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people came from Europe, their home countries paying the expenses of their shipment in order to rid themselves of the burden of their support, our present regulations excluding those who are liable to become a public charge have practically stopt the immigration of this undesirable class. The Immigration Commission, with the assistance of the Associated Charities in forty-three cities, including practically all the large immigrant centers excepting New York, reached the conclusion that only a very small percentage of the immigrants now arriving applied for relief.

In this statistical investigation,* covering 31,374 cases actually receiving assistance and reporting cause, it was found that 28.7 per cent. had applied for assistance because of the death or disability of the breadwinner of the family; 18.9 per cent. on account of the death or disability of another member of the family; 59 per cent. from lack of employment or insufficient earnings; 18.7 per cent. on account of neglect or bad habits of the bread-winner; 6.2 per cent. on account of old age; and 10 per cent. from other causes.

It will be noted that because more than one reason was given in some cases, this total amounts to more than 100 per cent., but the relative proportions of the cases under the different classes is probably substantially accurate. If we attempt to discriminate among the different races, it appears that it is among the immigrants of the earlier period or those coming from Northern Europe that we find apparently the largest number of cases of neglect or bad habits of the breadwinner. For example, among the South Italians, only 8.7 per cent. give this cause, whereas the Irish give 20.9 per cent., the English 14 per cent., the German

* Reports of Immigration Commission, Vol. 1.


[Compiled from United States Census, Special Report, "Insane and feebleminded in hospitals and institutions, 1904," pp. 9 and 10.]

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December 31, 1903, compared with the total foreign-born population of continental United States in 1900, by country of birth; per cent. distribution. [Compiled from United States Census, Special Report, "Insane and feebleminded in hospitals and institutions, 1904"; pp. 23 and 24.]

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15.7 per cent., the Norwegians 25.9 per cent. The Hebrews, again, as representatives of the later immigrants, give 12.6 per cent., but the Lithuanians, by exception, give 25.6 per cent.

In the case of those giving lack of employment as the cause, the highest percentage is found among the Syrians, 75.4 per cent.; the lowest among the French Canadians, 38.9 per cent. There do not seem to be striking differences in this regard among the other nationalities; among the South Italians 67.8 per cent., the Polish 65.9 per cent., the Irish 54.8 per cent., the English 63.3 per cent., the Germans 58.1 per cent.; the preponderance being slightly greater among the late arrivals than among the early.

On the other hand, if we note the length of time that those assisted have been in the United States, we find that 33.9 per cent. of those who have received aid have been here twenty years or over, whereas only 6 per cent. have been here two years; and if we take all who have been here under three years, it amounts to only 10.3 per cent. Apparently, therefore, the newly arrived immigrants do not soon apply for aid to any large extent. It should be noted, also, that this investigation was made during the six months of the winter of 1908-09, while the effects of the industrial depression of 1907-08 were still felt. These last facts emphasize strongly the effectiveness of our present immigration laws in excluding those likely to become a public charge, as compared with the lack of care in earlier years, when within forty-eight hours of landing large numbers applied for relief.


Probably no other question in connection with immigration has aroused greater interest than its relation to crime. Probably more hostility to the immigrant has been aroused by the assertion that their incoming has increased crime in this country than by any other fact; and yet it is impossible to produce satisfactory evidence that immigration has resulted in an increase of crime out of proportion to the increase in the adult population. Altho available statistical material is too small to permit the drawing of positive conclusions, such material as is available, if trustworthy, would seem to indicate that immigrants are rather less inclined toward criminality, on the whole, than are native Americans, altho these statistics do indicate that the children of immigrants commit crime more often than the children of natives.

Any special study of the relation of immigration to crime should take into consideration not only the number of convictions for crime but also the nature of the crimes committed and possibly the relative likelihood of the detection of crime in different localities or among different classes of the population.


Altho the immigration laws provide for the exclusion of persons who have been convicted of, or confess to, an infamous crime, there can be no doubt that many criminals have succeeded and still succeed in evading this law.

It is, of course, impossible for an immigration inspector to tell from the appearance of a man whether or not he has been a criminal. In many cases crimi

nals, especially those who have committed certain classes of serious crimes, such as forgery or even burglary, may be well drest, intelligent persons, traveling in first cabin. Unless something is known of their previous history, if they do not declare that they have been convicted of crime, they will be admitted without question. Doubtless many aliens enter the United States contrary to the law after having been convicted of a crime, and having served out their sentence; or, having been convicted of crime by foreign courts during their absence from the place of trial, as is permitted in some countries, if they have escaped arrest and fled the country. Moreover, our laws do not exclude persons who have not been convicted of crime altho they may be looked upon as dangerous persons or probably criminals and on that account have been placed by their home courts under police surveillance.

The Immigration Commission,* in order to make as careful a study as possible of this most important question within the means at its disposal, took into careful account the material collected by the United States Census on the extent of crime, going through carefully the latest report regarding prisoners and juvenile delinquents in institutions in 1904. In addition to this, use was made of the records of the County and Supreme Courts of New York State, from 1907 to 1908, of the New York City Magistrates Courts, 1901-1908, and of the New York Court of General Sessions, October 1, 1908 to June 30, 1909, the material in this last case having been especially collected by agents of the Commission.

Furthermore, the records of commitments to penal institutions in Massachusetts, October 1, 1908, and * Reports of Immigration Commission, Vol. 36.

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