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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
Washington, February 11, 1937.
Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR RUSSELL: With your letter of the 9th instant you forwarded copy of bill S. 1363 and requested the views of the Immigration and Naturalization Service on this measure. The bill is entitled “To provide for the deportation of aliens inimical to the public interest and aliens on relief.”
Section 1 of the bill provides for the deportation of any alien or group of aliens whose presence in the United States -is proclaimed by the President to be inimical to the public interest. It would appear that the sponsor of the bill has overlooked the fact that existing law provides for the deportation of aliens whose presence in the United States may be considered as not being in the best interests of the country. As an example the statistics covering the past 10 years, set forth next hereafter, show, among other deportations, the following: Causes:
15, 464 Violation of narcotic laws.
953 Immoral classes.
6, 008 Mental or physical defective
8, 682 Likely to become a public charge.
3, 498 Anarchists and kindred classes.
34, 844 From the above it would appear that legislation of the type contained in section 1 of the bill is already in effect.
The second and last section of the bill provides in substance that all aliens who have subsisted upon public or private relief for a period of 6 months after the enactment of the act shall be deported. It is rather doubted that the thought behind this provision of the bill has been carried through to a conclusion. A single example, it is believed, will be sufficient to show the impractical effect of such a law.
Take the case of an alien who 25 years ago was lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence after complying with all the requirements of the laws governing the admission of aliens. In the meantime the alien has married, possibly a native-born citizen woman, and has brought up a large family of American citizens. He has not acquired United States citizenship because of lack of funds, inability to meet the rather exacting educational qualifications, and so forth. Through no fault of his own-such as the result of accident, illness, and so forth-he has been unable to continue in employment and has been on public or private relief for a period of 6 months.
Surely it cannot be wisely argued because of the temporary misfortune of this worthy person that he should be deported from the United States, thereby permanently separating him from his family and in addition depriving them of the future support of their husband and father.
Hundreds of cases of the kind above set forth could be cited, but it would appear that this section of the bill would produce so many inhuman results that further discussion is deemed unnecessary. Sincerely yours,
(S. 1364, 75th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To provide for the registration of aliens in the United States and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby established an interdepartmental committee, to be known as the Alien Registration Board and hereinafter referred to as the Board, which shall be composed
of one representative designated by the Secretary of State, one representative designated by the Attorney General, one representative designated by the Postmaster General, and one representative designated by the Secretary of Labor. The representative designated by the Secretary of State shall be ex-officio Chairman of the Board.
Sec. 2. The heads of the Departments hereinbefore mentioned may temporarily assign other members of their departmental staffs to render expert advice or assistance to the Board: Provided, however, That no person designated as a member of the Board, or as an expert attached thereto, shall receive additional compensation to that which he already receives.
SEC. 3. It shall be the duty of the Board to prescribe rules, regulations, forms, and procedure for the taking of a Nation-wide official registration and fingerprint record of all aliens now in the United States, except that diplomatic representatives of foreign nations and consular officers and members of their official staff duly accredited or recognized as such by the Government of the United States, and officials of foreign governments traveling under diplomatic passports, shall be exempted from the provisions of this Act.
SEC. 4. No immigration visa shall be issued to any alien seeking to enter the United States unless said alien has been fingerprinted in triplicate: One copy of the fingerprint record to be utilized by the consul in ascertaining whether or not the person making application for entry is the person whose name is set forth in the application and whether or not the applicant has a criminal record or other statutory disqualification which would exclude him from entering the United States; the second copy of the fingerprint record to be attached to the alien's immigration visa to provide for verification of the immigrant's identity upon arrival at a port of entry of the United States; and the third copy of the fingerprint record, together with such other information as may be required by the bard, to be sent directly to the Division of Identification of the Department of Justice for filing in the alien section of its noncriminal records.
