Clash of Two Immigrant Generations:
Citizens and Exiles
The Hungarian revolt sent a new type of East European refugee to this country. At least several thousand young people among the 32,000 Hungarian refugees now over here were raised in a Communist society, and when they rebelled against it they did so with no thought of restoring pre-war Hungary. These post-Stalinist refugees are as different from the post-World War II newcomers as they are from the mass of immigrants who came here from Eastern Europe between 1890 and 1925.
Most of the new Hungarian refugees are not, however, of the post-Stalinist type. Our immigration laws, which keep out anyone who has ever belonged to a Communist organization, have condemned to Austrian and Yugoslav rather than American exile thousands of the more conscious and dynamic people whose postwar hopes led them into the Communist movement and whose profound disillusionment made them the leaders of the 1956 revolt. Had Imre Nagy, for example, been able to escape the Soviet secret police, President Eisenhower would have been able to offer him political asylum only under special and limited powers; a life-long Communist, Nagy could under no circumstances have been admitted as an immigrant under the McCarran-Walter Act. Many outstanding Hungarians have been compelled to remain in European camps as a result of such legal obstacles.
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