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WIVES OF AMERICAN CITIZENS OF ORIENTAL RACE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, February 7, 1928 The committee this day met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon Albert Johnson (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will be in order. There is some pressure here in regard to a bill or bills, one by a member of the committee, Mr. MacGregor, for the relief of certain Indians, principally the six-tribe Indians. We are informed that the Senate committee has authorized the reporting of a bill. I think it would be advisable to appoint a subcommittee to bring those matters into harmony and endeavor at least to draft a bill not including in it all North American Indians, meaning all Indians north of Panama, when it is intended to mean only certain Indians in Canada.
If there is no objection, the chairman will make Mr. MacGregor chairman of that subcommittee, and appoint as additional members Mr. Moore and Mr. Taylor. This subcommittee can work this matter up and get a bill ready to report it to the full committee.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Tuesday, February 7, 1928. The committee this day met at 10.30 o'clock a. m., Hon. Albert Johnson, chairman, presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. This meeting was called for the purpose of hearing certain gentlemen in connection with H. R. 6974, which is a bill introduced by Mr. Dyer to permit the admission, as nonquota immigrants, of certain alien wives and children of United States citizens. The bill reads as follows:
[H. R. 6974, Seventieth Congress, first session)
A BILL To permit the admission, as nonquota immigrants, of certain alien wives and
children of United States citizens
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That clause (1) of subdivision (c) of section 13 of the immigration act of 1924 is amended to read as follows: “(1) is admissible as a nonquota immigrant under the provisions of subdivision (a), (b), (d), or (e) of section 4 or." This bill would amend section 13 c of the immigration act of 1924.
Mr. DYER. Under section 13, paragraph (c), of the immigration act of 1924, we wish to insert before the letter (b) the subdivision (a) of section 4, which is as follows:
(a) An immigrant who is an unmarried child under 18 years of age, or the wife, of a citizen of the United States who resides therein at the time of the filing of the petition under section 9.
Let me state it again. All this bill would do would be to include paragraph (a) of section 4 with (b), (d), or (e) of section 4. In other words, it will read then as follows:
(c) No alien ineligible to citizenship shall be admitted to the United States unless such alien (1) is admissible as a nonquota immigrant under the provisions of subdivisions (a), (b), (d), or (e) of section 4
Paragraphs (b), (d), and (e) of section 4 of the act of May 26, 1924, in defining the meaning of the term “nonquota immigrant, read as follows:
(b) An immigrant, previously lawfully admitted to the United States, who is returning from a temporary visit abroad;
(d) An immigrant who continuously for at least two year's immediately preceding the time of his application for admission to the United States has been, and who seeks to enter the United States solely for the purpose of, carrying on the vocation of minister of any religious denomination, or professor of a college, academy, seminary, or university; and his wife, and his unmarried children under 18 years of age, if accompanying or following to join him; or
(e) An immigrant who is a bona fide student at least 15 years of age and who seeks to enter the United States solely for the purpose of study at an accredited school, college, academy, seminary, or university, particularly designated by him and approved by the Secretary of Labor, which shall have agreed to report to the Secretary of Labor the termination of attendance of each immigrant student; and if any such institution of learning fails to make such reports promptly, the approval shall be withdrawn.
Mr. DYER. Paragraph (a) of section 4 of the act of 1924 was, in my opinion, unintentionally left out from section 13c of that act. This bill has only one purpose, namely, to include that letter (a), which would enable an American-born Chinese to bring his alien wife to the United States from China.
The •CHAIRMAN. It means more than that, does it not? You mean an American-born person of oriental ancestry, not necessarily Chinese, do you not?
Mr. DYER. Yes.
Mr. DYER. Yes. Mr. Chairman, your committee was very kind to give us a hearing at the last session of Congress on this bill. That hearing was held on February 16, 1926, and copies of it are printed. Therefore I am sure this matter is familiar to most gentlemen of the committee.
At that time a number of witnesses appeared.
This morning we have with us three other gentlemen, all of whom are American-born Chinese, who wish to present, briefly, this matter to the committee again.
