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American Immigration and Citizenship Conference

American Immigration and Citizenship Conference

 

By John E. Hansan, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note This entry includes the five different parts listed below.  In addition, for users interested in the subject, there is another entry  titled Naturalization Process in U.S.: Early History.

  • An Introduction
  • A copy of the Constitution of the National Council on Naturalization and Citizenship adopted January 17, 1930.
  • A copy of the Report of Committee on Organization proposing “A New Broadly Representative Immigration Association” dated January 26, 1954.
  • A copy of the draft Constitution and By-Laws for the newly created American Immigration Conference dated May 1954.
  • A copy of a document distributed February 11, 1960 describing the proposal to merge the National Council on Naturalization and Citizenship and the American Immigration Conference into a new organization: American Immigration and Citizenship Conference.

Introduction: The American Immigration and Citizenship Conference (AICC) and its predecessors, the National Council on Naturalization and Citizenship (NCNC) and the American Immigration Conference (AIC), shared information with and coordinated the activities of organizations and agencies concerned with a more humane, nondiscriminatory immigration and naturalization policy.

The National Council on Naturalization and Citizenship was formed in 1930 as an association of organizations and individuals who sought to reform naturalization laws and regulations. The Council advocated policies and procedures that were humane, uniform, and simple. Among its prominent leaders were Ruth Z. Murphy, Read Lewis, Abram Orlow, and Frank Orlow.

Next, in 1954, the American Immigration Conference was formed by representatives of thirty-one immigration-related organizations and agencies who sought a more humane, nondiscriminatory alternative to the existing national origins quota system.

In 1960, the two organizations, which already shared many officers and activities, merged to form the American Immigration and Citizenship Conference (AICC). The American Immigration and Citizenship Conference served as a clearinghouse of information and coordinated activities for organizations and agencies committed to reforming immigration policy. Its efforts were recognized as influential in shaping the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965. In addition to monitoring legislation and administrative regulations, AICC committees conducted studies on the integration of immigrants and education for citizenship tests. In 1982, AICC became a part of the National Immigration Forum.

* * * * *

(January 17, 1930)

NATIONAL COUNCIL ON NATURALIZATION AND CITIZENSHIP

CONSTITUTION

TITLE

Article I – The name of this organization shall be “National Council on Naturalization and Citizenship”.

Article II – The purpose of this National Council shall be to act as a clearing house for assembling information about naturalization and citizenship laws, procedure, organized naturalization aid and related matters, and to further a

co-ordination of effort to bring about improved conditions.

Article III – The organization shall be· non-partisan.

MEMBERS

Article IV – 1. Membership shall be open to national, state and local organiza­tions and individuals interested in naturalization, citizenship and kindred subjects.

2. Each member organization shall be entitled to two voting re­presentatives.

3. Each individual member shall be entitled to one vote.

4 . Dues:

Individuals shall pay at least $2.00 annually

Local organizations shall pay at least $5,000 annually.

National and federated organizations shall pay at least $10.00 annually.

Article V –   Individuals or organizations may become “Contributors” by paying not less than $25.00 a year.

ORGANIZATION

Article VI – 1. The officers of the National Council shall be a President, a first vice president, four other vice-presidents, a treasurer and a secretary, all of whom shall be elected annually at the annual meeting. The Executive Board shall elect the President for the first year.

2. There shall be an Executive Board of 24 members elected at the annual meeting for terms of three years each, one-third to be elected each year. Eighteen members of the Executive Board shall be elected at the organization meeting in 1930 and shall be divided by lot into groups of six each, the same to serve one, two and three years. The remaining members, from nominations made within thirty days of the time of the organization of this Council, shall be elected by the Executive Board for terms of one, two and three years, also de­termined by lot.

3. The officers of the National Council shall be ex-officio members of the Executive Board.

4. There shall be an advisory committee, appointed by the Executive Board, for terms of one year.

– 2  –

DUTIESOF OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE BOARD

Article VII – 1. Officers as specified in Article VI, paragraph 1, shall per­form duties usually attached to such officers. The first vice-president shall act as chairman of the Executive Board.

2.   It shall be the duty of the Executive Board to secure the necessary financial support of the Council, approve the annual budget, approve the admission of members, determine policies, disburse funds and perform other duties appropriate to the program and policy of the Council.       ·

3. All standing Committees shall be appointed by the Executive Board

4. Special committees authorized by the Executive Board shall be appointed by its chairman.  Membership on such committees is not to be limited to the personnel of the Executive Board.

5. The Executive Board shall fill vacancies among officers and members of the Executive Board. The term of persons so chosen shall extend. to the next annual meeting when they shall be elected according to requirements of the constitution.

