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Mr. RAKER. In a general way, just what is that penalty ?
The CHAIRMAN. That is a detail that is open for discussion by the committee. We undertake to give the man a right to show why he did not register.
Mr. SABATH. That is by way of increasing the fees.
Mr. Crist. The penalty would probably be to double the registration fee for the one year that he failed. Section 4 provides that the right of any woman to become a naturalized citizen of the United States shall not be denied or abridged because she is a married woman.
Mr. CABLE. Under this bill, women would have to make separate naturalization petitions.
Mr. Crist. Yes, sir. Section 5 authorizes the designation of the appropriate county or municipal public-school superintendents or other appropriate publicschool authorities for the purpose of conducting this registration. The thought that has been in the mind of the Secretary of Labor is that there should be no contemplation in this bill of a police system and that this should be removed entirely from anything that smacks of what might be generally embraced within the one term of “Prussianism.” It is for the purpose of bringing to these foreign-born people the opportunity of attending school, and to put them in a position where they may feel they have a right to go to school from the fact that they have registered with the public-school authorities and paid in advance for that right.
Mr. RAKER. Are the returns of the registration by the school authorities filed with the county clerk?
Mr. CRIST. No, sir; they retain the registration records in their files.
Mr. CRIST. They would make returns to the Bureau of Citizenship for all moneys received and expended. The registration records are to be available for the use of the examiners. There would be a continuous line of contact traceable in each case back from the time the alien petitions for naturalization until the time he first registered, which would have to be at least five years of all new arrivals.
Mr. SABATH. What arrangement would be made with the municipalities where they are not willing to do this work?
Mr. CRIST. The same arrangement.
Mr. CRIST. We never undertake that. I will try to answer that question by analogy : We have never undertaken to urge, insist, or compel a State or county court to assume naturalization jurisdiction, but in no instance has there been any refusal upon the presentation of an alien for the purpose of declaring his intention or filing his petition. I have discussed this matter with the superintendents of schools quite extensively and I found them unanimously in favor of the proposition that they assume this responsibility.
Mr. SABATH. I think there should be a provision in the bill that if they should fail or refuse to assume this duty, some other official should be designated to perform it.
The CHAIRMAN. I think that the examiners themselves should have the right to register them.
Mr. CRIST. The fifth section deals with certain phases of this registration, There is on page 8, commencing with line 13, some matter which might better be transferred to some other part of the bill, because it does not relate distinctly to registration but relates to the duties now performed in the Bureau of Naturalization of publishing and distributing text books for the use of these candidates for citizenship in the public schools. This language is for the purpose of extending the distribution to all of those in the classes that are to be promoted and supported by this bill when enacted.
There is a penalty provided in section 6 for the unlawful issuance of certificates of registration.
Section 7 names the courts that have naturalization jurisdiction and there is no change in that from the present law.
The CHAIRMAN. Except that it eliminates a part of the old law.
Mr. CRIST. Yes, sir; the United States circuit court was abolished on January 1, 1912, and in this bill reference to those courts has been omitted, but there is an additional court put in or the district court for Porto Rico, which has administratively, as least, been construed to have naturalization jurisdiction. That court is being inserted in here.
Mr. RAKER. I do not want to interrupt you, but in looking over the bill, and before the final determination of its form, I would call your attention to the provision in regard to the penalties and punishments imposed. You provide that certain acts shall be unlawful, and state the penalty at the end of the section. Would it not be better to have one general provision covering penalties, simply saying that anyone who violates any provision of this act, upon conviction, shall be punished by fine, imprisonment, etc., instead of having the penalty stated at the end of each section? Instead of having the penalty stated at the end of each section, why not say that it shall be unlawful to do certain things, and then stop there? Then, at the end of the bill, you can provide in one section that anyone who violates any provision of the law shall be punished by fine, imprisonment, etc.
Mr. CRIST. That is, you would assemble the penalties together in one section ?
Mr. CABLE. Judge Raker would have the same penalty for murder as for larceny.
The CHAIRMAN. The penalties might be uniform in a naturalization law.
Mr. VAILE. Judge Raker wants to have the penalties, whatever they may be, assembled in one section. Of course, he would not object to having certain penalties provided for specific offenses.
