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IMMIGRANTS BEING "CHECKED OFF" AT ELLIS ISLAND AFTER PASSING INSPECTION
York, could be done abroad to the advantage of the immigrant and the Nation alike
standing of American customs and repeal this law. Moreover, the collec IVT HEN the proposed measures dealing life and institutions of government. tion of a fee by the National Govern W with immigration have been dis
The above measure, along the lines ment might result in setting up too cussed in Congress and when there shall desired by Mr. Davis, Secretary of much machinery. At the same time, issue sufficient legislation, we may look Labor, is well worthy the attention of such a registration fee, to be used for forward to a new era with regard to Congress. Mr. Davis, we are informed, Americanization work, would, we be our foreign-born population. would like a larger registration fee, to lieve, be approved by most people in No longer will it be composed of a be payable quarterly. The difficulty most States.
vast number of undesirable persons who with any registration of aliens is, we Under any circumstances, however, have come here on their own initiative; think, the problem of finding a way for we must have some kind of compulsory it will be composed of persons who have Federal direction without invading the education law for aliens who become come here on our invitation and who rights of the States. Existing law cer- permanent residents; we must have have been distributed where we think tainly might prevent forcible registra State, if not Federal, aid for the immi- they can best serve us and themselves; tion and collection of fees from aliens grant schools; and we must have insti above all, it will consist of people for now resident in the United States. The tutions to train teachers for special
tions to train teachers for special whom we have undertaken the responsiproposed act would thus supersede or work with adult aliens.
bilities and duties of Americanization.
WHILE THE IMMIGRANT WAS STILL AN EMIGRANT
BY JOHN GLEASON O'BRIEN
VICE-CONSUL OF THE UNITED STATES TO ROME FROM MAY, 1919, TO JUNE, 1920
EGISLATION affecting immigration
ceeded in surmounting the obstacle
The writer was stationed at Rome when the flood of Italian immigration commenced following the cessation of hostilities. Copious volumes of regulations and rituals for testing and weeding out the prospective citizen reposed in American consulates and legations which, if they were to be applied mi. nutely, would result in a complete breakdown of office routine. Consequently, the vital question of who should be permitted to come to America and who should be turned back was, in the main, left to the decision of the consuls and secretaries. It is true that most of the applicants for visés of passports were
AN ITALIAN WOMAN
commonplace, plodding peasants whose meant that regular consular work, such plicant to wait two and three days, that cases called for no minute inquiry as to as commercial reports and correspon- those who arrived first might be atmotives and missions, but, on the other dence, must suffer. The Consul-General tended to. hand, it is a fact that many were per- at Rome, Francis B. Keene, a classmate It consumed quantities of time to mitted to proceed because no tangible of Theodore Roosevelt's at Harvard, was procure information from each of the grounds existed for refusing them quick to grasp the import of the tre applicants, many of whom spoke but a visés.
mendous volume of immigration. He few words of an Italian dialect. But it At that very time there were undoubt. hastily reorganized the personnel of the had to be done if any choice in selection edly thousands of immigrants waiting office in an effort to select as carefully was to be observed. The belief existed inspection at Ellis Island, the majority as possible the Italians best fitted to go abroad at that time that Congress must of whom should never have been per- to America.
surely take cognizance of conditions mitted to sail. And yet, only for the Then and there it seemed that the abroad and summarily halt immigration, unrelaxing and unceasing vigilance of bars should have been put up against but no indications of any such action the Americans in authority abroad, the further immigration. As the summer manifested themselves. Instead came number would have been augmented by wore on the crowds of immigranti in additional regulations from the State several thousand.
creased in numbers. They camped Department setting forth in detail just The spring and summer of 1919 saw about the spacious walks and gardens what cousins might proceed to their the steamship companies in possession of the Via Veneto, on which the Con- relatives in America and at what age an for the most part, of their steamships sulate is located, slept on benches about immigrant might proceed to America to once more, of thousands upon thousands the streets, and literally laid siege to be married. During the process of of Italians looking for the first time in a the Consulate, awaiting their turn. It weeding out the undesirables each aphectic four years toward America, and became necessary to give each applicant plicant was compelled to present a penal the first general concerted exodus since as he presented himself a number, and certificate and papers proving that relathe war under way.
