Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Reynolds on January 5, 1939, and you request the views of the Immigration and Naturalization Service on the measure.

The bill provides that 60 days after its passage immigration of aliens into the United States for permanent residence shall be suspended for a period of 10 years, or until such time as the Department of Labor shall certify to the Congress that unemployment in the United States does not exceed 3,000,000 persons. The bill also contains penal provisions for violation of the provisions of the terms of the act and other immigration laws. By wholly suspending immigration its effect appears to be not only to eliminate the number who come under present restrictions, but also to prevent near relatives of American citizens or legally resident aliens who now enjoy either nonquota or preference quota status from uniting with the family in America. Furthermore, the bill would erase the nonquota immigrant status now afforded natives of neighboring countries in this hemisphere.

A number of aliens have been admitted to the United States who probably because of economic reasons were unable to bring with them other members of their immediate families—wife, husband, children, and parents. The bill if enacted into law would make impossible the union of such families for at least 10 years, although the aliens who have come to the United States to settle with the consent of this Government have always been of the belief that the admission of their families at some later time when they were able to send for them would not be denied. It would seem wise to make some provision for permitting normal family life to continue.

The administration of the existing immigration laws has done much to reach what appears to be the objective of the bill. The number of immigrants admitted into the United States in the last 5 years has averaged less than 50,000 per annum. It is unlikely that this number has greatly affected the conditions of the unemployed in this country, especially when consideration is given to the fact that a large part of the number admitted were dependents of citizens or aliens legally here, or were otherwise not of the employee class, and further, that about 33,000 aliens yearly left the country in the same time. Sincerely,

FRANCES PERKINS,

Hon. RICHARD B. RUSSELL, Jr.,
Chairman, Committee on Immigration,

United States Senate, Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR RUSSELL: Reference is made to your communication of March 8, 1939, requesting the views of this Department on S. 407 entitled “A bill to further reduce immigration, to authorize the exclusion of any alien whose entry into the United States is inimical to the public interest, to prohibit the separation of families through the entry of aliens leaving dependents abroad, and for other purposes" introduced by Senator Reynolds on January 5, 1939. As indicated in its title, the bill proposes new legislation concerned principally with the admission and exclusion of aliens.

Section 1 proposes (1) to reduce quotas from and after July 1, 1939, to 10 percent of the quotas established by existing law but makes the minimum quota of any one nationality 100; (2) to impose a quota upon natives of Canada, Newfoundland, Mexico, Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Canal Zone, or an independent country of Central or South America, which quota shall be 10 percent of the number of natives of those countries who entered the United States in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1930, but makes the minimum quota for any one of those countries not less than 100 but permitting the Department of State to enter into reciprocal arrangements with those countries whereby as many of their natives may be admitted into the United States for permanent residence as the number of persons born in the United States are admitted into any of the said countries for permanent residence during the preceding fiscal year; (3) to grant preference in the issuance of immigration visas to quota immigrants who are the fathers or the mothers, or the husbands or wives by marriage occurring after January 1, 1933, of citizens of the United States who are 21 years of age or over, and to quota immigrants who are the unmarried children under 21 years of age, or the wives or the husbands, or the mother or the father of aliens lawfully resident in the United States.

The number of quota immigrants permitted entry into the United States annually under existing law totals approximately 153,000. If the bill should be enacted into law the number of quota immigrants permitted entry into the United States annually would approximate 15,000. Its effect would appear to be not only the entire elimination of what might be called new seed immigrants but would

prevent near relatives of American citizens or legally resident aliens from uniting with the family in America. A large number of aliens have been admitted to the United States who, probably because of economic reasons, were unable to bring, with them other members of their immediate families-wife, husband, children and parents. The bill would make impossible the union of such families for many years although the aliens who have come to the United States to settle with the consent of this Government have always been of the belief that the admission of their families at some later time when they were able to send for them would not be denied. The proposal to restrict to so small a number the quota of aliens would seem, in the circumstances, to be unwise. It might be added that the administration of the existing immigration laws has done much to reach what appears to be the objective of the bill. The number of immigrants admitted into the United States in the last 5 years has averaged less than 50,000 per annum. It is unlikely that this number has greatly affected the conditions of the unemployed in this country especially when consideration is given to the fact that a large part of the number admitted were dependents of citizens or aliens legally here, or were otherwise not of the employed class, and further that about 33,000 yearly left the country in the same time. It is of interest to note that a total of only 95,520 aliens of the nonpreference quota immigrant class have been admitted to the United States in the last 5 years.

