Born in Italy while his parents, both naturalized American citizens, were visiting the town of their birth, Ugo Carusi spent his childhood in Barre, Vermont. He attended public schools until 1918, when he went to work in a local law office. By 1922 he was serving as secretary to the Attorney General of Vermont. In 1925, Carusi entered the National University Law School (now known as George Washington University Law School), where he graduated as valedictorian of his class. While attending law school, Carusi served as U.S. Attorney General John G. Sargent’s private secretary. He was appointed executive secretary to the Attorney General in 1930 and served in that capacity until January 1945, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Carusi the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization.
In his two and a half years as Commissioner, Carusi oversaw the Service’s postwar operations, an undertaking that included planning for the emigration of thousands of Europeans left without homes after the war. After Carusi stepped down as Commissioner in 1947, he continued his work with the Federal Government’s refugee programs in various capacities, most notably as Chairman of President Truman’s Displaced Persons Committee in 1948 and as a member of Eisenhower’s Committee for Hungarian Refugee Relief in 1956. In 1967 he traveled to Vietnam as a member of a group representing voluntary relief organizations, which reported to President Johnson on the plight of children left homeless as a result of conflict in that nation. Carusi died in 1994 at the age of 92.
Compiled from the following sources:
Alexander Saxon, “Ugo Carusi, 92, Immigrants Son Who Helped Wartime Refugees,” New York Times, Jul 30, 1994: 27; “Carusi in Refugee Post,” New York Times, Jul 14, 1953: 8; “Ugo Carusi Named Immigration Head,” New York Times, Aug 16, 1944: 11; Annual Report of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1945, 1946, 1947 editions.