Article VIII – 1. Meetings of the National Council other than the annual meeting, whose date shall be determined by the Executive Board, may be called at any time by the Executive  Board, or upon the request of 20  voting members.

2. The members present shall constitute a quorum.

3. Meetings of the Executive Board may be called at any time by the President or the Chairman of the Executive Board.

POLICY

Article IX – Action by the National Council shall not be binding upon member organizations, nor shall the Council  interfere  with the autonomy of any con­stituent agency.

AMENDMENTS

This constitution may be amended by a two-thirds vote of those present and qualified to vote at any regular meeting of the National Council provided notice of such amendment shall have been submitted to all member re­presentatives  in writing not less than ten days in advance 0f such meetings.

Adopted January 17, 1930.

* * * * * *

January 26, 1954

A   NEW BROADLY REPRESENTATIVE  IMMIGRATION  ASSOCIATION  PROPOSED

The Immigration Policy Committee on May 25, 1953 authorized a Committee on Organization to study  and recommend  a plan of inter-agency structure to make possible the widest possible participation of agencies interested in immigration, the most effective cooperation in those matters requiring common action, and a broadly representative body which would be the point of clearance in immigration matters.

After careful study, this Committee expresses its consensus that a new and broadly-based organization of national and local agencies interested in immigra­tion is desirable and that such a new organization might achieve greater co­ordination among its members, reduce the present multiplicity and overlapping of activities in this field, make the special skills and knowledge of existing agencies more widely available, provide a more effective  common program, and advance a humanitarian and non-discriminatory immigration policy.

It is therefore recommended that a new national organization be set up by those agencies wishing to cooperate in this way.

The Purpose of the Proposed Organization would be to bring together the non-profit; non-political, American organizations (?) which believe in a humanitarian, non-discriminatory immigration policy in keeping with the best traditions of the United States, in order to further:

1.   Interchange of information and experience,

2.  More effective cooperation, and

3. Joint action by agencies desiring it;

and to work together for:

4.   Public education in behalf of an immigration policy consistent with the goals of the organization,

5. Improvement of American immigration law and its admin­istration,

6. Representation of non-governmental American agencies in international conferences in the migration field, and

7. The best interests of the field as a whole.

Why a New Organization? A new organization is needed to provide more in­clusive cooperation and coordination than it has been possible to achieve thus far. Its membership should be broad enough to cover the entire immigration field. Participation should be open to all agencies which meet membership requirements and a special effort should be made to include those not located in New York, in order that it may be genuinely national in scope and influence. Management and formulation of policy should be as democratic as possible, with officers and board elected at regular intervals and representative of the field as a whole.

A new organization is needed not so much to do new things, as to do better and more economically what is now  being done through a number of channels developed in recent years. Thuswe have had the Immigration Policy Committee, the Joint Conference  on Alien Legislation, the U. S. Section of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations, the Immigration Luncheon Group, etc.  Each of these efforts suggests a function which clearly needs to be a part of a coordinated whole.

Improvements in legislation, long-range cooperation on educational programs, discussion of basic philosophy and goals, participation of American agencies in international programs and conferences, consideration of administrative problems, planning for unmet needs — these are all important functions. Most of them are now being carried in a variety of ways. Some of the existing groups could be merged with increased effectiveness and economy in the new association.  Some would doubtless need to continue their present specialized functions, but with a clear relation to and coordination with the immigration field as a whole. It is not intended that the proposed association should  in anyway duplicate or interfere with activities of participating groups.

It is recognized that the organizations which it is hoped will join this new association will, from time to time, disagree as to what is best for im­proving American immigration policy. It seems important, however, that the organizations which approach questions of immigration policy from the same general point of view should have a common meeting ground, both for exchanging information and viewpoints, discussing differences, and. effecting  the widest possible cooperation and agreement.

Suggested Organizational Structure. It is recommended that the structure of the proposed organization be along the following lines:

1.   There shall be two kinds of members: active and cooperating.

2. Active membership shall be open to non-profit, non-political American welfare or civic agencies which believe in a humani­tarian, non-discriminatory immigration policy in keeping with the best traditions of the United States, and which either are operating in the immigration field, or are concerned with immigration policy as part of their permanent program.

3. Cooperating membership shall be open to non-profit, non­-political agencies and individuals who believe in such an im­migration policy,  but are not elgible to active membership.

4.  The Board of Directors, subject to review by the organization, shall have power to make additional requirements for member­ ship, to define more exactly the foregoing requirements, and to provide procedures for the admission of new members.

5. The Board of Directors, subject to review by the organization, shall have power to establish dues for active and cooperating members, to create different classes of active and cooperating members for the purpose of dues, and to establish different rates of dues for the different classes of both active and cooperating members.

6.  The membership of any active or co·operating member may be terminated for cause and after opportunity to be heard, by a three-fourths vote of the Board of Directors.

Board of Directors:

1. The affairs of the organization shall be managed by a Board of Directors.

2. This Board shall consist of the officers of the organization and 30 other directors elected at the annual meeting of the organization by vote of its active members for a term of two years, half to be elected one year and half the next. Vacancies in the Board occurring between annual meetings may be filled by the Board of Directors at any meeting.

3. The persons elected to the Board shall, so far as practic­able, include a balanced representation from different sections of the country and from the different groups making up its population.

Officers:

1.   The officers of the organization shall be a Chairman, one or more Vice Chairmen, a Treasurer, and such other officers as the organization shall elect.

2. The officers shall be elected at the annual meeting of the organization and shall serve for one year or until their successors are elected. Any vacancy occurring between annual meetings may be filled by the Board of Directors at any meeting.

Committees:

The Board of Directors may create an Executive Committee and such other committees as it sees fit, to be constituted in such manner and to have such powers a shall provide.

Conferences:

Conferences of all active and cooperating members of the asso­ciation shall, so far as practicable, be arranged at frequent intervals by the Board of Directors in order to promote interchange of experience and opinion with respect to existing immigration problems.  Any action taken at such conferences shall be in the form of recommendations to the Board of Directors.

Annual Meeting:

1. The annual meeting of the organization shall be at a time to be fixed by the Board of Directors.

2.  The annual meeting shall elect the officers of the organiza­tion for the ensuing year, and Directors as provided above. Only active members of the organization shall be entitled to vote in such elections.

Public Action:

1.  The organization shall not engage in lobbying or any other practices not appropriate for non-profit, tax-exempt organizations.

2. Subject to this restriction, the organization shall, by appropriate means,  bring the experience of its member agencies throughout the country to bear on improving American immigration law and its administration.

3. The organization  shall support only those proposals re­lating to legislation which have been approved by its active members by the unanimous vote of those voting.

Relation of Organization to its Members:

1.  Action by the organization on any proposal shall not be binding on any of its members. Each member agency shall retain complete freedom of action.

2. The organization shall not use the name of any of its members in connection with public proposals, unless specifically authorized by them to do so.

Amendments:

Its Constitution and By-Laws may be amended by the affirmative vote of the active members at any meeting of  the organization, in written notice of which the amendment shall have been set forth, or at any other time by the written assent of active members of the organization, provided the amendment has previously been recommended by the Board of Directors.

Name:

Among the names which have been suggested for the new organiza­tion are the following: American Immigration Association, American Immigration Conference, Association of American Agencies Interested in Immigration (Triple A Triple I), American Conference on Immigra­tion Policy, Conference  on American  Immigration  Policy,  etc.

Getting the New Organization Under Way. However desirable the proposed or­ganization may be, setting-up a successful operation will depend in large part on obtaining the necessary personnel and means. It is important, therefore, that early action be taken to explore the practicability of obtaining financial support.

A qualified secretary or secretariat will need to be provided by:

l.   Direct employment,

2. Loan of staff by member agency, or

3. Arrangement with some agency for particular services, to be rendered in the name of and under the control of the association.

Any of these alternatives would involve at least some financing. A budget would be determined by the Board of Directors, based both on the needs of the program and on the amount of membership dues, individual and agency contributions and foundation support available.

SUGGESTED PROGRAM FOR PROPOSED ASSOCIATION

The following addendum is submitted to give a more realistic picture of how the proposed organization might carry out a program.  It is merely a suggestion.

Annual Meeting: This would be the plenary session of the Association.  It could be made up of one or more sessions on various aspects of immigration policy and law, with a business session for the election of officers, the adoption of appropriate resolutions both substantive and administrative, budget, etc.

Conferences: One or more per yea as may be deemed necessary.

Board of Directors: Would meet semi-annually, quarterly, or more often, if necessary, to carry on the business of the Association between annual meetings.  The Board would receive reports of standing committees and decide matters of policy and administration.

Executive Committee: Would be comprised of the officers of the Association and a small number of other directors to act, when necessary, in emergency situations between meetings of the Board of Directors.

Standing Committees: Would meet as often as necessary to carry out decisions of the annual meeting, Board of Directors, or Executive Committee, as the case might be. Among the suggested committees are:

A. Relating to Substantive Activities:

1. Public Education: To prepare and stimulate the preparation of necessary printed materials and audio-visual aids and encourage their use.  Also to set up a speakers bureau and if necessary to sponsor a clinic to train speakers.

2. Legislation: To analyze immigration legislation, to recommend changes in existing legislation in  keeping with the goals of the Association and to prepare such analyses and recommendations for publication by the Association through its Committee on Public Education.

3. Administrative Problems:  To receive reports  from those agencies or organizations which deal with immigration regulations and practices; to exchange information on administrative problems; and to recommend representations to government officials regarding administrative policy when need for such action is indicated.

4. Local Communities: To stimulate the organization of local committees on immigration where deemed necessary, to assist in their formation and subsequent programming; and to assist existing organizations as needed.

5. Studies and Research: To collect all studies that relate to the interest of the organization; encourage studies that need to be made; undertake any particular research that the organization wishes to make itself.

B. Relating to the Organization and Administration:

6. Membership: To process applications for membership in the Association.

7. Ways and Means: To recommend the budget of the Association and to devise methods for raising it; to be responsible for all financial matters; to make arrangements for the hiring of a full or part-time staff and to handle any personnel problems.

* * * * * *

(May, 1954)

(Draft)

CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS

of

AMERICAN IMMIGRATION CONFERENCE

ARTICLE I

Name

The name of this organization shall be American Immigration Conference.

ARTICLE II

Purpose

The purpose of this organization shall be to bring together the non­-profit, non-political, American agencies which believe in a humanitarian, non­-discriminatory immigration policy in keeping with the best traditions of the United States, in order to further:

1. Interchange of information and experience,

2. More effective cooperation, and

3. Joint action by agencies desiring it;

and to work together for:

4. Public education in behalf of an immigration policy consistent with the goals of the organization,

5. Improvement of American immigration law and its administration,

6. Representation of non-governmental American agencies in international conferences in the migration field, and

7. The best interests of the field as a whole.

ARTICLE III

Membership

1. There shall be two kinds of members: active and cooperating.

2. Active membership shall be open to non-profit, non-political American welfare or civic agencies which believe in a humanitarian, non-discriminatory immi­ gration policy in keeping with the best traditions of the United States, and which either are operating in the immigration field or are concerned with immigration policy as part of their permanent program.

3. Cooperating membership shall be open to non-profit, non-political agencies and individuals who believe in such an immigration policy, but are not eligible to active membership.

4. The Board of Directors; subject to review by the organization, shall have power to make additional requirements for membership, to define more exactly the foregoing requirements, and to provide procedures for the admission of new members.

– 2 –

5. The Board of Directors, subject to review by the organization, shall have power to establish dues for active and cooperating members, to create differ­ent classes of active and cooperating members and establish different rates of dues for the different classes of both active and co­operating members.

6.    The membership of any active or cooperating member may be terminated for cause and after opportunity to be heard, by a three-fourths vote of the Board of Directors.

7. Only active members of the organization shall be entitled to vote.

ARTICLE IV

Board of Directors

1. The affairs of the organization shall be managed by a Board of Directors.

2. This Board shall consist of the officers of the organization and 30 other directors elected at the annual meeting of the organization by vote of its active members for a term of two years, half to be elected one year and half the next.  Vacancies in the Board occurring between annual meetings may be filled by the Board of Directors at any meeting.

3. The persons elected to the Board shall, so far as practicable, in­clude a balanced representation from different sections of the country and from the different groups making up its population.

ARTICLE V

Officers

1. The officers of the organization shall be a Chairman, one or more Vice Chairmen, a Treasurer, and such other officers as the organization shall elect

2. The officers shall be elected at the annual meeting of the organiza­ tion and shall serve for one year or until their successors are elected.  Any vacancy occurring between annual meetings may be filled by the Board of Directors at any meeting.

ARTICLE VI

Committees

The Board of Directors may create an Executive Committee and such other committees as it sees fit, to be constituted in such manner and to have such powers as the Board from time to time shall provide.

ARTICLE VII

Conferences

Conferences of all active and coooperating members of the association shall, so far as practicable, be arranged at frequent intervals by the Board of Directors in order to promote interchange of experience and opinion with respect to existing immigration problems.  Any action taken at such conferences shall be in the form of recommendations to the Board of Directors.

ARTICLE VIII

Annual Meeting

1. The annual meeting of the organization shall be at a time to be fixed by the Board of Directors.

2. The annual meeting shall elect the officers of the organization for the ensuing year, and Directors as provided above.

ARTICLE IX

Public Action

1.    The organization shall not engage in lobbying or any other practices not appropriate for non-profit, tax-exempt organizations.

2. Subject to this restriction, the organization shall, by appropriate means, bring the experience of its member agencies throughout the country to bear on improving American immigration law and its administration.