With respect to that subdivision in section 1 which imposes a quota upon the number of natives of countries in the Western Hemisphere, it is to be kept in mind that it has been the policy of the United States to foster friendly relations with those countries. Ill feeling toward the United States by the people of those countries will certainly be engendered by placing their populations within the quota restrictions. For that reason alone the proposal to abandon the definite policy established in 1924 by placing those countries under a quota appears to be unwise.

Moreover, immigration from countries in the Western Hamisphere has not reached the proportions where it can be said that urgent reasons justify a change in the immigration policy regarding aliens from those countries. In the 5-year period ending June 30, 1938, a yearly average fo about 10,000 immigrants were given nonquota visas because of their birth in one of the countries of the Western Hemisphere,

The proposal to give to the Department of State the authority to enter into reciprocal arrangements with present nonquota countries to permit as many of their natives to enter the United States as natives of the United States are permitted to enter their countries will not cure the evil which, it is believed, the bill creates. While accurate figures on the emigration of natives of the United States to nonquota countries is lacking, it is extremely unlikely that the number of nonquota entrants does not exceed native citizens of the United States departing to those countries and there will be a reduction in the number of immigrants from present nonquota countries under the arrangement permitted by law.

The provision of section 1 whereby all of the quota of any country may be used for the preference classes is undoubtedly a recognition of the fact that aliens who are residents of the United States should be permitted to bring their immediate family ties to this country. It is doubtful that the provision will, with the increasing economic improvement in this country, allow all of the relatives referred to in the preference classes, who wish to, to join the alien or citizen relatives in the United States. It might be here observed that this provision will effectively prevent any new seed immigrant from coming to the United States from a number of the foreign countries. Notwithstanding an alien's learning, his achievements in the arts or sciences, his desirability to American industry and culture, if he is an immigrant of a country whose preference classes exhaust the quotas he may not enter the United States. It is questionable whether such an inflexible restrictive policy is desirable.

Section 1 has a number of technical defects which should be corrected. Present law makes the wives of citizens and the husbands of citizens by marriage occurring prior to July 1, 1932, nonquota immigrants. The nonquota relative provisions of the act of 1924 have not been amended by the bill and, therefore, the preference classes proposed should be corrected to exclude the wives of citizens and to include the husbands of citizens by marriage occurring subsequent to June 30, 1932. Otherwise, the husbands of citizens by marriage occurring between June 30, 1932, and January 1, 1933, would be without preferences, a proposal which it is believed was not intended.

Section 2 of the bill prohibits the issuance of an immigration visa from and after July 1, 1939 to any married applicant unless he also applies for visas for all dependents admissible as nonquota immigrants or entitled to preferences within the quotas, or unless the applicant submits satisfactory evidence that transportation will be provided for the spouse and minor dependents to accompany the applicant to the United States. While this section evidently is intended to make a family migrate to the United States as a unit, it fails of its purpose.

The new seed immigrant would not be affected by the section because obviously his wife and children could not be of the nonquota class or preference immigrants and the section expressly applies only to "dependents admissible as nonquota immigrants, or entitled to preferences within the quotas." Again, it is be noted that the bar placed by the statute is to the issuance of a visa. After the visa is issued, the head of the family may still proceed to the United States and leave his family abroad. While the intent of this section might have been of value in the years when unrestricted immigration was permitted and a great number of aliens were migrating to this country and leaving their families abroad, it is not believed that today it would serve any useful purpose.

Section 3 of the bill requires that from and after July 1, 1939, no immigration visa shall be issued to any applicant who shall fail to pass an intelligence test equivalent to a normal rating of American white stock or whose reputation or personal characteristics, in the judgment of the consul, would render the applicant not readily assimilable among the preponderent element of the United States. It further requires that a visa be denied to all members of a family if one fails to meet the requirements of the section. Aside from the fact that the standards set up to judge the admissibility of aliens under this section are at best vague, it is quite clear that when consideration is given to the number of American consuls which will have to pass upon these standards, uniformity of action in administering the provision will be impossible. The purpose of the section undoubtedly was to keep out of the United States persons mentally and morally subnormal, but it is questionable whether the proposal will be more effective than the present provisions of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917. Persons suffering from any mental defect or who are morally delinquent, as determined by the fixed standards set forth in the act of 1917, are now excluded from admission to the United States. If some of these types have entered the country it is not because of lack of law to keep them out but because certain disabilities and infirmities are not always manifest at a given time or when an examination of an individual occurs. It is for this very reason that there are clauses in the deportation laws which require the removal of aliens who have entered who are found to have been at the time of entry inadmissible aliens.

