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Serial 10

OCTOBER 19, 20, 21, and 22, AND NOVEMBER 22, 1921


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Wednesday, October 19, 1921.

The committee met at 10 o'clock a. m., Hon. Albert Johnson (chairman) presiding.

The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order and the clerk will call the roll.

The clerk called the roll.

The CHAIRMAN. We will proceed this morning to the consideration of various proposed changes in the naturalization laws, most of which have been embraced in the bill known as H. R. 8727. There are present chief naturalization examiners of the United States, as follows: James Farrell, of the first district, Boston, Mass.; Mr. Merton A. Sturges, of the second district, New York, N. Y.; Mr. J. C. F. Gordon, of the third district, Philadelphia, Pa.; Mr. Oran T. Moore, of the fourth district, Washington, D. C.; Mr. William M. Ragsdale, of the fifth district, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Mr. Frederick J. Schlotfeldt, of the sixth district, Chicago, Ill.; Mr. Robert S. Coleman, of the seventh district, St. Paul, Minn.; Mr. M. R. Bevington, of the eighth district, St. Louis, Mo.; Mr. John Speed Smith, of the ninth district, Seattle, Wash.; Mr. George A. Crutchfield, of the tenth district, San Francisco, Cal.; and Mr. Paul Armstrong, of the eleventh district, Denver, Colo.

As I said a moment ago, this compilation in H. R. 8727 embraces various matters which have come before the committee and some new matter. In this bill are the various amendments which were proposed in this committee and which were recommended to be sent to the floor of the House in a bill reported in the last Congress, and which has been introduced again in this Congress, H. R. 9, but which has not yet reached the floor. Among these amendments are provisions for separate naturalization for women, changes in the form of the declaration, and various minor amendments. In this new bill, also, is a proposal to change the form of procedure leading to naturalization, making the procedure one of annual registration. That is adopted from another bill, H. R. 5346. Having gone that far with the amendments, it was thought that it might be advisable to rewrite the entire naturalization act, inasmuch as the amendments proposed here are as heavy as the act itself, and inasmuch as the act is a series of amendments. If the committee will spare the time to tackle the work, it will probably be a good thing to rewrite the naturalization act while we are amending it.

Mr. RAKER. Mr. Chairman, is it the intention to codify all of the statutes relating to naturalization?

The CHAIRMAN. That is the intention.

We are fortunate in having present with us 11 chief naturalization examiners, most of whom are old-timers in the service, and who know more about naturalization details than any member of the committee could hope to know. I am at a loss to know how to begin hearing them before they have had time to study the bill thoroughly and without careful thought, because the bill has been hastily put together within the last week, and, naturally, it contains some errors and duplications and some misreferences to other provisions of the law. Mr. RAKER. May I make a suggestion?

The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.

Mr. RAKER. I would like to hear from all of these gentlemen in the order of the numbers of their districts, and then there will be no discrimination. If Mr.

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Crist could give us a short résumé of the bill, showing just what the amendments are, what we have striken out, etc., all of them would hear his statement, and would then be prepared to come back to-morrow and discuss the bill. They would have a chance to read the bill, and we would really get more from them than we would by putting them on the stand right now.

The CHAIRMAN. We will hear some of them to-day. I meant to say for the information of the committee that this bill embraces some views of Secretary Davis, the same being adaptations of his general views in regard to the registration of aliens. It embraces some views of my own in regard to the question of registration and the development of the process of examining aliens upon coming into citizenship, in the hope that we can do away with what I consider to be the useless and worn-out scheme or system which requires the taking of two witnesses into court with the alien for the final administration of the oath.

Mr. RAKER. That covers in substance the matter of registration, as the chairman and myself have been contending for it.

The CHAIRMAN. It also contains some views of Mr. Crist, which have been presented from time to time to the committee, and it undertakes to establish a bureau of citizenship; that is, we undertake to go out as far as we can toward this much-heralded Americanization scheme. We have lots of heavy matter in here, and whether we can get down to brass tacks and proceed to work it into a system that will stand as a law is the question. It will require hard work. I want to say to the members of the committee that it is really an omnibus bill. We have endeavored here to put into one bill various ideas that have been expressed more or less before this committee during the last seven years. I think if Mr. Crist would make a little statement of about 15 minutes, we could then proceed to hear the chief examiners.

Mr. STURGES. If the suggestion is in order, I might say, Mr. Chairman, that each chief examiner has read this bill.


Mr. CRIST. Mr. Chairman, the bill contains a part of the registration plan in H. R. 5346, and it also contains all that is in the bill H. R. 9. That bill is a replica of the bill H. R. 15603, which this committee reported unanimously at the last session of Congress, on January 12, 1921. The members of the committee are thoroughly familiar with the bill H. R. 9. I believe that H. R. 5346 has not yet come up for a formal hearing by the committee. As the chairman stated, the bill contains some of the views of Secretary Davis. Secretary Davis directed me to draft a bill early in his administration that would abolish the Bureau of Naturalization, broaden the field of activity of the Department of Labor and the bureau which promotes the training of applicants for citizenship, and to make that, as he said, the most prominent part of the work of the bureau evidenced in the legislation; and, in so doing, to change the title of the bureau from the Bureau of Naturalization to the Bureau of Citizenship.

