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surrounding their home life. In the very crowded districts of the great cities the conditions of living are such that the normal instincts of modesty and propriety are, in many cases, almost inevitably deadened, with the result that yielding to temptation is much easier and more frequent than would otherwise be the case. Low wages are in themselves scarcely ever a direct cause.
The investigations of the Immigration Commission seem to show very clearly that the keepers of disorderly houses and those most actively engaged in the work of procuring inmates for these houses, either in this country or abroad, are either aliens or the children of aliens.
All such figures, however, are likely to be misleading. The opinions of the agents of the Commission, of the police, and of others familiar with the situation, lead one to the conclusion that the largest proportion of prostitutes entering the country are French; the Hebrews seem rather to have engaged in the life after entering the country. The Hebrews seem, on the other hand, to be more active as procurers and pimps in seducing the young girls here and persuading them to enter the life.
The report of the Commission of Immigration for 1914 gives the total number of nationalities debarred for prostitution as follows: English, 57; French, 32; German, 37; Hebrew, 27; Mexicans, 107. Those debarred as procurers: English, 37; French, 14; Germans, 31; Hebrews, 6; Mexicans, 65. These figures. bring into evil prominence the Mexicans and English. Deportation after admission show like results.*
• Annual Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, p. 105.
Of the women who are thus imported for immoral purposes, either willingly or against their will, certain nationalities seem to be especially prominent. The numbers of some of the different races convicted in the night court have been given on page 64; but these convictions are, of course, no certain measure of the numbers or proportions of those imported.
The motive of business profit has given the impulse which creates and upholds this traffic, whether carried on in this country or whether the women are imported. The persons actively engaged in enticing women into the business have only profit in view.
METHODS OF ENTRY AND EXPLOITATION
In securing entry into this country contrary to law, these women are generally brought in as wives or relatives of the importers. It is usually very difficult, if not impossible, to detect these cases; and after admission it is likewise extremely difficult to secure such evidence as to justify deportation.
The system of exploitation on the part of the procurers and other persons engaged in the traffic is extremely brutal and revolting, resulting almost invariably in absolute poverty and dependence on the part of the victim and usually within a comparatively short time in disease and an early death.
Results of Traffic
It is, of course, impossible to discuss in detail the evil results of this traffic in immigrants. Suffice it
to say that it has materially heightened the gross evils of prostitution. Unnatural practises are brought largely from continental Europe; the fiendish work of the procurers and pimps is largely done by aliens or immigrants; diseases are spread more widely among guilty and innocent; even the ancient vice of the use of men and boys for immoral purposes is coming from abroad.
Fortunately, the investigation of the Commission aroused the public to action. Their report has been followed by others made by private Commissions, especially in Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York. The governments and courts seem now to be doing really effective work.
LEGISLATION AND ADMINISTRATION
Under the recommendation of the Commission new laws have been passed by Congress, and in a number of our States much more stringent laws have been passed since the report of the Immigration Commission, so that at the present time, with a reasonable degree of effort on the part of well-meaning citizens and reasonable diligence on the part of the police officials and of the courts, the worst evils of the traffic may be, and in many instances have already been, decidedly checked and the worst criminals have in many instances been convicted. The remedy in this, as in most such matters, is to maintain a sufficient degree of intelligent knowledge on the part of the thoughtful normal citizen, and a willingness to deal with such a revolting. subject with frankness, intelligence, conservatism and firmness, unmixed with fanaticism and prejudice. In the appendix will be found the later laws of Congress
and one of the best of the states' laws covering this subject.
Importance Attached to the Social Effects of
In most of the discussions on immigration that have appeared during the last few years, whether the immigrant came from Europe or from Asia, great importance has been attached to the social effects of immigration arising from the personal qualities of the immigrants. Many have feared that the physical standards of the population of the United States would be lowered by the incoming of diseased persons; that the arrival of immigrants and paupers would prove not merely a financial burden but also a menace to the morals of the community; while the late discussions over the white slave traffic and other forms of vice have served still more strongly to accentuate this belief in the social evils arising from immigration.
The late investigations of the Immigration Commission show that, vital as the social effects are, relatively speaking, undue significance has been attached during the past few years to these social effects as a motive for legislation. While there are still many improvements to be made in our immigration laws and in their administration, nevertheless at the present time there is no serious danger to be apprehended immediately from the social defects of the immigrants, as has already been shown in this chapter. The number of persons afflicted with contagious diseases or insanity, or the number of paupers or criminals arriving, taking them as individuals, is very large, but taken as a percentage of the entire number coming is so small that too much heed need not be paid to it. Of
course, this does not mean that we ought not to make every effort possible to lessen still further these evils. Every effort possible should be made, and special emphasis should be placed upon caring for the immigrants after their arrival, in order to bring them as soon as possible into harmony with our best institutions. But these evils should not blind our eyes to those of more far reaching import.
The chief danger of immigration lies, not in this direction, but in the field of industry. When immigrants who are unskilled laborers arrive in so large. numbers that the tendency is for them to lower the average rate of wages and the standard of living among the wage-earners, the danger is one much more far reaching, and one to which our statesmen should give earnest attention. This includes indirectly often social effects as well. A number of later chapters will serve to show how imminent this industrial danger is, in what form it appears, and the way in which it should be met. This, rather than the immediate social evils, is the most difficult phase of the immigration problem, and at the moment it is the most important phase. It is this that calls for prompt legislation.