Section 4 authorizes the Secretary of State to deny a visa to any alien whose presence in the United States, either as a visitor or as a permanent resident, he deems inimical to the public interest. This section fails to define the terms "inimical" or "public interest” so that it is altogether indefinite as to what is to be regarded as public interest or under what circumstances an alien's presence is to be regarded as inimical thereto. The provision is so vague as to make responsible administration of it impracticable.

Section 5 amends the ninth proviso to section 3 of the Immigration Act of February 5, 1917, so as to make that proviso applicable only to aliens seeking temporary admission for the purpose of receiving medical treatment not obtainable at an immigration station pending deportation. The meaning of this section is not clear. If an alien is seeking temporary admission for medical treatment it would seem to be a matter of no relevancy whether any medical treatment can or cannot be given at an immigration station "pending deportation.” There are innumerable instances where aliens living in the neighboring countries of Mexico or Canada desire to enter the United States for treatment which can only be obtained in times of emergency in the United States and not at an immigration station. It would be inhumane to deny them the opportunity of such treatment. Again, there are aliens of good character and means who seek temporary admission for pleasure or business who are, however, inadmissible because of illiteracy, physical defects, or other causes. If the present provision of law is amended as proposed such persons could not be permitted temporary entry into the United States under any circumstance.

Section 6 repeals section 7 of the act of May 25, 1932 and permanently bar from admission to the United States any alien arrested and deported unless prior to the enactment of the bill the alien obtained permission of the Secretary of Labor to reenter the United States and such alien has reentered or applies for readmission within 60 days after the bill becomes effective. The section in substance restates clauses (a) and (b) of section 1 of the act approved March 4, 1929, prior to the amendment made by the act of May 25, 1938. Those clauses were found in the administration of the law to be entirely too harsh and Congress by

the amendment gave to the Secretary of Labor authority to grant permission to reapply after a year following deportation. As an example of the harshness of those clauses, an alien may have been brought to the United States illegally as a child by his parents. After residing in the United States a number of years he is ordered deported. However, during his stay in this country he may have been married to a citizen and he may have a family. Notwithstanding his ties in the United States, under the proposed amendment to the 1929 act he will not be permitted to return to his family. The same reasons which prompted Congress in amending the act of March 4, 1929 exist today.

It is to be observed that section 7 has been omitted from the bill.

Sections 8, 9, and 10 are technical in character. One gives to the Secretary of Labor the authority to promulgate regulations for the administration of the act; another section contains penal clauses for the punishment of violators of the act, and the third status that the provisions of the act are in addition to existing law.

I wish to call your attention to the fact that this bill is somewhat similar to S. 1366 introduced by Senator Reynolds on February 5, 1937, on which hearings were held before a subcommittee of the Committee on Immigration in April 1937. Sincerely,

FRANCES PERKINS, Secretary.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,

January 20, 1939. Hon. RICHARD B. RUSSELL, Jr., Chairman, Committee on I mmigration, United States Senate,

Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR RUSSELL: Reference is made to your communication of January 11, enclosing a copy of S. 408, now pending before the committee, and requesting the views of this Department thereon.

This bill is practically identical with S. 1364 introduced in the last Congress by Senator Reynolds, and also is similar to H. R. 4355, introduced by Congressman Starnes on February 4, 1937.

On February 16, 1937, this Department addressed a letter to you commenting upon S. 1364. Inasmuch as this Department's views on the general principle contained in the bill have not changed, the following comment is necessarily (with such changes as are required to meet the slight differences in the two bills) the same as contained in our letter of February 16, 1937, previously referred to.

In the first place, it seems that the bill creates a rather unnecessary and cumbersome machinery of administration. It creates an additional governmental board. This board seems to have no function other than to prepare for proclamation regulations and forms for carrying out the provisions of the act. When this has been accomplished the need for the board's continued existence does not appear in the present bill. If the measure proposed by this bill were desirable, it would be simpler to place the administration in a single executive department, and, as has been done in other instances of like nature, provide for the cooperation of other departments so far as necessary. Regulations might be jointly approved insofar as they affect such other departments.

