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ALIEN SEAMEN-INSANE ALIENS-STATEMENTS ON

VARIOUS IMMIGRATION PROBLEMS.

COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION,

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

Tuesday, January 30, 1923.

The committee this day met, Hon. William N. Vaile presiding.

STATEMENT OF MR. A. J. TYRER, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF

NAVIGATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.

Mr. VAILE. We have asked Mr. Tyrer to come here to give us such views as he now feels at liberty to express in connection with the investigations now being conducted by his department on the matter of requirements for admission of seamen and the requirements of the United States as to crews of vessels coming into or departing from the United States.

Mr. RAKER. What I understood was that we would only get information from the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Navigation, and the Bureau of Immigration as to the workability of this provision, and we thought your department would be in a position to give us some information as to just what you had done.

Now, I want to ask you whether you have read the report of the Secretary of Labor for this last year on this subject?

Mr. TYRER. I have not read the report carefully so as to remember his views on this particular subject, but I may state that the general subject of cooperating with the Department of Labor in the enforcement of the immigration laws, so far as they relate to seamen, has been under consideration between representatives of the Bureau of Immigration and the Bureau of Navigation on a number of occasions, and I think we have been able to secure rather effective cooperation, according to the statements made by the immigration representatives.

Mr. VAILE. Do you now care to make any statement on the subject of whether it is practicable to require that no vessel bound to a foreign port shall be permitted to depart from any port in the United States unless such vessel has a crew at least equal in number in each rating with the crew which such vessel had on her arrival? Do you now feel at liberty to express an opinion on the practicability of that provision?

Mr. TYRER. That question is directly involved in the report which the Secretary of the department will make on bill 4309.

Mr. SIECEL, Have you any idea as to when the report will be ready.

Mr. TYRER. We expect it will be ready in about a week. In that connection, there is the act of 1884 which provides that seamen may be signed on in a foreign port for the round trip; they do not have to be re-signed in this country, and I think, perhaps, that law is the one which causes trouble in connection with their bringing over a larger crew than they take back. They will sign on, for instance, in China or Japan a crew of men larger than they need for the particular vessel, the idea being to transfer them to another Vessel when they get on this side; they are not supervised or signed on on this side at all, and I believe that many of those members of the crew, under those conditions, stay in this country.

Mr. RAKER. You have no doubt in your mind but what a proper examination and identification of a seaman when he is given temporary leave the certificate to be held by the department--would give reasonable evidence whereby, if he violated his temporary leave, he could be apprehended and deported ?

Mr. TYRER. I should think so.

Mr. RAKER. There can not be any international or treaty provisions standing in the way of properly arranging conditions so that a seaman may get his temporary leave and at the same time protecting the Government.

Mr. TYKER. Not to niy knowledge; no, sir. I do not know why there should be.

Mr. RAKER. I am preparing a complete statement covering this entire matter, but in the meantime I would like to ask you whether or not this is true: That a seaman coming to a port in the United States can, under the law, get temporary leave of absence irrespective of his nationality or where he comes from.

Mr. TYRER. That is a matter that is under the administration of the immigration people. The matter of their shore leave and of their stay in this country is entirely under the immigration officers. We only have the discharge of the seamen on their arrival in this country.

Mr. RAKER. What do you mean by that?

Mr. TYRER. The seamen on American vessels are all discharged before our shipping commissioner.

Mr. RAKER. Make that a little plainer, if you will.

Mr. TYRER. When an American vessel enters an American port from a foreign country, except from the West Indies, Canada, or Mexico, the law requires that the members of the crew shall be discharged and paid off before a shipping commissioner, the shipping commissioner being our officer.

Mr. SIEGEL. Does the shipping commissioner receive any percentage of the amount paid out or does he get a definite and stated salary?

Mr. TYRER. He gets a stated salary. There are no fees involved in those services, those fees having been abolished in 1886.

Mr. RAKER. That simply has to do with paying off seamen and only on American vessels?

Mr. TYRER. Yes, sir.

MI RAKE So they know they get their pay? That is solely for the purpose of seeing that the seamen get their pay?

Mr. TYRER. Yes; and to settle all disputes that may have arisen during the voyage.

Mr. RAKER. That is, they bring him to port, and on his discharge you see that he gets his pay without any trouble?

Mr. TYRER. Yes, sir; that is to save him from going before a court in order to secure his wages.

Mr. RAKER. But that has nothing to do with the question of the rights of the seaman to land or the conditions surrounding his landing?

Mr. TYRER. That is correct .
Mr. SIEGEL. That applies, of course, to American seamen only, does it not?

Mr. TYRER. American seamen only. Foreign seamen are handled by the consuls of their nat onality or of the nationality of the ship.

Mr. SABATH. And on American vessels only?
Mr. Box. American seamen on American vessels only?
Mr. TYRER. Yes, sir.
Mr. Box. But it does not apply to any seamen who come on foreign vessels?
Mr. TYRER, No.

Mr. RAKER. On page 92 of the tenth annual report of the Secretary of Labor, being for the fiscal year 1922, Secretary Davis, speaking on this subject, and in connection with correspondence between Surgeon General Cumming and various other departments, says:

" The subject of the examination of seamen seeking shore leave, I think, requires immediate and thorough attention. The privilege of shore leave applies to all seamen, even including the races which are barred as immigrants and the zones from which immigrants may not come.”

That is your understading?
Mr. TYRER. That is the law; yes, sir.

Mr. RAKER. So that whenever a ship lands at any port in the United States, other conditions being equal for the ship to come in, any seaman by proper examination of the department, whichever that might be, may get a temporary leave of absence?

Mr. TYRER. That is under the immigration officers.

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Mr. RAKER. But that is only temporary, and in due course he must return to his calling on that vessel or some other vessel ; if he fails to do that and enters into any other occupation he may be arrested and deported ?

Mr. TYRER. Yes, sir,
Mr. RAKER. The Secretary of Labor further states:

Seamen, in the very nature of things, touch some time or other all the ports of the world and thus are more likely to be carriers of disease than the immigrants. If there is no provision in the law for thorough examination of seamen who seek shore leave, the provision should be made therefor."

Now, that is what we are trying to do in this provis on. In the first place, it provides for examination and you see no objection to that?

Mr, TYRER. No; that is, from the immigration standpoint.
Mr. RAKER. Well, as a citizen?

Mr. TYRER. The only objection I could see to it would be the possible delay to the ships. You see, these ships are running on a schedule.

Mr. RAKER. I know; but it seems to me the question of delay should not enter in determining what is right. This record is reeking with reasons why something should be done, reasons stated by the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service and all the departments. The statement is made that this is the one loophole through which diseases of all kinds have come and are now coming to the United States, and as between the health of the public and a mere temporary proper examination or delay of a vessel, the public's interest should be taken into consideration first, should it not?

Mr. TYRER. Certainly. I do not know what delay would be involved in the examination.

Mr. RAKER. There would not be any delay if it is properly handled.
Mr. TYRER. Some of these crews run up to 400 and 500 men.

Mr. Box. What investigation or examination is contemplated more than is now made when seamen are landed ?

Mr. RAKER. According to the reports there is practically none now.
Mr. Box. Does not the law provide for one?
Mr. RAKER. Yes; but they do not make it.

Mr. SABATH. Have we not immigration inspectors in all the ports who examine these seamen ?

Mr. RAKER. According to the report of Secretry Davis and according to the statement of Doctor Cumming, Surgeon General of the Public Health Service, there are only two places in the United States—New York and Ellis Islandwhere any effort or pretense is made to have a proper examination made of seamen as well as other people.

Mr. Box. Is that because they have not the force or because the law does not authorize it?

Mr. RAKER. It is for three reasons; first, for want of equipment; second, for want of force; and, third, for want of proper certificates when seamen leave a vessel.