oftentimes it was necessary for the ap tives lived in America. Conditions at Rome reflected in a
Grave charges were made in the measure what took place at Naples,
House of Representatives that foreign Catania, Palermo, Leghorn, and other
governments had deliberately conspired points in Italy. The American Consul
in shipping undesirables to America. ate was besieged. Extra clerks of
Without commenting on whether the Italian nationality were enlisted to cope
charge be true, it is a fact that in with the flood. The American Embassy
numerous instances applicants preat Rome, through its Passport Control
sented themselves for a visé at difBureau, announced its intention of pass
ferent consulates in Italy who, upon ing upon the application of every single
investigation, were found to bear repuapplicant for a visé.
tations and records of the deepest dye. It was apparent then that immigra
Some were known to reappear a few tion from Italy alone would mount into
weeks later with new penal certificates hundreds of thousands, if not millions.
and to swear upon their oaths that . Everyone seemed possessed to go to
they had never asked for a visé prior America. Persons having relatives in
to that time. The steamship companies the United States possessed legitimate
boomed immigration by making special grounds for wishing to go, and those
rates and by stationing agents outside who did not have relatives invented
the consulates whose business it was some. But "America at any cost" was
to facilitate the procuring of the visé. the watchword of the motley crew
In some cases the steamship companies which besieged American consulates
maintained offices where immigrant apthroughout Italy. The officers of every
plications for visé were filled out and consulate were bent upon scrutinizing
given to the applicant to take to the carefully the qualifications of every one Paul Thompson
consulate. wishing to go to America. To do so
AN ARMENIAN WOMAN WRITING
During the time the writer was sta
tioned abroad he witnessed thousands of Italians pass through the visé mill at Rome, Naples, and Palermo. It seemed that in the great majority of cases few of the applicants knew what it was all about.
As material for citizenship the bulk of it did not measure up. Cases were not uncommon at the American Embassy when naturalized Italians holding American passports came to Italy, voted in the Italian elections, thereby forfeiting their American citizenship, and unhesitatingly announced the fact to Embassy officials. American citizenship apparently meant nothing beyond a pleasant method of procuring a passport. Personal inquiry among twoscore Italians bound for America from Naples taking passage in the steerage elicited the information that probably only three had any intention of becoming citizens.
The visé office of the Department of State received thousands of applications for visés of Russians, Austrians, Poles, and other nationalities in Central Europe, to say nothing of thousands of Germans. In many cases agents from the Department of Justice investigated the references living in America named upon the application, but even then it was an impossibility to bar the very ones whose coming to America meant the greatest damage.
HOW CANADA HANDLES THE IMMIGRATION
DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION AND COLONIZATION. CANADA
TMMIGRATION problems date back to
the earliest history of the human I race. The Old Testament abounds in accounts of migratory movements, not entirely free from the friction which is sometimes supposed to be a product of modern conditions. Cain was the first immigrant, and from his day to ours the migration of individuals from one country to another has been accompanied by problems for the sociologist and economist, as well as by occasion for misgivings upon the part of patriots of the Old World and the New.
Immigration in the earliest stages of the world's history had a way of being not infrequently associated with conquest. The immigrants came as a fighting force, and, if their arm prevailed, they took what they wanted and the original residents of the country were reduced to the status of a subject people. It was with the discovery of the New World and the tremendous opportunity which it afforded as an outlet for surplus population that immigration as we understand it to-day may be said to have had its beginning.
For a century or more the United States has been one of the chief magnets attracting immigration from Europe and, to a lesser degree, from ther countries. More recently Canada as become an important source of
STATES DOES NOT KNOW. CANADA WOULD HAVE FOUND OUT
THE FLOOD OF EMIGRANTS
done to find out whether they should have started on their journey or not
THE FLOOD OF IMMIGRANTS
come from as far away, only to be told that they should not have started