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of character, of purpose, of future promise. Often on account of the defects of a single member, the law commands the separation of a family, or the turning back of all its members from what has been to them a land of promise. At times the rigid enforcement of the law means the public disgrace of one who to his family and the world at large has borne hitherto a good reputation, and whose exposure would seem to work only injury to all. Sometimes even the decision to reject what the law requires, seems little else than the death warrant of the applicant.

For officials vested with such responsibilities, the immigration service should demand and pay for men of ability, training, and the highest character.



Few New Laws Needed

From the discussion in the preceding chapters it appears that in many directions our immigration laws are satisfactory, and are administered with a satisfactory degree of efficiency. On some few, but extremely important matters, however, further legislation or some changes in the administrative methods seem desirable.

It appears from the investigations of the Immigration Commission, as has been stated in preceding chapters, that the health of our country is fairly well protected along all lines affected by immigration, with the exception of the diseased alien seamen, who, owing to the laxity of our laws regarding the inspection of seamen, frequently bring contagious or loathsome diseases into this country.

There seems little need of further legislation to exclude paupers or those likely to become a public charge. The present rather rigid enforcement of the laws as shown by the customs regarding certain classes of immigrants, such as the Hindus, who are held likely to become public charges, not so much because they are physically or mentally weak, but because of the race prejudice against them—is likely to prevent any serious danger from this source.

On the other hand, it seems desirable that more effective measures be taken to prevent the further

admission of immoral persons and of criminals, both those coming as immigrants and as passengers on our steamers, and especially, perhaps, those coming as alien seamen, with the intention of entering the country by desertion. . . . The bill of 1917 will undoubtedly do much to correct these evils just mentioned.

The chapter on congestion in our great cities, and still worse in some of our mining and manufacturing centers, makes clear the need of making better provision for the distribution into the smaller towns, and especially into the agricultural districts, of a much larger proportion of the immigrants.


Of far greater importance, however, than any legislation along these lines is the necessity of further restriction on account of our present industrial conditions.

As has clearly appeared from the preceding chapters, the great increase of immigration of late years has been such that there has been beyond doubt a strong tendency toward the lowering of the standard of living of our industrial laborers. As, according to the so-called Gresham's law in the distribution of the monetary circulating medium, a poorer currency tends to drive out a better one, so among the wage-earning classes in any community, as Mr. Mackenzie King has pointed out, a like principle is found. The wageearners with the lowest standard of living, even tho they are somewhat less efficient, tend strongly to replace the more ambitious workers with higher standards. With their lower ideals they will underbid for employment, and the employers naturally hire the cheaper workmen, even tho, in the long run, the community may be injured.

Such a result is not merely detrimental to our own people, but any lowering of the standard of living in this country could not fail to have a depressing effect in other sections of the world. It is, therefore, extremely desirable that this result be prevented; and the easiest and most effective way of guarding against this evil seems to be the adoption of further restrictions upon immigration, even tho it may not be necessary that such restrictions be maintained for any great length of time. Along with these restrictive measures, every stimulus should be given, also, to the forces which tend toward the better assimilation of the immigrant.

Recommendations of the Immigration Commission

As a recent brief summary of the main points which should be considered in the way of further legislation, there are printed here the recommendations of the Immigration Commission:


Principles of Legislation

As a result of the investigation, the Commission is unanimously of the opinion that in framing legislation emphasis should be laid upon the following principles:

1. While the American people, as in the past, welcome the opprest of other lands, care should be taken that immigration be such both in quality and quantity as not to make too difficult the process of assimilation.

2. Since the existing law and further special legislation recommended in this report deal with the physically and morally unfit, further general legislation concerning the admission of aliens should be based primarily upon economic or business considerations touching the prosperity and economic well-being of our people.

3. The measure of the rational, healthy development of a country is not the extent of its investment of capital, its output of products, or its exports and imports, unless there is a corresponding economic opportunity afforded to the citizen dependent upon employment for his material, mental, and moral development.

4. The development of business may be brought about by means which lower the standard of living of the wageearners. A slow expansion of industry which would permit the adaptation and assimilation of the incoming labor supply is preferable to a very rapid industrial expansion which results in the immigration of laborers of low standards and efficiency, who imperil the American standard of wages and conditions of employment.


The Commission agrees that,

1. To protect the United States more effectively against the immigration of criminal and certain other debarred classes

(a) Aliens convicted of serious crimes within a period of five years after admission should be deported in accordance with the provisions of House bill 20980, Sixty-first Congress, second session.

(b) Under the provisions of section 39 of the immigration act of February 20, 1907, the President should appoint commissioners to make arrangements with such countries as have adequate police records to supply emigrants with copies of such records, and that thereafter immigrants from such countries should be admitted to the United States only upon the production of proper certificates showing an absence of convictions for excludable crimes.


(c) So far as practicable the immigration laws should be so amended as to be made applicable to alien seamen.


(d) Any alien who becomes a public charge within three years after his arrival in this country should be subject to

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