to the reluctance shown for many years by some members of Congress and other Americans to admit Eastern Europeans, Latin Americans and Orientals to this country. The proposed bill would bar exclusion on racial grounds.

Administration officials conceded, however, that from another point of view, the President's stand could be a political plus. He is believed to need support in the industrial states of the North, many of them dominated by large cities like New York, Philadelphia and Detroit.

It is in such cities that large concentrations of Americans of Polish, Italian, Greek and other foreign extractions are found. Many have sought for years to obtain admission for relatives. All are well aware that their native countries are discriminated against in the present immigration laws.

The legislation was one of the few specific subjects that the President mentioned in his State of the Union Message last week.

Attending the White House ceremony were representatives of a number of organizations interested in refugee and immigration matters as well as representatives of all major labor unions.

Mr. Johnson also introduced Mr. Keating with the remark that he was sure the Senator "will go along with me in being a patriot this morning." "We may be partisan a little later in the year," the President said.

Mr. Keating, who faces a reelection campaign in New York this year, declared: "There are men of goodwill on both sides of the aisle who feel that something needs to be done in this area to remove discrimination or injustice from the present immigration laws."

 

Supreme Court Nullifies Racial Labeling on Ballot

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 -The Supreme Court struck down today a Louisiana statute requiring that the race of all political candidates be printed on the ballot.

It was a unanimous decision, with Justice Tom C. Clark writing the opinion. The Court found the labeling requirement a transparent device to arouse racial prejudice among voters.

The result came as no surprise. What was notable, in the opinion of many legal observers, was the fact that the Supreme Court had to reverse a three-Judge Federal District Court decision holding the statute constitutional.

 

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Excerpt From President Johnson's State of The Union Message to Congress and The Nation

WASHINGTON- President Johnson, reporting for the first time on the State of the Union made the following statements:

On the crucial question of civil rights, Mr. Johnson was unequivocal. "As far as the writ of Federal law will run," he said, "we must abolish not some but all racial discrimination."

He said this was not merely an economic issue "or a social, political or international issue."

"It is a moral issue and it must be met by the passage this session of the bill now pending in the House," he said.

"Today," he said, "Americans of all races stand side by side in Berlin and Vietnam. They died side by side in Korea."

"Surely they can work and eat and travel side by side in their own country."

 

Quoting from President Johnson's First Speech to Congress

On the 20th of January, in 1961, John F. Kennedy told his countrymen that our national work would not be finished "in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet." But - he said - "Let us begin."

Today in this moment of new resolve, I would say to my fellow Americans, let us continue.

This is our challenge - not to hesitate, not to pause, not to turn about and linger over this evil moment but to continue on our course so that we may fulfill the destiny history has set for us. Our most immediate tasks are here on this hill.

First, no memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought. We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. We have talked, for 100 years or more. Yes, it is time now to write the next chapter - and to write it in books of law.

 

Civil Rights Plea

I urge you again, as I did in 1957, and again in 1960, to enact a civil rights law so that we can move forward to eliminate from this nation every trace of discrimination and oppression based upon race or color. There could be no greater source of strength to this nation both at home and abroad.

 

24th Amendment, Banning Poll Tax Has Been Ratified

PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Legislature, beating out Georgia legislators in a race to make history, has written the anti-poll tax amendment into the United States Constitution.

South Dakota became the 38th state to ratify the resolution when the State Senate approved it 34 to 0. The action banished a practice that had endured since the birth of the Republic.

The 24th Amendment to the Constitution forbids the collection of poll taxes as a requirement for voting in primaries and elections for President, Vice President and members of Congress.

The State Senate's action completed the ratification process in time for the Presidential election this year. The amendment needed the approval of three-fourths of the 50 State Legislatures.

Only a technicality remained. The administrator of the General Services Administration, upon receiving notification of the action here, will formally certify that the amendment has been ratified.

The South Dakota Senate hurriedly suspended its rules and rushed the proposal to a vote after the Georgia Legislature threatened to beat this Northern Plains state to a vote.

South Dakota's ratification came at 2:26 P.M., Jan. 23, on a roll-call vote after very little debate. The State House approved the amendment, 52 to 18.

The amendment outlaws the poll taxes still in effect in five Southern states - Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. The action insured that the Presidential election this year would be the first ever held in the United States without a poll tax in any state.

 

The 24th Amendment

Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

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