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BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE INVESTIGATIONS OF THE IMMIGRATION
BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE INVESTIGATIONS.
The Immigration Commission was created by section 39 of the immigration act of February 20, 1907, which provides as follows:
That a commission is hereby created, consisting of three Senators, to be appointed by the President of the Senate, and three members of the House of Representatives, to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and three persons to be appointed by the President of the United States. Said commission shall make full inquiry, examination, and investigation, by subcommittee or otherwise, into the subject of immigration. For the purpose of said inquiry, examination, and investigation said commission is authorized to send for persons and papers, make all necessary travel, either in the United States or any foreign country, and, through the chairman of the commission, or any member thereof, to administer oaths and to examine witnesses and papers respecting all matters pertaining to the subject, and to employ necessary clerical and other assistance. Said commission shall report to Congress the conclusions reached by it, and make such recommendations as in its judgment may seem proper. Such sums of money as may be necessary for the said inquiry, examination, and investigation are hereby appropriated and authorized to be paid out of the "immigrant fund" on the certificate of the chairman of said commission, including all expenses of the commissioners, and a reasonable compensation, to be fixed by the President of the United States, for those members of the commission who are not members of Congress;
THE IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION OF 1907.
When the bill which was finally enacted as the immigration law of February 20, 1907, was reported from the Senate Committee on Immigration March 29, 1906, it proposed several important amendments to the existing law. However, no change in the immigration policy of the Government was suggested. The "head tax" on immigrants was increased from $2 to $5; imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, unaccompanied children under 17 years of age, and persons "who are found to be and are certified by the examining surgeon as being mentally or physically defective, such mental or physical defect being of a nature which may affect the ability of such aliens to earn a living,' were added to the excluded classes; the provision of existing law excluding prostitutes was amended to also exclude "women or girls coming into the United States for the purpose of prostitution or for any other immoral purpose; " steamship companies were required to furnish lists of outgoing alien passengers; and the creation of a division of distribution in the Bureau of Immigration was authorized.
"Senate bill 4403, Fifty-ninth Congress, first session.
See Volume II, pp. 731-744.
72289 -VOL 1-11-2
In the Senate the bill was amended by the insertion of a litera test, which provided for the exclusion from the United States of all persons over sixteen years of age and physically capable of reading w can not read the English language or some other language; but an admissi' immigrant or a person now in or hereafter admitted to this country may br in or send for his wife, his children under eighteen years of age, and parents or grandparents over fifty years of age, if they are otherwise admissit whether they are so able to read or not.
The bill as amended passed the Senate May 23, 1906.
States, are bein
The House of Representatives Committee on Immigration a Naturalization, to which was referred Senate bill 4403, on May ! 1906, reported by substituting another bill, which, however, did I differ materially from that of the Senate. The "head-tax" vision was the same and the additions to the excluded classes pr tically so, a literacy test similar to that of the Senate being advis The bill as originally reported by the House committee also provid for the exclusion of every adult male who had not $25 in his p territory session, and every female alien and every male alien under 16 ye: Presiden not possessed of $15, provided that $50 in the possession of the he ports to of a family should be considered a sufficient amount for all memb country, of such family, except grown sons. In a subsequent report, p It will sented June 11, 1906, the money-qualification feature was on ted. Each of the House reports was accompanied by a minor report, signed by two members of the committee, in which the Senate cl creased "head tax" and the educational-test provisions were the Hous agreed to. In the House of Representatives the bill was amend refused to by striking out the increased "head-tax" provision and the provis amendmen for a literacy test and by inserting a section creating the Immig existing la tion Commission. The House also adopted the so-called "Littaue In view amendment, which provided as follows:
That an immigrant who proves that he is seeking admission to this cour solely to avoid prosecution or punishment on religious or political grounds, an offense of a political character, or prosecution involving danger of impri ment or danger to life or limb on account of religious belief, shall not deported because of want of means or the probability of his being unable earn a livelihood.