This Department cannot recommend the registration of aliens as proposed in this measure. The following are some of the reasons which move it to adopt this attitude.

There appears to be a common misunderstanding as to registration. It seems to be assumed that it would bring about the registration of aliens illegally in the country. This is altogether unlikely. The alien illegally here will not register as he would have nothing to gain by so doing and would merely place the Government on notice as to his presence in the country and bring about proceedings for his deportation. Only the alien lawfully in the United States would probably be registered. The threat of possible conviction and sentence failure to register is less likley to encourage the registry of illegal residents than is the fear of deportation to dissuade them from registering.

The net effect of registration is to cause annoyance and inconvenience to many citizens who are of foreign-born parentage. There are about three and one-half million aliens in this country, a third of whom have already, or through their parents, applied for citizenship

General alien registration would thus tend to discriminate against and set apart from the rest of the community the three and one-half million legally resident aliens and make them pay in money and in humiliation for what would seem to be a futile effort to discover the relatively few aliens who are illegally in the country. As at present and heretofore, so in the future, the Government would have to locate aliens illegally in the United States and institute deportation proceedings against them. Those legally in the country should not be put to this expense and annoyance.

In considering the adoption of any system of registration, the issue must be squarely faced that it involves a radical departure from the American system and a return to the European system of governmental and particularly police control of the individual. It would constitute a tremendous step toward regimentation of the citizen. Once applied to aliens it is likely to be only a matter of time when some similar measure is applied to citizens. Registration would involve maintaining in Washington an individual dossier for each person. Into that dossier will inevitably flow all communications relating to the individual. Some of these will be proper; others will consist of unfounded charges, or of reports of the most intimate personal aspects of the individual's life.

It seems proper to suggest further that such general registration would open up an entirely new field for the racketeer, blackmailer, and others who prey upon aliens. The alien lawfully here would be told he required assistance or influence to obtain his card and threatened with obstruction if he failed to pay. The illegal entrant would be blackmailed. There would almost certainly be attempts to counterfeit registration cards.

It has been roughly estimated that something like 2 years would be required to register all aliens in the country, and that the cost would be at least 6 million in the first year, 4 million the second, and 2 million dollars for several years thereafter to cover the annual registration and the care of the records. Likewise, it has been estimated that personnel to the number of 3,000 would be required for the first year, 2,000 for the second, and 1,000 for the third year.

The reason for opposing the adoption of any general registration may be summed up as

(a) It will apply only to the alien legally here—as the alien illegally here will not report and thereby subject himself to deportation;

(b) It will serve to set the noncitizen foreign born in a class apart from the rest of the community and convey to them the impression that they are unwelcome, treated as inferiors, and discriminated against. It will be interpreted by them as a negation of our principles of equality before the law; and may modify to some extent the affection and admiration in which they hold this country;

(c) It will result in discrimination against and inconvenience to great numbers of American citizens by birth or naturalization who may have the physical characteristics of persons of foreign birth. Such persons will be called upon to prove their citizenship because, of course, they will not carry registration cards.

(d) It offers possibility of abuse in political situations, labor disputes, etc., and opens the way to racketeering at the expense of those people. Sincerely,

FRANCES PERKINS, Secretary.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,

February 14, 1939. Hon. RICHARD B. RUSSELL, Jr., Chairman Senate Committee on Immigration,

Washington, D. C. MY DEAR SENATOR RUSSELL: You have asked for the views of the Immigration and Naturalization Service on S. 410, entitled "A bill to provide for the deportation of aliens subsisting on relief under certain circumstances,” introduced by Senator Reynolds on January 5, 1939, which bill was forwarded as an enclosure with your letter of January 10, 1939. The bill provides for the deportation of all aliens who have subsisted on public reilef for an aggregate of 6 months in any 3-year period subsequent to the enactment of the bill into law.

The United States has for many years accepted aliens as immigrants making their stay in this country dependent upon personal qualifications. For some years past many individuals, including aliens, have required public assistance not because of their unwillingness to work, but because of their inability to find selfsupporting employment. To enact new legislation which would make necessary the deportation of such aliens for causes beyond their control and the inevitable separation of families that will accompany such an action, is a departure from previous policy. Sincerely,

FRANCES PERKINS.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »