In contrast to widespread public and political indifference before World War II, after the war, under pressure from the White House and Department of State, Congress authorized admissions for refugees from Europe and permitted asylum seekers already in the United States to regularize their status. This temporary bill provided for admission of 200,000 displaced persons and attempted to favor Catholic and Protestant refugees over Jewish ones by enacting preferences for agricultural workers.
Although Asians received no refugee visas, the act enabled several thousand Chinese already residing in the United States to gain legal permanent status by claiming asylum. Many were considered worth keeping away from China’s communist leaders, as they were highly educated and well connected, with strategic skills and knowledge.
Chapter 647. -An Act to authorize for a limited period of time the admission into the United States of certain European displaced persons for permanent residence, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of
America in Congress assembled . . . .
Sec. 3. (a) During the two fiscal years following the passage of this Act a number of immigration visas not to exceed two hundred and two thousand may be issued without regard to quota limitations for those years to eligible displaced persons . . . .
Sec. 10. No eligible displaced person shall be admitted into the United States unless there shall have first been a thorough investigation and written report made and prepared by such agency of the Government of the United States as the President shall designate, regarding such person’s character, history, and eligibility under this Act. The burden of the proof shall be upon the person who seeks to establish
his eligibility under this Act. Any person who shall willfully make a misrepresentation for the purpose of gaining admission into the United States as an eligible displaced person shall thereafter not be admissible into the United States . . . Except as otherwise authorized in this Act, all immigration laws, including deportation laws, shall be applicable to eligible displaced orphans and eligible displaced persons who apply to be or who are admitted into the United States pursuant to this Act . . . .
Approved June 25, 1948.