War Brides Act (Act of December 28, 1945) (1945)


The War Brides Act was the first of several related measures to allow United States soldiers to bring their alien brides and families into the United States following World War II (1941–45). Originating in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Act of December 28, 1945, as the War Brides Act was officially entitled, authorized admission to the United States of alien spouses and minor children outside the ordinary quota system following World War II (see World War II and immigration). In 1947, the measure was amended to include Asian spouses. The Act of June 29, 1946—commonly known as the Fiancées Act—authorized admission of fiancées for three months as nonimmigrant temporary visitors, provided they were otherwise eligible and had a bona fide intent to marry. Although provisions of the highly restrictive Johnson-Reed Act (1924) were still in place, these and other special postwar measures, such as the Displaced Persons Act, played a significant role in facilitating the largest wave of immigration to the United States since the 1920s.
The War Brides Act was amended by the Act of July 22, 1947, eliminating race as a determining factor and thus allowing Chinese, Japanese, and Filipina spouses to be covered. The War Brides Act and the Fiancées Act were further amended by the Act of April 21, 1949, extending the expiration date of the original measure to September 11, 1949.
U.S. servicemen began bringing British brides home as early as 1942, but as quotas for Britain under the Johnson- Reed Act were high, these brides required no special legislation. Eventually some 115,000 British, 7,000 Chinese, 5,000 Filipina, and 800 Japanese spouses were brought to the United States, as well as about 25,000 children. About 15,000 British, 1,500 Australian, and 1,000 European fiancées were covered by the measure.

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