Lapas attēli

citizen of the better type-in brief, to become assimilated.

In the present chapter are discust the conditions of a number of institutions already in existence, which are attempting to meet these needs. Later will be suggested a way of improving these institutions, or of providing better institutions to carry these purposes through.

Immigrant Homes and Aid Societies

When the immigrant reaches his port of destination in the United States, it is desirable that he be so received as to make upon him a good impression, and particularly that he shall not, through his ignorance of the language and of the new conditions, fall into difficulties which may either cause him suffering or prejudice him unfavorably against the institutions of the country of his adoption.


Usually, immigrants to the United States know, in advance, that they are going to join relatives or friends who have preceded them. Often, however, these friends are situated hundreds or even thousands of miles from the port of entry; in other cases, through some misunderstanding, they fail to meet their friends. when they enter the port. Very often the immigrants need advice or a place where they can remain in safety for a few days while they are getting their bearings and learning just what it is best to do. In order to meet these needs there have been established at a number of our important ports societies that, with the permission of the Government, send repre

sentatives to the port of entry, in order that they may note those immigrants who are in need, may give them advice; may, if necessary, furnish them a place where they can remain for a few days until their first needs are met. Usually, the immigrants who need this assistance are:

(a) Those whose friends and relatives failed to meet them at the immigrant station, and whom the authorities do not deem it wise to land, unless some one becomes responsible for their care, but for whom some provision must be made.

(b) Those who are without sufficient money to enable them to reach their destination and who must therefore be cared for until their friends may send them the necessary funds; and

(c) Particularly women and girls who have no friends or relatives in this country and who are in need of some home where they may stay in safety until they can secure employment-this class calling for special consideration.

It is the usual custom at Ellis Island for those immigrants when friends fail to call for them within five days, either to leave the immigrant station in company with a representative of some philanthropic or religious society, or to return to Europe on a steamship of the line which has brought them hither. It would thus seem that there is an opportunity for a properly organized and properly conducted immigrant home or immigrant aid society to accomplish a work of the very greatest importance both to the immigrant and to the country. It is, however, desirable that this work be very carefully done, under discreet supervision, in order to assure the best and most humane results.


At the port of New York alone, in the year 1907, over 14,800 immigrants were put into the hands of missionaries and representatives of these immigrant homes. Moreover, these figures are much below those that might be shown if all cases were noted. One home alone, for example, provided with board and lodging during that year 5,378 men, 1,822 women, and 60 children. Of this number only 922 men, 1,062 women and 34 children were sent to the home by the immigration authorities.

In New York, in June, 1908, there were 41 separate organizations engaged in this work, that kept at Ellis Island no fewer than 87 missionaries and representatives. All these representatives are supposed to furnish their services free of charge to the immigrants and to be persons of high character, into whose hands it is safe to place the needy immigrant ignorant of the customs of this country. Unfortunately, investigations have shown that in many instances these representatives are not worthy people, and that the homes have been so conducted as to be not a help but a menace to the immigrant.

These missionaries and representatives of the homes, when meeting the immigrants, are supposed to write letters for them, to help them get into communication with their friends and relatives, to trace lost baggage, to give religious consolation in time of need, to escort them without charge to their destinations in the city, to assist them in going to their destinations in different sections of the country and to notify in advance the friends and relatives or the representatives of organizations in those cities, so that

they may be properly met. Besides this, they often distribute clothing, Bibles, and other literature, and sometimes sell Bibles or other books to those who wish to purchase them. Moreover, for immigrants who have been detained by the immigration authorities, and whose cases may perhaps be treated with undue haste, owing to the pressure of business, they appear before the Board of Special Inquiry and assist them in presenting their case.


The Government, recognizing the need, has, generally speaking, welcomed these missionaries and representatives of the immigrant homes. In some of the stations it has provided them office room, and given them access to the immigrants whenever this seems to them desirable. Unfortunately, it has seemed that the missionaries are sometimes not worthy of the confidence that has been reposed in them. In many cases they seem to feel that they are doing their work best when they get the largest number of immigrants put into their care. Moreover, in some instances at least, they wish to get these immigrants, in order that they may make a profit. One or two have even declared that their institutions could not exist unless they received immigrants from the immigrant station. Altho they are supposed to furnish their services free, or at actual cost, there have been instances where a representative of a home has brought immigrants that were placed in his charge back to the station, saying that he could not receive them because they had no money.


The work done by the representatives of these societies in appearing before the Board of Special Inquiry and seeing to it that the immigrants get justice, is often a worthy work, altho in some cases they push unduly the claims of the immigrants and even violate the spirit of our immigration law. According to the report of one of the societies, in 1907 their representatives appealed 1,906 cases. As the result of this appeal, 1,252 were admitted and only 654 debarred. This shows that in this case, at any rate, the societies' work was needed.

On the other hand, there have been instances where the agents of the societies have attempted to secure the admittance into this country of contract laborers contrary to law. Agents of the Immigration Commission, representing themselves to be agents of firms who wished to employ immigrants from Europe, asked some of these representatives if they could import workmen. In certain instances they agreed to do so. One asked to think the proposition over, with the evident intention of engaging in the work, while some stated that they would be glad to go back to their own country to get the immigrants to come and to see to it that they were well placed in positions here— even tho this entire activity is contrary to law. With scarcely any exceptions, it was found that at the immigrant stations there were some worthless, unprincipled missionaries and representatives, altho, of course, in many cases, these representatives were worthy people. The certainty of the unworthiness and lack of principle is shown from the fact that one, a clergyman, frequently went to an immigration sta

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