Mr. RAKER. No.
Mr. CRIST. Section 8 reenacts the same conditions regarding the declaration of intention as to age, etc., but, at the same time, it imposes the requirement that registration shall first be made. It also limits the period of validity affirmatively to seven years.
The CHAIRMAN. That limitation is written in the bill, and does not appear in print. In line 23 we add the words: “ The declaration of intention shall not be valid after seven years from the date of its execution.”
Mr. CRIST. Section 9 gives all the averments required in the declaration of intention that were set forth in the bill which the committee reported in the last Congress.
Mr. RAKER. May I put in a suggestion there in reference to this declaration, and that is that the question is now being raised before the Supreme Court of whether or not there is any provision left out of the declaration, the contention being that the alien can be naturalized if he complies with the provisions of the declaration, notwithstanding general statutes in force at the time to the contrary.
Mr. Crist. I think there is a provision for correcting that just a little later, by an amendment to the declaration of intention.
Mr. CABLE. I move that Mr. Crist be permitted to proceed without any more interruptions.
(The motion of Mr. Cable was submitted by the chairman and was lost.)
Mr. Crist. Section 10 relates to the petition for naturalization. The period of residence is not changed. That section also prescribes the oath of allegiance to be set forth in the petition. In paragraph 2 there is a limitation placed again upon the declaration, so that there will be no doubt of the period of use. It might be desirable for the committee to change that. Of course, as the chairman has indicated, this bill was gotten up under pressure. The third paragraph makes the affidavit affirmatively a part of the petition, showing that the petition is to be completed by the affidavit of the witnesses. There is an omission there. It was our intention to suggest a provision that would require all of those averments as to good moral character and on all the points which the witnesses would bring out in their affidavits to be set forth in the court at the hearing. These will be inserted upon the revision of this text.
The next paragraph begins on page 14 with line 20. That is, in my opinion, taking cognizance of what experience has shown to be necessary and is not in any sense intended to limit the control of the Government over the question of naturalization. It is intended to permit all of the residence of the petitioner to be supported by witnesses who have known him for a less time than five years. Proof of residence within a county by a subscribing witness will constitute valid proof of the fact of residence for the purpose of filing a petition for citizenship. All other residences outside of the county may be established by deposition.
Mr. Box. Do I understand that that clause as to residence in the county provides that the faet may be proven by affidavits attached to the petition or made a part of the petition?
Mr. Crist. Yes, sir; and residences outside of the county may be established by depositions, if the applicant has lived elsewhere. The present law permits depositions only in case the alien has resided in some other State than the · ştate in which he desires to petition for citizenship. You who live in the larger States know that where an alien has moved from one part of the State to another in the course of five years he would find it practically impossible to prove his residence. There is no good that is subserved by the present practice that can not be accomplished under this provision, so far as the Government is concerned.
The paragraph beginning on page 15, line 21, is to perniit the amendment of pleadings in natural zation cases the same as in any other litigat'on, both as to the declaration of intention and the petition for naturalization. There is no other litigation in which Federal laws do not permit amendment of pleadings.
Mr. VAILE. Does that provision on page 16 cover your point, Judge Raker?
The CHAIRMAN. That paragraph is an adaptation from H. R. 9, which we reported at one time.
Mr. Box. I want to inqu're what was the reason for not pernritting the amendment of pleadings in naturalization cases?
Mr. CRIST. There had been no experience on the subject at the time the act of 1906 was passed. Congress has not given that right in matters relating to naturalization, At the time the comm'ssion was appointed by President Roosevelt to look into the naturalization laws and to recommend their modification and codification, there had been no experience, and the whole scheme was therefore based upon a theory. Now experience has shown that those theories have been inadequate to deal with questions of the magnitude of naturalization. It was felt that because of the violations of the naturalization laws prior to the act of 1906, every safeguard and restriction should be thrown around naturalization. The decision of the quest'on of lim'ting the field in which depositions should be taken was an arbitrary decision. There having been no rule that could be followed, Congress adopted the rule that fixes depositions at State boundaries. That was found to be the rule in certain other cases, and it was thought it would be applicable to naturalization cases. Experience has shown that there is no great value to be gained from following that rule, and on the other hand it works an unnecessary hardship upon the applicant. There has been protest from practically every State in the Union regarding this present provision, and the conrmittee at the last session of Congress adopted this language here used.