SEC. 5. On July 1, 1937, or at the earliest possible date thereafter, the President shall proclaim the rules and regulations under which every alien shall apply for registration at a United States post office and be fingerprinted, and supply such other information as may be called for by the Board respecting the alien's status, occupation, duration of stay, and intention to remain or depart from the United States. Upon registration, which shall be in duplicate, one copy shall be mailed to the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization of the Department of Labor, Washington, District of Columbia, and the second copy shall be mailed to the Director of the Division of Identification of the Department of Justice, Washington, District of Columbia, for filing in the alien section of its noncriminal records. The Commissioner of Immigration shall issue a registration card to each alien registrant, bearing a distinctive number and copy of the fingerprints of the alien, the said registration card to be mailed to the address given by the alien upon registration.
Sec. 6. The postmaster in any United States post office, or any employee in such post office designated by him, at which a registration shall be filed, shall collect a fee of $1 for each first registration, and subsequently 50 cents for each renewal thereof. The funds so collected shall be turned into the general fund of the Treasury in such manner as may be prescribed by the Board.
Sec. 7. It shall be the duty of every alien in the United States, who has been registered as hereinbefore provided to notify the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization of the United States of every change of address, with a statement as to whether the change of address is permanent or temporary. If the change of address is permanent, it shall be the duty of the alien to turn in his registration card at the nearest post office and make application in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Board for the issuance of a new card; and every alien in the United States shall renew his registration annually at such dates as may be designated on his registration card.
SEC. 8. It shall be the duty of the Postmaster General, with the assistance of the Attorney General, to provide for instructions whereby postal employees may be instructed in the manner of taking fingerprints upon sensitive paper approved by the Division of Identification of the Department of Justice.
SEC. 9. The Attorney General shall instruct the Director of the Division of Identification of the Department of Justice to create a section in the Bureau of Identification to be known as the section of alien registration.
SEC. 10. The Board immediately upon its creation shall prepare estimates of appropriations necessary for putting into effect the provisions of this Act, and shall submit the same to the heads of the Departments referred to in section 1 of this Act, for transmittal to the Director of the Budget with a recommendation for immediate action upon such supplementary appropriation as may be required.
Sec. 11. Any alien who shall fail to comply with the provisions of this Act shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both, and, upon the payment of the fine or the completion of sentence, the alien shall be taken into custody on a warrant issued by the Secretary of Labor and deported forthwith from the United States.
SEC. 12. This Act may be cited as the Immigration and Alien Registration Act of 1937.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
Washington, February 16, 1937.
United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR RUSSELL: Reference is made to your communication of February 9, 1937, enclosing a copy of S. 1364, now pending before the committee, and requesting the views of this Department thereon.
Except that the penalty has been raised in the present bill, it is otherwise identical with title 2 of H. R. 11172, introduced in the last Congress by Mr. Starnes of Alabama, on February 14, 1936, and S. 411, title 2, introduced during the last Congress by Senator Reynolds, on January 16, 1936.
In the first place, it seems that the bill creates a rather unnecessary and cumbersome machinery of administration. It creates an additional governmental board. This board seems to have no function other than to prepare for proclamation, regulations, and forms for carrying out the provisions of the act and preparing the initial estimation of required appropriations. When this has been accomplished the need for the board's continued existence does not appear in the present bill. If the measure proposed by this bill was desirable it would be simpler to place the administration in a single executive department and, as has been done in other instances of like nature, provide for the cooperation of other departinents so far as necessary. Regulations might be jointly approved insofar as they affect such other departments.
This Department cannot recommend the registration of aliens as proposed in this measure. The following are some of the reasons which move it to adopt this attitude:
There appears to be a common misunderstanding as to registration. It seems to be assumed that it would bring about
the registration of aliens illegally in the country. This is altogether unlikely. The alien illegally here will not register as he would have nothing to gain by so doing and would merely place the Government on notice as to his presence in the country and bring about proceedings for his deportation. Only the alien lawfully in the United States would probably be registered. The threat of possible conviction and sentence for failure to register is less likely to encourage the registry of illegal residents than is the fear of deportation to dissuade them from registering.