3. The organization shall support only those proposals relating to legislation which have been approved by its active members by the unanimous vote of those voting.

ARTICLE X

Relation of Organization to Its Members

1. Action by the organization on any proposal shall not be binding on any of its members. Each member agency shall retain complete freedom of action.

2. The organization shall not speak for member agencies and shall not use the name of any of its members in connection with public proposals, unless specifically authorized by them to do so.

ARTICLE XI

Amendments

This Constitution and By-Laws may be amended by the affirmative vote of the active members at any meeting of the organization, in written notice of which the amendment shall have been set forth, or at any other time by the written assent of a majority of the active members of the organization, provided the amendment has previously been recommended by the Board of Directors.

* * * * *

AMERICAN IMMIGRATION CONFERENCE

509 Madison Avenue

New York 22, N.Y.

February 11, 1960

TO MEMBERS OF THE AMERICAN IMMIGRATION CONFERENCE:

As you know, the merger of the American Immigration Conference and the National Council on Naturalization and Citizenship has been under discussion for some months. The Board of the AIC considered it at its meetings on Octo­ber 16 and January 21, and has twice voted its approval. The NCNC membership has approved.  It is now up to the AIC membership to take action.

This involves amending the AIC Constitution and By-Laws: changing the name of the organization to American Immigration and Citizenship Conference and adding the words naturalization and citizenship, or nationality at appropriate points (as shown by the underlining in the attached copy of our Constitution and By-Laws) in order to reflect the broadened interests of the organization.

The Board of the AIC has voted in favor of these changes in the Con­stitution and is submitting them to you in accordance with Article XI of our Constitution. To become effective they must be approved by a majority of our active members. A ballot and return envelope is enclosed for this purpose.

If so approved, it has been agreed that the merger will go into effect at the conclusion of the 30th anniversary NCNC Conference and luncheon on Friday, March 18, 1960.

To further implement the proposed merger, the AIC Board, in agreement with NCNC, has taken the following action, contingent on the approval of the merger by AIC ‘s membership:

1. That all NCNC organization members in good standing, not already active members of AIC and not prepared to pay the full membership dues required by AIC, shall be held to be a special class of active members of the American Immigration and Citizenship Con­ference for a period of two years for the dues they are now paying NCNC, but for not less than 10

2. That all individual members of NCNC in good standing shall be cooperating members of the American Immigration and Citizenship Conference for two years, for the dues they are now paying NCNC, but for not less than $10 a year.

3. That the American Immigration and Citizenship Conference establish a standing Committee on Education of the Foreign Born, membership on which shall be open to all present NCNC members irrespective of their membership in the American Immigration and Citizenship Con­ference as a whole.

– 2  –

4.  That ten persons selected by NCNC from among its officers, Board and Advisory Committee, not already serving on the AIC Board, shall be added to the Board of the American Immigration and Citizenship Conference.

5. That the present President, Secretary, and Chairman of the Board of NCNC shall serve respectively as a Vice-President, Secretary, and a Vice-Chairman of the Board of the American Immigration and Citizenship Conference.

6. That the present Secretary (also Executive Secretary) of the AIC shall be the Executive Vice-President of the American Immigration and Citizenship Conference.

Since the merger amendments to the Constitution were being submitted to you, the AIC Board at its meeting on January 21 also approved three small formal amendments not connected with the merger, and recommends their approval. These are:

1.  Insertion of the words “exclusively educational, scientific and charitable” in Article II, so that it would read: “The purpose of this organization shall be exclusively educational, scientific and charitable: to bring together the nonprofit, non-political American agencies which believe” etc.

2. Changing the words “Chairman” to “President” and “Vice-Chairmen” to “Vice-Presidents” in Article V, paragraph 1, so that it would read: “1. The officers of the organization shall be a President, one or more Vice-Presidents, a Treasurer and such other officers as the organization shall elect.” The purpose of this is to make the Constitution conform in language to our actual practice.

3. Changing the word “association” to “organization” in Article VII, as already underlined in the attached draft. In all other articles of the Constitution the AIC has been called an organization, not an association. It seems wise to correct this slip here.

It would be appreciated if you would mark and return your ballot as promptly as possible.

Ruth Z. Murphy

Executive Secretary

Source: American Immigration and Citizenship Conference Records, 1932-1968. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Social Welfare History Archives. Minneapolis, MN: https://www.lib.umn.edu/swha

For More Information: the history of the three organizations is available in Romanofsky, Peter, ed. Social Service Organizations (The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Institutions). Westport, CT: 1978. 87-92, 519-23.

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