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Veto of Bill for the Relief of Wilhelm Engelbert: Presidential Paper Historical Series

by Dwight D. Eisenhower: 1953-1961

Veto of Bill for the Relief of Wilhelm Engelbert
March 7, 1954

To the United States Senate:

I return herewith, without my approval, S. 153, a bill "For the relief of Wilhelm Engelbert."

This measure would grant the status of lawful permanent residence in the United States to Mr. Engelbert upon payment of the required visa fee.

Mr. Engelbert is a native and citizen of Germany who was born in Dortmund, Westphalia, on July 27, 1905. He entered the United States illegally on December 31, 1926, as a deserting seaman, with the intention of remaining here permanently.

Between 1926 and the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the alien did nothing to regularize his status in the United States. In fact, according to the record set forth in the Committees' reports upon this bill, his actions indicate clearly that he thought of himself as a German and showed his allegiance time and again as that of a German national.

After the United States entered World War II, Mr. Engelbert was interned as an enemy alien. He remained an internee until July 1, 1948. In due course, a warrant for his deportation to Germany was issued in 1943. This warrant, issued on grounds of illegal entry, was outstanding at the time of his release from alien enemy proceedings. Applications for reconsideration and reopening of the deportation hearings have been denied by the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Although it appears that to a certain extent Mr. Engelbert's motives in becoming a member of the Nazi party, registering for service in the German army, equipping himself with German money to defray the cost of a trip to Germany, and other acts demonstrating allegiance to Germany, may have been dictated by a desire to assist his mother and to obtain legal entry into the United States, the fact remains that he did nothing to regularize his status for some twelve years. Furthermore, from 1939 until the end of World War II there is nothing in the record of this case to indicate that Mr. Engelbert showed real willingness to accept the responsibilities of a permanent resident of the United States. On the contrary, he sought repatriation to Germany during the war, and it was not until after victory had been assured in Europe in 1945 that he withdrew his application and requested adjustment of his immigration status.

Under these circumstances, I see no basis for setting aside the requirements of the immigration law.

Reprinted with permission from John Wolley and Gerhard Peters of the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara at the American Presidency Project.

About The Author

This is part of the presidential paper historical series featuring past presidential public papers related to immigration law. The papers of our past Presidents show the impact of immigration law in American history. We thank the efforts of the American Presidency Project who have gathered these important archival documents.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.