In conference between the two Houses the Senate receded from
of a comm and investi admission t gressional v
policy of th situation in
provision relative to a literacy test; the House receded from the I tauer amendment; the "head-tax" provision was compromised fixing the amount at $4, instead of $5 as provided by the Senate & $2 as provided by the House; the House amendment creating Immigration Commission was agreed to, with an amendment wh provided that the Commission should consist of three Senators, th Members of the House of Representatives, and three persons to be pointed by the President of the United States, instead of two Se tors, three Members of the House, and two citizen members, as provided in the House amendment. The section creating the Co
On Februar the Immigrati Senators: Hon Senate Commi
of whom were
his own request
mission was further amended in conference by the addition of March 2, 1907.
member of the
The President of the United States is also authorized, in the n vacancy. On M
of the Government of the United States, to call, in his discretion, an in national conference, to assemble at such point as may be agreed upon, or to special commissioners to any foreign country, for the purpose of regulating
body, Hon. Beni
international agreement, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate of Bennet. of New
Howell was chair
PLAN AND SCOPE OF THE INQI States; of providing for
aliens by American conBriefly stated, the plan of work adopted at the ports of embarkacluded a study of the sources of recent immihe United States governign governments in their general character of incoming immigrants, such international agreements ad abroad to prevent the immigration of aliens who, under the laws of ti in the United States immigration lawrom entering the United States, and h immigration. 'on into the general status of the m The cons of the United States, and the effed2) to the bill amending section institutions, industries, and peoplee to air space allotted to steerage pad, the chief basis of the Comn the immigration bill under considera luz. of the immigration movemeprovision:
That whenever the President suall be sat.. passports issued by any foreign government to its citizens to go to any cantry other than the United States, or to any insular possession of the United States, or to the Canal Zone, are being used for the purpose of enabling the holders to come to the continental territory of the United States, to the detriment of labor conditions therein, the President may refuse to permit such citizens of the country issuing such passports to enter the continental territory of the United States from such other country, or from such insular possessions, or from the Canal Zone.
It will be noted from the above that the attitude of the Senate and that of the House of Representatives toward the immigration question differed radically. In adopting the literacy test provision the Senate clearly favored restriction, as did the House committee, but the House of Representatives not only rejected this provision and refused to increase the "head tax," but, in adopting the Littauer amendment, seemingly indicated a willingness to make even the existing law less formidable.
In view of the fact that the legislation finally agreed upon was a compromise and made no radical change in existing law, the creation of a commission charged with making "full inquiry, examination, and investigation" of the subject under consideration was clearly an admission that the evidence at hand was insufficient to warrant a congressional verdict either for or against a change in the immigration policy of the Government. The Commission as created viewed the situation in this light, and its only purpose has been to execute the will of Congress accordingly.
MEMBERSHIP OF THE COMMISSION.
On February 22, 1907, the Vice-President appointed as members of the Immigration Commission on the part of the Senate, the following Senators: Hon. William P. Dillingham, of Vermont, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Immigration, and Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge, of Massachusetts, and Hon. Anselm J. McLaurin, of Mississippi, both of whom were members of the same committee. Mr. McLaurin, at his own request, was excused from service on the Commission, and on March 2, 1907, Hon. Asbury C. Latimer, of South Carolina, also a nember of the Committee on Immigration, was appointed to fill the racancy. On March 2, 1907, the Speaker of the House of Represenatives appointed as members of the Commission on the part of that body, Hon. Benjamin F. Howell, of New Jersey, Hon. William S. Bennet, of New York, and Hon. John L. Burnett, of Alabama. Mr. Howell was chairman, and Messrs. Bennet and Burnett were members,
of the House Committell was amended by the insertion of a literacy ite President of the Uniteor the exclusion from the United States of-e executive department obears of age and physically capable of reading who on, the District of Columbialanguage or some other language; but an admissible Mr. William R. Wheelew in or hereafter admitted to this country may hy 20, 1908, and on Febru his children under eighteen years of age in was again appointed to theto read or not. er fifty years of age, if they are otherwisember 22, 1909, and on March 10 was appointed as his su
passed the Senate May 23, 1906.