The net effect of registration is to cause annoyance and inconvenience to many of the more than 35,000,000 citizens of foreign birth or foreign parentage. There are 40,000,000 persons in the United States who are of foreign birth or of foreign parentage. Approximately 4,200,000 of these are aliens, a third of whom have already, or through their parents, applied for citizenship. General alien registration would thus tend to discriminate against and set apart from the rest of the community the 4,200,000 legally resident aliens and make them pay in money and in humiliation for what would seem to be a futile effort to discover the relatively few aliens who are illegally in the country. As at present and heretofore, so in the future, the Government would have to locate aliens illegally in the United States and institute deportation proceedings against them. Those legally in the country should not be put to this expense and annoyance.
In considering the adoption of any system of registration, the issue must be squarely faced that it involves a radical departure from the American system and a return to the European system of governmental and particularly police control of the individual. It would constitute a tremendous step toward regimentation of the citizen. Once applied to aliens it is likely to be only a matter of time when some similar measure is applied to citizens. Registration would involve maintaining in Washington an individual dossier for each person. Into that dossier will inevitably flow all communications relating to the individual. Some of these will be proper; others will consist of unfounded charges, or of reports of the most intimate personal aspects of the individual's life.
It seems proper to suggest further that such general registration would open up an entirely new field for the racketeer, blackmailer, and others who prey upon aliens. The alien lawfully here would be told he required assistance or influence to obtain his card and threatened with obstruction if he failed to pay. The illegal entrant would be blackmailed. There would almost certainly be attempts to counterfeit registration cards.
It has been roughly estimated that something like 2 years would be required to register all aliens in the country and that the cost would be at least 6 million the
first year, 4 million the second, and $2,000,000 for several years thereafter to cover the annual registration and the care of the records. Likewise, it has been estimated that personnel to the number of 3,000 would be required for the first year, 2,000 for the second, and 1,000 for the third year.
The reasons for opposing the adoption of any general registration may be summed up as
(a) It will apply only to the alien legally here--as the alien illegally here will not report and thereby subject himself to deportation;
(b) It will serve to set the noncitizen foreign-born in a class apart from the rest of the community and convey to them the impression that they are unwelcome, treated as inferiors and discriminated against. It will be interpreted by them as a negation of our principles of equality before the law;
(c) It will set up a compact foreign-born group who, believing themselves the victims of unjust discrimination, will provide fertile soil for the inculcation of subversive doctrines;
(d) It will result in discrimination against and inconvenience to great numbers of American citizens by birth or naturalization wbo may have the physical characteristics or traces of the accent of persons of foreign birth. Such persons will be called upon to prove their citizenship because, of course, they will not carry registration cards. The seriousness of this situation will be understood when it is realized that approximately 1 out of every 3 in the United States is either of foreign birth or foreign parentage;
(e) It will offer possibility of abuse in labor disputes and afford pretext for detentions on ground of suspected illegal residence. Sincerely,
(S. 1365, 75th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To provide for the prompt deportation of habitual alien criminals and other undesirable aliens
now in the United States, and to prevent unnecessary hardship or separation of families Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That an alien who entered the United States either from a foreign territory or an insular possession, either before or after the passage of this Act, shall be promptly deported in the manner provided in sections 19 and 20 of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917, as amended, regardless of when he entered, if he
(1) At any time after entry is or has been convicted of an offense which may be punishable by imprisonment for a term of one year or more, or of a crime involving moral turpitude, even though a sentence of imprisonment may not have been imposed, the said deportation to be made by the Secretary of Labor forthwith at the time he is released from confinement, or placed upon probation, or is pardoned: or
(2) Belongs to one or more of the classes of aliens excluded by section 3 of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917, and the Act for the exclusion and expulsion of anarchists and similar classes approved October 16, 1918, as amended by the Act approved June 5, 1920; or
(3) Has been convicted of violation of a narcotic law of any State, Territory, insular possession, or of the District of Columbia; or
(4) Has been lawfully committed to a public or private institution as a habitual user of narcotic drugs; or
(5) Knowingly and for gain encouraged, induced, assisted, or aided anyone to enter the United States in violation of law, or after passage of this Act knowingly encouraged, induced, assisted, or aided anyone to enter the United States in violation of law; or
(6) Has been engaged in espionage for a foreign government; or
(7) Has been convicted of possessing or carrying any concealed or ero weapon.