Mr. SIEGEL. That does not affect the question of examination? Mr. RAKER. No; we are not down to that yet. I was attempting to get Mr. Tyrer's viewpoint of the seamen law and a proper examination of seamen as to whether or not he is a seaman. That is a question of fact and the officers should determine that, should they not?

Mr. TYRER. Yes, sir.

Mr. RAKER. If he is a bogus seaman, temporarily changes his clothing and comes as a seaman, and upon examination he is found not to be a seaman, he would not get temporary shore leave. would he?

Mr. TYRER. Not if he is otherwise disqualified.
Mr. RAKER. There can be no objection to such an examination of a seaman.
Mr. TYRER. Not that I see.

Mr. RAKER. And there could be no objection under the law to giving him a proper certificate showing the fact that he has been examined, showing his picture and other conditions, so that when the time comes the public may know that he is a real seaman and that if he does not return to that vessel he should go to some other vessel within a reasonable time.

Mr. TYRER. But I think it should be qualified in this way, that every facility for such examination should be available.

Mr. RAKER. I am assuming that all the time. Mr. TYRER. In order to avoid delaying the boats. All these boats run on a schedule, and it is important that they should get away.

Mr. RAKER. I know; but as between the importance of the boat getting away on schedule time and the public health, which should have the preference?

Mr. SABATH. The witness is a navigation man.
Mr. RAKER. I know; and I will not press that question.
Mr. SABATH. We called Mr. Tyrer on navigation matters.
Mr. RAKER. I thought this covered navigation.

Mr. VAJLE. Although we can assume he has some views as a citizen, the same as the rest of us have.

Mr. RAKER. All right, we will pass that I was first taking up the preliminaries, knowing that the witness is well able to help us and that from his knowledge as an expert on navigation and on the seamen law he would be able to tell us whether these provisions were or were not in contravention of treaties and statutes.

Mr. TYRER. They are not in contravention of treaties and statutes.

Mr. RAKER. That covers that. The second provision is—and it will take me just a moment—with regard to the landing of a vessel. The statute requires that it must come with its full complementis not that right?

Mr. TYRER. That applies only to American vessels. An Am .ican vessel, under section 4463 of the Revised Statutes, is required to carry the complement of officers fixed for that vessel and if she does not she incurs a penalty; that is, as to officers and crew,

Mr. RAKER. What is the provision in the seamen act as to the complement of officers?

Mr. TYRER. Section 13 of the seamen act requires that 65 per cent of the deck crew shall be able seamen, and under section 14 it is provided that a vessel shall have a certain number of certified life boatmen.

Mr. RAKER. But we are entitled to see that that law is enforced when foreign vessels enter our ports?

Mr. TYRER. The seamen act applies to American vessels; that is, section 4463 of the Revised Statutes applies as far as the number of officers and crew is concerne l, while section 13 of the seamen aet applies to foreign as well as American vessels.

Mr. RAKER. So that sections 13 and 14 apply to all?
Mr. TYRER. Yes, sir,
Mr. SIEGEL. Do they not only apply when they depart?
Mr. TYRER. When the depart; yes.

Mr. RAKER. Now, the point is this: When a vessel thus enters and does not have this complement, as you have suggested and as is provided in sections 13 and 14 of the seamen act, we have the right to inspect the crew and to determine whether she has complied with all the requirements when she comes?

Mr. TYRER. You get that right under the immigration act.
Mr. SIEGEL. Does section 13 apply to ships arriving here?
Mr. TYRER. No; it does not.

Mr. Box. And does the right of inspection apply to men who do not seek shore leave?

Mr. SIEGEL. Yes; we have absolute authority. We must examine them,
Mr. Box. Everybody who comes in on a foreign ship?
Mr. SIEGEL. Certainly.
Mr. RAKER (reading) :

" That no vessel bound to a foreign port, or place, shall be permitted to llepart from any port in the United States unless such vessel has a crew at least equal in number in each rating with the crew which such vessel bad on her arrival."