bership of the Commissresentatives Committee on Immis
ich was referred Senate bill 440
ORGAN a that of
ississippi, the mem
The Commission organized April 22, 1907, by electing Hon. William P. Dillingham, chairman; Morton E. Crane, of Massachusetts, secretary and disbursing officer; and W. W. Husband, of Vermont, clerk of the United States Senate Committee on Immigration, and C. S. Atkinson, of New Jersey, clerk of the House of Representatives Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, secretaries. Fred C. Croxton, of the United States Bureau of Labor, was later chosen as chief statistician of the Commission. In the early part of the work Mr. Croxton was assisted by Erville B. Woods, and later by Mary Louise Mark. In the final preparation of the reports of the Commission, H. Parker Willis was the editorial adviser. Mr. Atkinson was, at his own request, furloughed without pay on June 1, 1908, and from that date was not actively engaged in the work of the Commission,
PURPOSE OF THE INQUIRY.
As previously stated, the act creating the Commission directed that it should "make full inquiry, examination, and investigation, by subcommittee or otherwise, into the subject of immigration," and the Commission has followed this instruction.
In the beginning two plans of work were considered. One plan contemplated bringing together in a new form already existing data; conducting an inquiry into the effectiveness of the existing immigration law and its administration, and by means of hearings securing information and expressions of opinion from persons interested in various phases of the subject under consideration. By the second plan it was proposed to utilize such existing data as might be considered of value, but also to make an original inquiry into fundamental phases of the subject which had previously been considered only in a superficial manner, or not at all.
After due consideration the Commission reached the conclusion that the first-mentioned plan, no matter how carefully it might be carried out, would yield very little new information that would be of value to Congress in a serious consideration of the Government's immigration policy. Consequently it was discarded in favor of an original investigation which, it was perfectly apparent, would necessarily be more far reaching and involve more work than any inquiry of a similar nature, except the census alone, that had ever been underaken by the Government.
PLAN AND SCOPE OF THE INQUIRY.
Briefly stated, the plan of work adopted by the Commission included a study of the sources of recent immigration in Europe, the general character of incoming immigrants, the methods employed here and abroad to prevent the immigration of persons classed as undesirable in the United States immigration law, and finally a thorough investigation into the general status of the more recent immigrants as residents of the United States, and the effect of such immigration upon the institutions, industries, and people of this country. As above suggested, the chief basis of the Commission's work was the changed character of the immigration movement to the United States during the past twenty-five years.
During the fiscal year 1907, in which the Commission was created, a total of 1,285,349 immigrants were admitted to the United States. Of this number 1,207,619 were from Europe, including Turkey in Asia, and of these 979,661, or 81 per cent, came from the southern and eastern countries, comprising Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, Russia, Servia, Spain, Turkey in Europe, and Turkey in Asia.
Twenty-five years earlier, in the fiscal year 1882, 648,186 European immigrants came to the United States, and of these only 84,973, or 13.1 per cent, came from the countries above enumerated, while 563,213, or 86.9 per cent, were from Belgium, Great Britain and Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Switzerland, which countries furnished about 95 per cent of the immigration movement from Europe to the United States between 1819 and 1883. During the entire period for which statistics are available-July 1, 1819, to June 30, 1910-a total of 25,528,410 European immigrants, including 106,481 from Turkey in Asia, were admitted to the United States. Of these, 16,052,900, or 62.9 per cent, came from the northern and western countries enumerated, and 9,475,510, or 37.1 per cent, from southern and eastern Europe and Turkey in Asia. For convenience the former movement will be referred to in the Commission's reports as the "old immigration" and the latter as the "new immigration." The old and the new immigration differ in many essentials. The former was, from the beginning, largely a movement of settlers who came from the most progressive sections of Europe for the purpose of making for themselves homes in the New World. They entered practically every line of activity in nearly every part of the country. Coming during a period of agricultural development, many of them entered agricultural pursuits, sometimes as independent farmers, but more often as farm laborers, who, nevertheless, as a rule soon became landowners. They formed an important part of the great movement toward the West during the last century, and as pioneers were most potent factors in the development of the territory between the Allegheny Mountains and the Pacific coast. They mingled freely with the native Americans and were quickly assimilated, although a large proportion of them, particularly in later years, belonged to non-English-speaking races. This natural bar to assimilation, however, was soon overcome by them, while the racial identity of their children was almost entirely lost and forgotten.
"See pp. 61 to 64.