Debating Immigration: Wagner-Rogers Bill

Pro Wagner-Rogers Bill

1939, History Unfolded

The debate surrounding the Wagner-Rogers bill was meant to introduce immigration changes. As one of the most powerful countries, America could set a strong example of humanitarian diplomacy.

1906, History

Jewish Post, June 2, 1939, Indiana History Blog

Senator Robert Wagner of New York in his U.S. Senate Portrait, Re-imagining Migration

"Thursday, April 20, 1939

Congress of the United States,

Subcommittee of the Committees on Immigration

Of the Senate and House of Representatives,

Washington, D.C.

...The genesis of the proposal now before you is a profoundly gratifying indication of America’s humanitarian sentiments. Long before there was any thought of legislation on this subject, hundreds of American families, moved by the examples of Holland and Great Britain; had expressed their willingness to take into their homes German refugee children whose parents were willing to put their safety into friendly hands. Shortly after the convening of the of the present Congress, 50 of the country’s outstanding Catholic and Protestant clergymen presented to the President of the United States a moving petition, urging that America do its share in offering refuge to some of these children, 'as a token of our sympathy and as a symbol of our faith in the ideals of human brotherhood.'..."

~ Statement of Hon. Robert F. Wagner, a Senator in Congress from the State of New York

February, 1939, USHMM

President Roosevelt understood Eleanor’s decision to support the bill, but would not publicly endorse it himself.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943, 1943, UHSMM

"I hope very much it will pass. It seems to be a wise way to do a humanitarian thing."

~ Eleanor Rosevelt

The Battle Creek Enquirer and News, Sunday, April 23, 1939, USHMM

Please Ring the Bell for Us, 1939, Facing History and Ourselves

A Decent Deal for Refugee Waifs from Fort Wayne (Ind.) Journal Gazette, February 19, 1939, Re-imagining Migration

Germany expelled 50,000 children under age 14 during 1938-39.  Approximately 10,000 were rescued by Great Britain during the Kindertransport program still leaving many behind.

Passport issued to Gertrud Gerda Levy, who left Germany in August 1939 on a Children's Transport (Kindertransport) to Great Britain. Berlin, Germany, August 23, 1939, USHMM

1942, The Times of Israel