The first portion of the bill places its provisions under Title XXX of the Revised Statutes of the United States. The present naturalization laws do not in any way connect up with Title XXX. Title XXX consists of about two or three sections remaining, namely, section 2169, which limits the scope of the naturalization law; section 2170, which is a duplication of the present law in that it says that an alien can not be admitted to citizenship until he has lived here five years preceding the year of his admiss'on, and in that respect would allow a lesser time than that allowed in act of 1906. The act, therefore, virtually supersedes section 2470. Section 2172 also confers the right of citizenship upon minor children and the wife. Those three sections, I think. are all that is left for Title XXX. Consequently, it was deemed to be advisable to place this act in the Revised Statutes again in the place where in the compilation of the statutes the naturalization law has been located by Congress. The act of 1906 repeals specifically all of the naturalization activities under Title XXX, but did not place that act under that title. This is to correct that omission. You will note that section 1 of this bill provides that under Title XXX shall be embraced all laws concerning the naturalization of aliens hereafter enacted, unless such act shall otherwise provide, and that the provisions of this title shall apply to "aliens being white persons, to those persons owing permanent allegiance as limited herein."

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The use of the term "free" before "white persons in the original naturalization acts of Congress was due to the fact that there were white people in the United States in bondage, and they were required to be registered by their masters and mistresses, while all other white adult aliens registered themselves and any children they might have. Therefore, the registration feature which this bill contains is not a new one, but is one which prevailed in the United States at the close of the eighteenth and early in the nineteenth century.

The second section is for the purpose of broadening the scope of this bureau, and thereby to establish a new relationship between the Government of the United States and the foreign born. There is no longer to be a chasm between the Gevernment and the people who come here from distant lands. This whole bill is for the purpose of providing for the guidance and protection, the better economic distribution. and the better adjustment of the foreign-born residents of the United States, or the better economic distribution or economic adjustment of our foreign population.

As to the administrative detail of organization in the headship of the bureau, I think this is the only bureau head, or one of a very few, under the United States Government that is not appointed by the President, and it is the purpose here to make for uniformity. Throughout the bill you will find references to acts which are to be done by the director of citizenship. The second section provides that all such acts must first be approved by the Secretary of Labor. This form is used for the purpose of doing away with repetition.

The language is:

"All acts provided in this act to be performed by the director of citizenship shall be first approved by the Secretary of Labor."

The paragraphing, sectioning, and arrangement of this bill, as the chairman has indicated to you, have been done under pressure, and it is subject, of course, to rearrangement. This section also authorizes the promotion of the education of persons in the responsibilities of citizenship, regardless of whether they are foreign born or American born, and particularly those of adult age. The bill proposes to extend this educational feature to the Virgin Islands and the Canal Zone. It is the purpose of the bill to require the dissemination of information regarding our Government, laws, and customs, in such manner among our foreign born as will enable them to combat those doctrines of government repugnant to the Constitution of the United States and that are taught to them insidiously and under cover. The further object of the bill is to insure by legislation the accomplishment more effectively of what has been done in the Bureau of Naturaliaztion with increasing efficiency since 1914. This is what is called the Americanization work. That work was launched under the general authority of the act of 1906, and continued under the specific authority contained in the act of May 9, 1918, which was an act originating in this committee.

Section 3 gives the three steps that are required of the alien, first, the new provision, which is, to register annually. The two remaining requirements do not change present law. They are, second, to declare the intention in the manner prescribed, and, third, to file the petition for naturalization. The alien may register at the earliest moment he desires to do so, and after that he may declare his intention. The usual period of validity of the declaration is not changed. There will be seven years in which to file the petition. After he has completed his five years' residence, and his declaration is two years old, he will be eligible. That is the present law, and it is not changed here. Mr. RAKER. Will you repeat that again.

Mr. CRIST. He will be eligible to petition after he has been here five years. At that time, if his declaration of intention is two years old, he will be eligible to petition for naturalization. That is the same as the present law. This bill interposes a step prior to the declaration of intention, in that it requires the aliens to register. The alien must register annually until he is eligible to petition for naturalization and until he does petition. There are certain provisions for penalizing the alien, who having declared his intention and otherwise becoming qualified by residence, does not complete his naturalization within the seven years period in which he has that privilege. There are penalties which are reasonable, and not at all harsh, as they are subject to waiver or reduction in their terms by administrative action.

Mr. SABATH. Under the present law, however, the alien can be naturalized in five years, if, upon his arrival, he files a declaration of intention. He can become a citizen in five years if he can pass the required examination.

Mr. CRIST. Yes, sir. He will have the same privilege under this bill that you have reference to, with the only addition that during the time of the running of the period of five years he will be expected to register annually.

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