Refugee Relief Act (United States) (1953)


Enacted on August 7, 1953, the Refugee Relief Act (RRA) authorized the granting of 205,000 special nonquota visas apportioned to individuals in three classes, along with accompanying members of their immediate family, including refugees (those unable to return to their homes in a communist or communist-dominated country “because of persecution, fear of persecution, natural calamity or military operations”), escapees (refugees who had left a communist country fearing persecution “on account of race, religion, or political opinion”), and German expellees (ethnic Germans then living in West Germany, West Berlin, or Austria who had been forced to flee from territories dominated by communists). Visas were allotted to the following groups: German expellees (55,000); Italian refugees (45,000); German escapees (35,000); escapees residing in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, Turkey, Sweden, Iran, or Trieste (25,000, including second, third, and fourth preferences); Greek refugees (17,000, including second, third, and fourth preferences); Dutch refugees (17,000, including second, third, and fourth preferences); refugees who had taken refuge in U.S. consular offices in East Asia but were not indigenous to the region (2,000); refugees who had taken refuge in U.S. consular offices in East Asia and were indigenous to the region (3,000); Chinese refugees (2,000); and those qualifying for aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (2,000). The act also provided for 4,000 nonquota visas for eligible orphans under 10 years of age. An act of September 11, 1957 reassigned unused visas from the 1953 quota.
See also refugee status.

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