Now, that is for the purpose of prohibiting a vessel landing, say, with 500 and only taking back 300 seamen. Let us assume, for the sake of argument in presenting this question, that there are only 300 necessary; 300 get shore leave; 300 return to the vessel and the vessel leaves. Now, the point is that the ressel having come in with 500 seamen should not be permitted to land 200 to remain here without taking them away. Is there anything to prevent a provision of that kind ?

Mr. TYRER, That is one of the points that the secretary must report on. However, I will say that it has been presented to the bureau as an objection to that, at least one of the objections, because there have been a number of 'objections to it and they are going to be very strongly urged. I think, and that objection is

Mr. Box (interposing). Just a moment. Objections have been presented by your department or to your department?

Mr. TYRER. To our department. For instance, a vessel may come in from a foreign port with a large passenger list and she has a large number of stewards. Now, when she goes out she has no passenger list and under this provision she would be required to carry that same number of stewards.

Mr. RAKEK. But legally speaking, having brought 500 seamen she should not dump 400 on shore and only go away with 100. I say legally speaking and am not talking about the policy.

Mr. TYRER. Suppose that when that ship comes in she has 500 on board and they are all American citizens and she finds that on her return trip she needs only 300 and 200 are left here. That case would also be covered by your provision,

Mr. RAKER. Well, let us get to the legal feature. Is there any law prohibiting the Government from requiring a vessel, after dealing with 500 coming, to deal with a like number going?

Mr. TYRER. We already fix the crew,
Mr. RAKER. There is no legal objection to that?
Mr. TYRER. No, sir.
Mr. RAKER (reading):
“It is hereby made unlawful",

Mr. Box (interposing). Excuse me just a minute, because I want to get that in my mind. We have a law regulating the number they must have on departing, but suppose they bring a much larger number on their arrival; then the difference between the number brought and the number carried away is not covered by the present law, is it?

Mr. TYRER. The present law fixes the minimum, and they may carry any number of others.

Mr. RAKER. What I was getting at is this: There is no treaty obligation which would prohibit Congress from saying that a vessel having brought 500 must take away 500?

Mr. TYRER. I would like to qualify my remarks by saying that everything I have said has l'eferred to American vessels. We do not fix the number of the crew that a foreign vessel shall have when she goes out. Congress has never legislated in that manner that is, attempted to fix either the number of the crew or their qualifications, except in section 13 of the seamen act.

Mr. Box. How far does it go into that act?
Mr. TYRER. Able seamen.

Mr. RAKER. But there is nothing provided as to the complement they should have when they leave?

Mr. TYRER. There is nothing that provides for that except as to vessels carrying passengers.

Mr. Box. What about our right to do that in regulating foreign shipping? Would we not have many protests from foreign people engaged in shipping if we attempted to regulate the number of their crews?

Mr. TYRER. We certainly would have the right to safeguard passengers going out from the United States, that is to say, that no foreign vessel should take passengers out of this country unless she provided a crew sufficient for the safe navigation of that vessel. We now require that she shall not take passengers out of this country until she is inspected and has all of the lifesaving equipment required by her certificate of inspection, but we have never toucher the crew end.

Mr. SIEGEL. Would there be any issue raised in the event that we mandatorily required that a ship shall take with her the equal number of crew, stewards, etc., that she brought over? That is what Judge Raker is trying to do with this proposed amendment, and we want to know what your opinion is as to its feasibility and whether

Mr. RAKER (interposing). The witness has said that legally it can be done, but he does not want to express an opinion as to the policy, and I have not gone into it for that reason.

" Second, that it is hereby made unlawful for any vessel to come to a port of the United States, except in distress, with a crew which, under the laws of the United States, is not permitted to depart on the same vessel from any port of the United States, and such crew shall be taken into custody by the Commissioner of Immigration and shall be deported at the expense of such vessel and such vessel shall not be given clearance until this proviso is complied with."

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