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Presidential Papers Historical Series: Veto Of Bill For Relief Of Kurt Glaser

by Dwight D. Eisenhower: 1953-1961

Veto of Bill for Relief of Kurt Glaser
June 3, 1955

To the United States Senate:

            I return herewith, without my approval, S. 143, "For the relief of Kurt Glaser."

The bill would accord permanent residence immigration status to a native of Czechoslovakia who entered this country in July 1951 from Austria as an exchange visitor under one of the programs authorized by the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948.

All of the exchange programs are rounded upon good faith. We can maintain them as effective instruments for promoting international understanding and good will only if we insist that the participants honor their commitments to observe the conditions of the exchange in the same way that they expect the United States to honor its obligations to them. On the one hand, exchange aliens must return to the country from which they came. On the other hand, the United States must not permit either immediate reentry or other evasion of the return rule. Otherwise, the countries from which our exchange visitors come will realize little or no benefit from the training and experience received in the United States, and we shall fail to promote good will toward and better understanding of our way of life.

Unfortunately, the United States Information and Educational Exchange Act does not specifically obligate exchange personnel to return to the country from which admitted and to remain there for a minimum period before being eligible to regain admission to the United States. Administrative requirements have been imposed to compensate for this lack of a specific statutory requirement. Within the last year, however, a number of cases have arisen in which humanitarian and equitable considerations have argued so persuasively against imposing such a requirement that the Congress has been willing to consider and to enact a number of private bills to adjust the status of exchange personnel. By permitting them to remain in the United States for permanent residence, these bills have granted them immigration status without regard to the normal procedures under our immigration laws.

Up to the present time, most of the circumstances which have led to the enactment of each bill have been exceptional. Even though I have recognized that the principle underlying each bill was at variance with the basic concept and philosophy of the exchange programs, I have not been willing to require deportation at the possible risk of creating undue hardship and, in several cases, of jeopardizing the safety of the individual concerned.

Such considerations are not present in the case of Mr. Glaser. I am satisfied that both he and his sponsor understood their obligations to terminate his stay. In fact, the State Department's records indicate that a basic purpose of the sponsoring company in seeking exchange visitors was to train foreign engineers in the company's specialty in cooperation with the International Center of the University of Louisville. Furthermore, certification was signed by the Vice President of the company in which the following appears: "An attempt will be made to insure, insofar as possible, that any exchange visitor coming under the program of the sponsoring agency will adhere to the conditions under which he was admitted to the United States and will depart from the United States on completion of the purpose of the visit." Finally, there is no evidence that a return to Austria will work any hardship on either the company or Mr. Glaser beyond that of disrupting an association which has proved productive, useful, friendly, and profitable.

Under the circumstances, therefore, I feel it is my duty to disapprove this bill and at the same time to recommend enactment by the Congress of a clear statutory requirement that exchange personnel return home and remain there for a minimum period before being eligible to reenter the United States for permanent residence. Such provisions of law will protect the purposes of the exchange program, will prevent unjustifiable evasion of immigration procedures, and will establish legislative policy to guide the Committees of Congress in taking action on future private bills which would set aside the general law. Legislation for this purpose has been forwarded to the Congress by the Department of State this week. I urge its prompt consideration.
            DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

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.


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