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COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ALBERT JOHNSON, Washington, Chairman J. WILL TAYLOR, Tennessee.
ADOLPH J. SABATH, Illinois. WILLIAM N. VAILE, Colorado.
JOHN E. RAKER, California. HAYS B. WHITE, Kansas.
RILEY J. WILSON, Louisiana. ARTHUR M. FREE, California.
JOHN C. BOX, Texas. JOHN L. CABLE, Ohio.
SAMUEL DICKSTEIN, New York. WILLIAM P. HOLADAY, Illinois.
S. D. McREYNOLDS, Tennessee. BIRD J. VINCENT, Michigan.
ELTON WATKINS, Oregon.
P. F. SNYDER, Clerk
CORRESPONDENCE WITH EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS
COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Thursday, April 17, 1924. The committee this day met, Hon. Albert Johnson (chairman) presiding
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. I suggest that numerous letters received by the chairman from the Secretary of State, Mr. Hughes, be made a part of the hearings, and be made into a separate pamphlet, so that the letters may be preserved in the records of this committee. Some of these letters, as you will remember, were printed in leaflets for the use of the committee, but there is danger of those becoming lost.
The committee will remember that during the night session held by us on April 10, three letters were received from the Secretary of State, all three bearing the date of April 10. One of these letters was the letter transmitting the letter of the Japanese ambassador, Mr. Hanihara, in protest against phrases in the committee's bill, H. R. 7995, and also the reply of the Secretary of State thereto. The ambassador's letter undertakes to give his views and the views of his Government as to the meaning of the gentlemen's agreement, and the letter of the Secretary of State reads "that the ambassador's statement of the essential points constituting the gentlemen's agreement corresponds with my own understanding of that arrangement."
Another letter from the Secretary, dated April 10, transmits to the committee a copy of a letter to Representative Frothingham. The third letter from the Secretary, dated April 10, points out the Secretary's views with regard to a double control in regard to the Japanese.
A letter received from the Secretary of State, dated April 11, transmits a copy of a letter dated April 10 to Chairman Madden, of the Appropriations Committee, and has to deal with estimated expenses under the proposed new legislation.
Previous letters sent to the committee include one of January 24, 1924, which transmits to the committee a memorandum from the Cuban Embassy and has to deal with proposed quotas for Latin American countries. Still another letter conveys suggestions from the Secretary of State as to administrative features.
Two or three other letters from the State and Labor Departments complete the list. In my opinion, the information should be placed in
one pamphlet and embodied in the permanent records of this committee.
(The letters referred to are as follows:)
LETTER FROM THE SECRETARY OF LABOR
DEPARTMENT OF Labor,
Washington, January 19, 1924. Hon. ALBERT JOHNSON, Chairman Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,
House Office Building. MY DEAR CONGRESSMAN: I regret exceedingly that an important prior engagement made it impossible for me to be at your committee room this morning while a hearing was had with reference to some phases of immigration legislation in which we are all interested.
As you know, and as I always have said, the idea of the immigration certificate was developed by you and your committee or by some one in the committee more or less by way of a response to the demand for legislation which might provide for some sort of examination abroad. I believe, however, that the proposal that passports be not required of immigrants when the immigration certificate plan is in operation had not been suggested until it was suggested in the draft covering administrative features of a proposed law.
If anything has been clear in the past with reference to visaing passports of immigrants, it has been that consuls have no discretion under existing law to refuse visaes except for want of identity or upon the showing that the alien in question would be offensive for reasons usually designated political, meaning thereby theories of government. It also results from the present practice that foreign governments choose for us our immigrants in the first instance, because no citizen or subject of a country can become an immigrant unless he secures from his government a passport.
The suggestions contained in the matters I sent you were not inconsistent with the continuance the passport system, ut were merely intended to make the passport unnecessary as far as our Government is concerned. It can readily be assumed that in many countries aliens would have difficulty in leaving their country without a passport from their country, even though they had immigration certificates. In such cases, of course, the alien would have to get a passport and would have to get a visa. It is also likely that aliens who must cross other European countries in their effort to come would have to have passports of their own country in order to cross these countries. However, most countries have ports of their own. That, of course, is a matter for the alien.
My suggestion merely is that the immigration certificate would answer every requirement of a passport and of a visa thereon of an American consul, and so far as we are concerned the alien may come when he has the immigration certificate regardless of whether he has a passport or not.
Unquestionably consuls should be permitted to make the broadest kind of an investigation with reference to an applicant for an immigration certificate and be authorized to issue or not to issue the certificate as their judgment may dictate based upon all the evidence submitted by the alien as well as all the evidence otherwise gathered by the consul. We are told that in some countries because of quota restrictions the governments will not issue passports to wives and children of men who are here because they want the quotas filled by men who may earn money here and support their families on the other side. If that be true the most handy means for such control on the part of such government lies in the passport. In such countries by the use of the immigration certificate and by making passports nonessential we could probably help lawfully domiciled aliens here to bring members of their families to join them.
In brief, as I look at it, the immigration certificate is the key to the situation. The broadest sort of investigation should be made before it is issued. The consul should be given sufficient discretion so that no person who would not fit into the American attitude on immigration as expressed by our laws should reach our shores. It is my view that a person who has an immigration certificate based on such an investigation ought not to be required, as far as we are concerned, to do a useless thing by way of getting a passport and a visa thereon. It is a question for the alien to determine whether or not he must have a passport under the requirement of his own country or some other country in Europe. There is no objection to his having the passport and getting the visa, but I see no reason why we should require it. Very sincerely yours,
James J. Davis, Secretary.