Francis E. Walter was born in Easton, Pennsylvania. During both World Wars I and II he served in the air service of the United States Navy. He was the director of the Broad Street Trust Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and of the Easton National Bank in Easton. From 1928-33 he was the Solicitor of Northampton County, Pennsylvania. He was a delegate to the 1928 Democratic National Convention. He was elected as a Democrat to the 73rd United States Congress and served until his death in Washington, D.C.
Walter is best known for the McCarran-Walter Act, passed over President Truman’s veto in 1952, which, while it opened naturalization to Asian immigrants for the first time, continued the immigration quota system based on national origin introduced in 1924, and allowed the U.S. government to deport and/or bar from re-entry those identified as subversives, particularly members and former members of the Communist Party. In 1944, he presented President Roosevelt with a letter opener made of an arm bone of a fallen Japanese soldier.
A staunch anti-Communist, he served as chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee during the 84th through 88th Congresses.