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11. Immigrants in penal and reformatory institutions. 12. Immigrants in institutions for the insane.
13. Immigrants as charity seekers in various cities. 14. Immigrants in charity hospitals.
Other features included in the Commission's plan of work and which required the collection of original data through field agents
1. An inquiry concerning the importation of women for immoral purposes the "white slave" traffic.
2. An investigation of immigrant homes, aid societies, and employment agencies.
3. An investigation of the immigrant bank system, which included also an inquiry relative to the amount of money sent abroad by immigrants.
4. An investigation of conditions under which immigrants are carried at sea.
5. The original plans of the Commission contemplated, in connection with the general field work, an inquiry into the alleged holding of immigrants in peonage in various parts of the country. This was made the subject of a special inquiry, however, because of the following resolution by the House of Representatives, adopted March 2, 1908:
Resolved, That the Immigration Commission be requested to make an investigation into the treatment and conditions of work of immigrants on the cotton plantations of the Mississippi Delta, in the States of Mississippi and Arkansas, and upon the turpentine farms, lumber camps, and railway camps in the States of Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and other States; and to report them at as early a date as possible.
In addition to the various branches of the investigation requiring field work, the plan of the Commission contemplated digest work as follows:
1. Review of national and state legislation respecting immigration. 2. Review of United States and European legislation for the regulation of the steerage-passenger traffic.
3. Digest of judicial decisions on aliens, immigration, and the immigration and Chinese-exclusion laws.
4. The immigration situation in other immigrant-receiving countries and the laws of such countries regulating the movement.
5. Statistical review of immigration to the United States from 1819 to date, including revision of data for the earlier years from original reports.
6. Geographical distribution and general status of the foreign-born and their children in census years 1850 to 1900, from census reports.
As previously stated, hearings in the ordinary meaning of that term were not included in the Commission's plan of work. In lieu of this several important societies and organizations interested in various phases of the immigration question were invited to submit in writing such statements as they desired to bring to the attention of the Commission. In response to this invitation several interesting statements were received and these are made a part of the Commission's report.
RACIAL CLASSIFICATION OF IMMIGRANTS.
Since 1899 the Bureau of Immigration has classified arriving immigrants by races or peoples, as well as by country of last permanent residence, and this plan was followed by the Commission in collecting and compiling original data respecting the foreign-born element in the population of the United States. The bureau's classification of races or peoples, which was also adopted by the Commission, is as follows:
In the Commission's work it was sometimes found expedient to amplify the above list somewhat, but in no case were changes made which would render noncomparable the reports of the bureau and of the Commission. In this connection it may be explained that the Commission, like the bureau, uses the term "race" in a broad sense, the distinction being largely a matter of language and geography, rather than one of color or physical characteristics such as determines the various more restricted racial classifications in use, the most common of which divides mankind into only five races. For practical or statistical purposes such classification is obviously without value, and it is rarely employed.
In the United States, until the Bureau of Immigration departed from the custom, practically all statistics dealing with the population had been recorded by country of birth. For immigration purposes prior to 1880 this system was in the main satisfactory, for in the case of immigrants from northern and western Europe the country of birth as a usual thing also fairly established the racial status. With the development of the immigration movement from eastern and southern Europe, however, data based on a knowledge of the country of birth alone indicated practically nothing of the racial status of persons coming from such country to the United States. This may be illustrated by the fact that, according to Bureau of Immigration statistics, as many as 12 different races, all indigenous to the coun
a See pp. 209-211.
try, are represented among immigrants from Austria-Hungary, while people of 7 distinct races come from Russia. In the case of both countries the distinctions are even greater than those indicated merely by language, for among the immigrants the Teutonic, Slavic, Semitic, and even the Mongolian races are all largely represented. The immigration movement from Turkey also furnishes a most striking illustration of the mingling of emigrating races in a single political division, for in the fiscal year 1907 there came from that country to the United States 9,412 Bulgarians, Servians, and Montenegrins, 7,060 Greeks, 952 Syrians, 588 Hebrews, 194 Roumanians, 1,124 Turks, and 1,437 persons of other races. It is not probable that all of these immigrants were born in Turkey, but nevertheless the figures show the uncertain value of a classification by nativity, for while in the absence of other data it might be necessary to assume that all persons of the above group born in Turkey were Turks, as a matter of fact only 1 in about 18 was really of that race.
In most European countries population statistics, including censuses, are recorded by the racial or language classification, and this method has also been followed in Canada for many years. The practice of recording the population of the United States by country or place of birth has been in force since the census of 1850. When the bill providing for the census of 1910 was under consideration in Congress, the Senate, at the instance of the Immigration Commission, inserted an amendment requiring that the foreign-born should be recorded by race as well as by place of birth, but the provision was eliminated from the bill in conference. Later, however, the census act was amended to provide for the enumeration of the foreign-born in the United States according to their "nationality or mother tongue." By this amendment the result desired by the Commission will be essentially attained, except in the case of certain races or peoples whose original language is not in general use and who speak the language of the country where they reside, and both the scientific and practical value of the census undoubtedly will be greatly enhanced.