Mr. Box. I understand, then, that the general idea in the enactment of this provision as it exists in the present law was to restrict the privilege of naturalization somewhat, or that was the general tendency. They probably felt that the right to be naturalized was being abused by a too liberal use of the law generally, and therefore they thought it ought to be hedged in somewhat. As I understand it, that is the theory behind that ruling.
Mr. CRIST. Yes, sir; I think so.
Mr. Box. Denying the right to amend petitions is an unusual thing in the American courts, as I understand it.
The CHAIRMAN. In the amendment we have developed this plan.
Mr. CRIST. The comm'ssion did not recommend the applicat'on of legal principles to this act which is here recommended to Congress. Therefore the statute failed to authorize amendments, and that failure has been construed to mrean that there is no authority for amendments.
Mr. RAKER. There is one suggestion I would like to make in order that the examiners may think about it: Right following the word "court" in line 10, page 16, do you not believe it would be well to insert the words “upon application therefor duly verified and filed with the clerk of the court"?
Mr. VAILE. Let us not attempt to correct this text now. I have a lot of corrections to suggest..
The CHAIRMAN. That entire paragraph is picked up from H. R. 9.
Mr. Crist. The paragraph on page 16, beginning with line 22, provides that the averments set forth in the declaration shall be set forth also in the petition,
The paragraph on page 17, beginning with line 6, is practically a repetition of what was contained in the act of May 8, 1918. It provides that members of the Citizenship Bureau and service may be designated by the Secretary of Labor to administer oaths for general purposes relating to the administration of the naturalization law.
The paragraph on page 17, beginning with line 10, is an innovation. This paragraph authorizes the Secretary of Labor, in cooperation with the judges of the courts exercising naturalization jurisdiction, to have the court appoint and designate examiners as naturalization commissioners to hear naturalization cases for their respective courts, and to give their examination by law, when conducted under this procedure, a judicial authority. This means that the examiners will conduct the examinations that they are now conducting, but with judicial authority, so that they may, as in other cases such as chancery, referees, and masters in cases such as patents, divorce cases, etc., report to the court as designated officers of the court authorized to hear naturalization cases for the court. This provision will dispense with the necessity for the appearance in court of the witnesses in those cases. It will only call for the appearance in ocurt of the applicant for citizenship. Each one of the cases will be reported upon by this officer of the law as a special commissioner in naturalization cases, and the report of the examiner or commissioner will be accepted by the court just as the court accepts reports from masters in chancery and other cases. Under this provision the court will have authority to accept such reports from the special commissioners or examiners in naturalization cases. To-day, as you gentlemen know from having visited the courts, the courts accept without legal authority the reports of the examiners in the naturalization courts,
Mr. Box. Will that result in a more thorough examination of the applicants?
Mr. Crist. It will result in a more thorough examination, because there will be more witnesses. This will give specific authority by law to the examiners to make these reports, and that means that they will sit with the sense of responsibility that would come to them with the knowledge that they were trying the case as judges. The examiner would be hearing the case with the same sense of responsibility, and as Government officers I feel that they recognize that that responsibility should be given them. The fact that the Government of the United States is conducting the administration of this law will mean the bringing forth of the most thorough and exhaustive reports as a result of this responsibility being placed upon them.
Mr. VAILE. As a matter of fact, that is in effect what is done now in the large cities.
Mr. CRIST. That is in effect done all over the United States now. In practically all of the courts the reports of the examiners are accepted. The reports are accepted by the courts, although the courts may supplement them by a further examination either by the examiner or the court itself. Complete re liance, however, is being placed upon these reports in many courts, although there is not this judicial authority reposed in the examiner by the law, but the courts take the responsibility simply because they are required by circumstances to do so. As a lawyer, the judge is looking to the law to see how far his confidence in these men may be reposed, or how much of his authority may be delegated to them.
The CHAIRMAN. I would suggest that the committee pay particular attention to the remarks which have just been made, because this raises the question of how far in the matter of detail we may go in setting up the proper machinery. Of course, this would greatly develop the position of chief examiner by combining it with that of commissioner and giving him power to make these examinations, or the authority of law to examine witnesses and submit reports in the way provided for here. The matter could be put in such shape that the alien may at the time for his appearance in court put on his best clothes and present himself with the pretty firm assurance that he will come out a citizen.