First, I will call upon Mr. Y. C. Hong, who was born in the United States and educated at the University of Southern California. Mr. Hong is now a practicing attorney of Los Angeles.
STATEMENT OF Y. C. HONG, PRESIDENT OF THE LOS ANGELES
CHAPTER OF THE NATIVE SONS OF THE GOLDEN STATE, CHINESE AMERICAN CITIZENS ALLIANCE, LOS ANGELES, CALIF.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Dyer, do you not think it would be well to read into the record the letter you wrote to the chairman of this committee on February 1, 1928?
Mr. DYER. Yes.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C., February 1, 1928. Hon. ALBERT JOHNSON, Chairman Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR COLLEAGUE: On next Tuesday, February 7, at 10.30 o'clock, your committee has consented to hear myself and two or three others in support of the bill H. R. 6974, copy of which I am inclosing.
As you know, this legislation is necessary due to a decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Chang Chan et al. v. John D. Nagle (268 U. S. 346, 15 Sup. Ct. J10).
Alien Chinese wives of American citizens were admissible to the United States prior to the 1924 immigration act; therefore H. R. 6974 is not asking for a new right but restoration of a former privilege.
The Supreme Court has decided that section 13 (c) of the 1924 immigration act excludes the Chinese wives of American citizens and that the remedy lies with Congress.
Section 4a of the 1924 immigration act takes care of the alien wives belonging to races eligible to citizenship, admitting them as nonquota immigrants. Why shouldn't the American-born Chinese enjoy the same right of bringing into the United States his Chinese wife?
The scarcity of Chinese females in this country forces the Chinese-American citizens to go to China to seek wives of his own race, intermarriage being inadvisable and prohibited by law in 11 States. After marriage the wife must now be left in China.
This bill would also, of course, apply to Japanese, but its field of operation among the Japanese would be sinall, almost negligible, for the reason that the situation would regard to the Japanese is different than with regards to the Chinese. The native-born Japanese in this country are largely children and are about equally divided as to sex. The 1920 census shows this. This being the case, this class will take care of itself in the matter of marriage. The young Japanese-American born, born under the benign influences of our civilization, reared in our, schools, blessed with our institutions, will look to the body of girls of his own race born here, who have had the same advantage as to education and environment that he has had, when he seeks a wife. Brought up among these Japanese girls here, association with the natural affection for those with whom he has been brought up. will lead him to seek a wife here, instead of seeking a wife in Japan whose education, thoughts, and ideas are essentially different to his own. Eventually, the same condition as referred to above would be obtained in reference to Chinese-American citizens, when the birth rate of both sexes becomes equal. But until that time arrives we must not force the Chinese-American citizen to live a life of celibacy or force him to marry a woman which the law forbids to come to the United States.
During the discussion of the 1924 immigration bill in the house it was stated that the alien wives of citizens would be taken care of. The Congiess had no intention to exclude the alien Chinese wives of American citizens, but the decision of the Supreme Court, referred to above, makes it clear that we did. The Secretary of Labor, in his 1927 annual report, referring to the fact that an alien Chinese merchant residing in the United States has the right to bring in his Chinese wife, said, “I am sure it was never intended by the Congress that an alien should be entitled to rights under the immigration laws greater than an American citizen."
In the last Congress a similar bill (H. R. 6544) was before your committee. Hearings were had upon it February 16, 1926. Since nothing was done in that
Congress the hardships has become more pronounced and acute as the period of separation has increased and three years has elapsed without any relief afforded. I therefore ask that you give favorable consideration to this legislation and thereby put an end to this injustice to a most friendly people. Very truly yours,
L. C. DYER. The CHAIRMAN. What was the Supreme Court decision in the case of Chang Chan v. Nagle? Is that an old-time decision?
Mr. DYER. That is a decision rendered at the October term of the Supreme Court, 1924, and it was written by Mr. Justice McReynolds. In that decision it is held that since the 1924 immigration law prohibited aliens ineligible to citizenship to come to the United States, that even marriage to American-born Chinese did not admit them. He decided that, in effect, the only way that they could come would be to add subdivision (a), which this bill includes.
Mr. Box. Can you suggest to the committee why the female Chinese population is not equal to the male population if they are equal at all in the case of the Japanese?
Mr. DYER. The Japanese for many years, under some tacit understanding or agreement between the State Department and the Japanese Government, were allowed to send their women here to the United States to become the wives of Japanese, coming here as what was known as, I think, picture brides. Many came here that way.
Mr. Box. I am talking about the American-born Japanese and Chinese. Why the difference in those populations?
Mr. DYER. The Japanese were able to have our Government permit Japanese women to come here for the purpose of marrying Japanese.
Mr. Box. Those born in Japan?
Mr. DYER. Yes; but our Government permitted them to come here as picture brides, so-called, and they married Japanese resident within the United States.
Mr. Box. The Chinese, such as were born within the United States, were born of women. Why did they not have as many sisters as they had brothers?
Mr. DYER. I can not answer that. The last census figures we have available show that there are within the continental limits of the United States 13,318 males and 5,214 females.
Mr. Box. Are those native-born males?
Mr. DYER. Yes; native-born Chinese within the continental United States.
Mr. Box. There are more than twice as many males as females? Mr. DYER. Yes.
Mr. Box. Those were born of native mothers. Now tell me why the difference in the number of girls and boys—the number of girls being smaller than the number of boys.
Mr. DYER. I am unable to explain that. Perhaps the gentleman who shall speak to us this morning can do it.
If it is agreeable to the committee I will ask Mr. Hong to address the committee at this time. As I have said, Mr. Hong was born in the United States, was educated in the University of Southern California, and is a practicing lawyer in Los Angeles at this time. Moreover, he was for a number of years connected with the United States Immigration Service.
The CHAIRMAN. I desire to note the fact that you refer to the fact that the Secretary of Labor calls attention to the Supreme Court decision in regard to Chinese merchants, not necessarily merchants in China, but Chinese who become merchants here, for, under the Supreme Court decision, the right to have their wives come here or follow them would put them above the native-born Chinese.
Because the committee was led into one error, through misinfor. mation as to the meaning of the Chinese treaty is no reasons why we should proceed to walk into another error..
The proper step, it seems to me, would be to offer an amendment to the 1924 act, giving a definition of “International Merchants," so that the position now enjoyed by the Chinese would not be enjoyed by them as against all other countries of the world. Mr. DYER. That is a matter that does not appear in this bill.
The CHAIRMAN. I am calling attention to a proposal that might be offered as an amendment, or as a separate bill.
Mr. DYER. I should like to have you place in the record the letter received by this committee from the Department of Labor concern. ing the pending bill. The CHAIRMAN. That will be done.
Mr. WHITE. I wonder if it would interest the committee if the witness should say how many persons would be affected by this proposed measure?
Mr. Hong. We have not made any investigation of that. We were not financially able to make such an investigation. Any investigation should be a thorough one-not only concerning our own members but all American citizens of our race.
The CHAIRMAN. You have said that there are 13,000 Americanborn Chinese men in the country according to the last census?
Mr. DYER. The number is 13,318 within the continental limits of the United States.
The CHAIRMAN. Of all ages?
The CHAIRMAN. This thing would be continued indefinitely. There would be no way to estimate how many persons would be affected by this proposed measure, because it would develop an endless situation. It would be in effect 20 years from now.
Mr. DYER. Yes; that is true.
The CHAIRMAN. A citizen of Chinese ancestry might want to go to his country and get his bride and he would like to have that privilege.
Mr. DYER. Yes; that would be continued. As you know, the Chinese—all of them—do not care to bring their wives here. I do not know why. Mr. Hong perhaps can explain that to your satisfaction.
The CHAIRMAN. I should like to have explained also the plan by which children born in China re considered to be the children of American Chinese and have the right to come here as citizens. Does that still prevail ?
Mr. Hong. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, if I may proceed, our purpose here is to continue what we did during the last Congress, namely, to urge the passage of an amendment to H. R. 6544, Sixty-ninth Congress, to allow the admission of Chinese wives of American citizens into this country. Of course, the hardship of separation of wife and husband is practically realized by everybody here. It is needless for me to dwell upon that important subject and