SEC. 2. (a) The Secretary of Labor may suspend the execution of deportation against an alien found subject to deportation for a period not to exceed twelve months dated from the issuance of the original warrant of deportation, if the alien has a dependent wife or child who is a citizen of the United States: Provided, however, That the alien is not comprised within the classes of persons deportable in accordance with the provisions of 40 Stat. 1012 as amended by 41 Stat. 1008, or that the offense for which the alien is deportable is not classifiable as a felony, or that the alien is not suffering from a hereditary physical or mental defect.
(b) The Secretary of Labor shall transmit to Congress quarterly, on or before the 15th day of January, April, July, and October of each year, a complete list of all deportable aliens whose deportation was suspended during the preceding three months under authority conferred by this section, together with a complete record of each case and full reasons for each such suspension, and all such reports and information shall be open to public inspection.
(c) The Secretary of Labor is authorized to provide transportation for a dependent husband or wife or minor children of an alien ordered deported from the United States if the separation involves extreme hardship: Provided, however, That the wife or minor child of a citizen of the United States born in the United States accompanying an alien deported from the United States shall be positively and definitely identified by fingerprinting or footprinting for the purpose of establishing their right of reentry as citizens of the United States.
SEC. 3. Any employee of the Immigration and Naturalization Service designated by the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization shall have power to detain for investigation any alien who he has reason to believe is subject to deportation under this or any other statute. Any alien so detained shall be immediately brought before an Immigration Inspector designated for that purpose by the Secretary of Labor, and shall not be held in custody for more than fortyeight hours thereafter, unless prior to the expiration of that time a warrant for his arrest is issued.
SEC. 4. Any person who knowingly aids or assists any alien or any person to evade or violate any provision of this Act or connives or conspires with any alien or any person to evade or violate this Act shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and on conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or by imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.
ŠEC. 5. The provisions of this Act are in addition to and not in substitution for the provisions of the immigration laws and shall be enforced as part of those laws, and all the penal or other provisions of such laws not inapplicable shall apply to and be enforced in connection with the provisions of this Act.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
Washington, March 2, 1937. Hon. ROBERT B. RUSSELL, Chairman, Committee on Immigration, United States Senate,
Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR RUSSELL: Your letter of February 18, 1937, is acknowledged. You request comment on S. 1365, a bill introduced by Senator Reynolds on February 5, 1937, entitled “A bill to provide for the prompt deportation of habitual alien criminals and other undesirable aliens now in the United States and to prevent unnecessary hardship or separation of families.” Some provisions of the measure are desirable but others would cause injustices wholly unnecessary in accomplishing the purposes set forth in the bill's title. For the reasons which I shall give, I am compelled to express my disapproval and recommend against its enactment.
Section 1 of the bill would create six additional classes of aliens who would be subject to deportation and would remove the time limitation in regard to those aliens who effected entry in violation of section 3 of the act of February 5, 1917. I am in whole-hearted accord with the principle of ridding the country of the undesirable alien-criminal element. I recognize the existence of certain weaknesses in the present immigration laws on this point and have made recommendation to Congress in the past for remedying this condition. I am convinced this end may be accomplished without legislation as drastic as that proposed by this bill which would cause untold hardship entirely disproportionate to the offense committed.
The first clause in section 1 of the bill would render subject to deportation an alien who has been convicted of an offense which may be punished by imprisonment for a term of 1 year or more. It is not required that a sentence of a year be imposed nor that the crime be one involving moral turpitude. Many minor offenses, including certain traffic violations, carry a maximum penalty of 1 year. Thus, although the offense committed by an individual might merit a small fine, or even a complete suspension of sentence, inasmuch as legally it would have been possible to impose a penalty of a year's imprisonment that individual would be subject to deportation if he were an alien, irrespective of years of residence in the United States and of family ties. Deportation would be mandatory.
In the same clause, an alien convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is made subject to deportation even though a sentence of imprisonment may not have been imposed. An alien convicted of petty larceny, such as stealing a