Mr. Box. I was just going to ask Mr. Crist whether or not, if that work is done properly and with a proper sense of responsibility, it will increase the duties of the examiners, requiring that we have more of them and probably pay them somewhat better salaries than now. I do not know about that; but, of course, they need it.
Mr. Crist. It would increase their responsibility, and there is no doubt that they do deserve larger compensation.
Mr. Box. You could not charge them with the performance of solemn duties like these without requiring them to do twice as much work as they probably ought to do, for half the pay they should receive.
Mr. Crist. There should be adequate provision made for them, and I have no doubt that this bill will make adequate provision for such a force as the department will require for this work. There are other features in this bill that should make it possible probably to simplify the process of naturalization and reduce the possibility of individuals of an undesirable character coming up for naturalization, at the same time increasing the number of those who are desirable and those who can be vouched for by their associates in their environments, so that the number that would be needed to be sifted out would be less. At the same time the responsibility would be greater upon the officers in the citizenship service who are undertaking this duty.
Mr. KLECZKA. Do you provide for a record of the examination ?
Mr. Crist. The record of the examination is provided for under the act of May 9.
Mr. KLECZKA. Will it be reduced to writing?
Mr. Crist. I doubt if it would in all cases. There is a written record now made of each examination, but it is not amplified in the sense that I think you have in mind. However, there is a complete record made of each examination, which is retained in the files of the district officers.
Mr. KLECZKA. Examination blanks are provided, asking general questions only, but, as I understand it, there is no record of the examination or crossexamination upon those questions not incorporated in the blank forms.
Mr. CRIST. In necessary cases there is. In some cases there is a written record made by the court reporter. The administrative examinations or judicial examinations contemplated here would be practically final, and it would be necessary to make a complete record in each case.
Mr. KLECZKA. Is there any authority of law now for making a stenographic record of the questions and answers?
Mr. CRIST. No, sir.
Mr. VAILE. In that connection, when we come to coordinate this bill a little more than it is now, perhaps we will have to make a better agreement between this section and section 19, which provides that the United States shall have the right to appear before any court or courts exercising jurisdiction in naturalization proceedings for the purpose of examining and cross-examining the petitioners and the witnesses.
Mr. CRIST. This examination is not to be considered as a final hearing in any case, The final hearing will be in court, and the final examination in cases under this system I have just been discussing would mean the return to the court of the report of the examiner as the agent of the court. The court is bound to rely upon the report of the examiner.
Mr. Box. If that is all there is to it and he is bound to rely upon it, what use would there be in holding a final examination?
Mr. CRIST. It would be the same that it is now. In certain cases there would be differences or questions to be decided by the courts, just as there is in the cases of masters' or referees' reports. In those cases the applicants and the witnesses would be in court. If the applicant wants to be heard, he could come into court with his witnesses, and that case would be given a full hearing.
Mr. VAILE. In my own State, and Mr. Armstrong will bear me out in this. there is quite an extensive examination in court by representatives of the district attorney's office, and by the judge himself.
Mr. CRIST. It is conducted by the chief examiner often.
Mr. VAILE. There is more by the judge. The judge asks many questions. If you contemplate having the proceedings before the examiner any more extensive than they are now, it seems to me that you will have to rewrite section 19.
Mr. CRISt. Judge Lewis makes that examination in the United States court at Denver because he realizes that there is no law that will authorize him to impose judicial responsibility upon the examiner.
Mr. Box. Does not that view prevail generally outside of the crowded centers, as to the examination of those applicants, or outside of those places where the courts are so congested ?
Mr. CRIST. Yes, sir.
Mr. RAKER. To simplify the matter, do you think that the same procedure that is now used by commissioners or masters in chancery in making their reports to the courts would cover the whole thing?
Mr. CRIST. Of course, that would be a detail for the committee to work out.
Mr. RAKER. Do you believe that there ought to be a written record or a stenographic report made of the final examination of the applicant for naturalization?
Mr. CRIST. I do not think there should be in all cases.