In recommending the enactment of the above-mentioned amendment Dr. E. Dana Durand, Director of the Census, stated in part as follows:
It is a well-known fact that in several of the leading foreign countries, notably in Russia, Austria, and Turkey, the population is far from being homogeneous, but is made up of a number of decidedly distinct nationalities, sometimes referred to as races. The differences in racial characteristics, language, and habits of life, as between these different sections of the population, are often very marked, and unless they are recognized in enumerating the population from these countries the census will fail to disclose facts which are of much importance from the practical as well as the scientific standpoint. In considering legislation relating to immigration particularly, information with regard to the nationality of the foreign-born population is of great importance.
No adequate statistics of the number of the different leading nationalities among our foreign-born population can be secured, even by the most elaborate method of returning the place of birth. It is true that the census act does not confine the inquiry to country of birth, but reads "place of birth," so that provinces or well-recognized sections within any country can be reported as places of birth. With this in view, the instructions for the population schedule have provided for reporting persons born in Bohemia, Poland, and Lithuania. The number of Bohemians, Poles, and Lithuanians, however, does not correspond at all precisely with the number born in those sections respectively, and the same is still more true with regard to many other provinces and nationalities.
Aside from the scientific value of a report of nationality, it appears that the members of some of the nationalities which are now largely represented in our population feel strongly opposed to a disregard of nationality in the census reports. The various Slavic nationalities coming from Austria-Hungary appear almost unanimously to object to being reported as born in Austria or Hungary, unless the additional information showing their nationality is presented, so that they will not be supposed to be Austrians or Hungarians. This strong feeling on the part of a large number of the population is likely to render it difficult for the enumerators to do their work, and may endanger the accuracy of the returns of these classes.
As far as ascertained by the Commission, the practice of classifying the foreign-born by race or people, rather than by country of birth, is acceptable to the people of such races in the United States with one exception. Indeed, as stated by Doctor Durand, many of them appear to prefer the racial classification to one of nativity, which is only natural, because as a rule they are, both here and in their native countries, more accustomed to the former.
The objection to the racial classification adopted by the Commission, referred to above, was specifically directed against the use of the word "Hebrew " or " Jewish " to designate a race. This objection was voiced by several prominent Hebrews, who contended that the Jews are not a distinct race in an ethnological sense, and that the terms "Hebrew" and "Jewish " rightly refer to a religious sect and not to a race. The alternative suggested was that Hebrews be classed according to the country in which they were born. At a hearing before the Commission December 4, 1909, Hon. Simon Wolf, of Washington, D. C., representing the executive committee of the board of delegates on civil rights of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, appeared in opposition to the use by the Commission of the word "Hebrew" in a racial sense. Hon. Julian W. Mack, of Chicago, also made a similar argument. Mr. Wolf's argument may be briefly summarized by quoting the following extract from his remarks:
The point we make is this: A Jew coming from Russia is a Russian; from Roumania, a Roumanian; from France, a Frenchman; from England, an Englishman; and from Germany, a German; that Hebrew or Jewish is simply a religion.
Mr. Wolf explained, however, that the Jews are not a unit in denying a racial status, but that a certain portion of the Jewish people, especially the Zionists, claim that the Jews are a race.
Subsequent to the hearing above referred to the Commission received several communications from Hebrew organizations urging the continued use of the word "Jew" or "Hebrew" to designate a race or people, one of these petitions being in the form of a special resolution adopted by the federated Jewish organizations of one of the largest cities.
While appreciating the motive which actuated the protest against the designation of the Hebrews as a race or people, the Commission is convinced that such usage is entirely justified. Unfortunately, both the terms in question are used interchangeably to designate a religion as well as a race or people, but the Commission has employed
"For report of hearing see Statements and Recommendations Submitted by Societies and Organizations Interested in the Subject of Immigration. Reports of the Immigration Commission, vol. 41. (S. Doc. No. 764, 61st Cong., 3d sess.)
them only in the latter sense in collecting and compiling data respecting immigrants of the various races. As a matter of fact, the terms "Jewish race" and "Hebrew race" are in common and constant use, even among Hebrews themselves. Many instances of this usage are to be found in the Jewish Encyclopedia, which, in fact, treats of the Jews as a race rather than a religious sect, as appears in the following quotation taken from the introduction to that work:
An even more delicate problem that presented itself at the very outset was the attitude to be observed by the encyclopedia in regard to those Jews who, while born within the Jewish community, have, for one reason or another, abandoned it. As the present work deals with Jews as a race, it was found impossible to exclude those who were of that race, whatever their religious affiliations may have been.
METHODS OF WORK.
By far the greater part of the Commission's work has consisted of the collection and compilation of data respecting recent immigrants in the United States. Something of the extent of the investigation is indicated by the fact that original information was secured for more than 3,200,000 individuals. This number, it will be understood, does not include data secured from existing records, but only such as were directly collected by agents of the Commission, a large number of whom were employed. The nature of the information secured will be clearly understood by reference to the appendix of this report which shows the schedules used in the various inquiries undertaken."
All of the field work of the Commission was carried on under the immediate supervision of committees or members of the Commission or the central office in Washington. This feature of the inquiry was practically concluded on July 1, 1909, and the compilation of data and preparation of reports required the employment of a large office force in Washington.
The result of the inquiry is contained in 42 volumes of varying size, and it is the hope and belief of the Commission that the intent of the Congress as expressed in section 39 of the immigration act of 1907 has been fully carried out.
A complete list of the Commission's reports is presented on the following page.
@ See Vol. II, pp. 651-727.