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ever, the possibility of meritorious exceptions arising and the necessity of judicial interpretation of appeals from strict enforcement of the foregoing deportation provisions, and therefore recommend the power to exempt from deportation be vested in the judges of the respective United States district courts before whom all such appeals should be heard.
10. Legislation providing that the ability to read English as well as to speak English be made a prerequisite to naturalization.
11. That Congress appropriate sufficient funds to carry out the purposes of this resolution.
12. A bill proposed by Representative Cellar, by the terms of which persons who are today ineligible for naturalization because of their criminal character as attested to by records of criminality would be admitted as citizens on the sole ground of their possession of an honorable discharge from the United States forces, thus circumventing the current prerequisites of naturalization of proving at least 5 years' good character; Therefore be it
Resolved, That our Commission request that the national executive committee instruct the national legislative committee to exert its influence in opposition to the enactment of the three items of legislation described, and to any other bills of similar nature which may hereafter be proposed; and that the fact of our opposition be not relegated to the rank of secondary consideration; Be it
Resolved, That the American Legion in National Convention assembled, instruct the national legislative committee of the American Legion to urge upon the Congress of the United States the passage of a law which would totally restrict immigration on all our borders for a period of at least 10 years, or until such time as we, in this country, can take up the slack and find jobs for the unemployed citizens of the United States.
A subcommittee of our Commission on Immigration, Naturalization, and Deportation laws reported the results of its extensive study and research. In adopting its report, your Americanism Commission recommends the repeal of specific acts of Congress and the enactment of a uniform naturalization law that will comply strictly with the fundamental principles of section 8 of clause 1 of the Federal Constitution. I quote from the subcommittee's report:
We believe that naturalization is an extraordinary benefit that is conferred upon aliens and that certain conditions precedent ought to be strictly complied with by all applicants for citizenship; and that the object in view ought to be the determination of the degree in which an applicant is attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, possessed of an acquaintance with, and working knowledge of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, as well as a true comprehension of the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship arising from his taking the oath of allegiance.
We believe that the requirement of 5 years' continuous and constructive residence in the United States, originally established as the probationary period for the inquiry into the character and fitness of applicants, ought to be required in all cases.
We believe also that the provision for a solemn declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States ought to be a uniform requirement.
We believe that ability to read English as well as to speak English ought to be a prerequisite to citizenship and should be provided by law as a requirement on the part of all persons, with the exception only of those whose inability to speak is the result of some physical disability.
We believe that the duty of a citizen to bear arms in defense of the United States ought to be unequivocally provided for in the oath of allegiance administered to all naturalized citizens.
We believe that there should be immediately repealed all special acts for classes of applicants in whose behalf the Congress has in recent years made certain extraordinary exemptions. These special classes include those who by reason of marriage only are exempted from filing a declaration of intention and, instead of establishing a 5 years' continuous residence and good character, are required only to establish 1 year's residence in some instances and 3 years' residence in others; and that type of citizenship now known as derivative citizenship, which may now be conferred upon inmates of our prisons and jails solely by reason of the naturalization of a parent, should instead be conferred only by formal petition of those who can meet the uniform requirements as to character and residence and attachment to the principles of the Constitution of the United States.
Another class in whose behalf most extraordinary exemptions have been provided for by the Congress are World War veterans. This legislation now is extended to such persons as claimed exemption from service in the American forces and served later with the armed forces of the allied countries, who are exempted from filing a declaration of intention and also from the payment of any fees whatsoever. This legislation expires on May 25, 1938, and it is proposed to extend that period to May 25, 1939, by virtue of the provisions of a bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Mr. Boland of Pennsylvania, and which is identified as H. R. 9709.
We believe that our legislative committee ought to be instructed to oppose the enactment of the aforementioned bill.
Another class of applicants for citizenship in whose behalf certain exemptions are provided are those who claim that they have been innocently exercising the rights of citizenship in the belief that they had acquired citizenship either by birth or naturalization of a parent during their minority. This provision ought also to be repealed.
Another class for extraordinary exemptions is now under consideration by the Congress as a result of a bill which proposed to confer naturalization upon all applicants who are 50 years of age or over and, as to these, it is proposed to confer citizenship without regard to their ability to read or write, or any educational qualification whatsoever. We believe the legislative committee ought to be instructed to oppose the enactment of this legislation.
It has come to the attention of your committee that an interdepartmental committee of our Government has under consideration the recedification of naturalization laws and regulations, the publication of which has long been awaited.
The foregoing recommendations must naturally await the next session of Congress, and ought properly to be authorized by convention action. It is hoped that there may be available to us by that time the recommendations of the interdepartmental committee, in many of which we may find ourselves in collaboration with them. The foregoing recommendations of your committee are pertinent at this time, however, in view of proposed legislation now pending which is inconsistent with previous mandates of our conventions and with the long-established policy of the American Legion with reference to citizenship by naturalization.
With reference to the Dies bill presently pending before the Senate for consideration, we have, with the consent of the national commander and the approval of the national legislative director, dispatched a telegram outlining the Legion's position in accordance with its mandates as adopted at its convention.
With reference to the Asylum bill, three proposals, all of a kindred nature and designed to make of the United States an asylum for all political refugees throughout the world, now pending before the Congress, were given consideration. With reference to these we invite your approval of this decision:
These proposals are inimical to the welfare of the United States and, while our sympathies may be directed toward the sufferings of those who are being persecuted in other lands, our duty to our own citizens under the present distressing circumstances compels consideration even to the exclusion of those in foreign countries, however sympathetic we may be toward them in their present plight.
In addition, the powers that would be conferred under these resolutions are so unlimited in scope as to make impossible of comprehension, even at this time, the extent to which our present number of unemployed and indigent residents might be increased. We believe it our duty to oppose the enactment of this legislation.
Another naturalization resolution coming from the Los Angeles convention reads as follows:
Whereas, under the laws of the United States relating to aliens and the acquisition by them of the right of citizenship, it is possible for them to remain in the United States throughout their lives without assuming the obligations and duties of citizenship, and it is known that many of them do so, and
Whereas the failure of the statutes to require aliens to apply for citizenship or to make a declaration of their intention to become citizens within any definite specified time, and the further fact that many aliens do not apply for citizenship or make known their declaration of intention to become citizens result in an indifference and disrespect for the principles of the Government of the United States, and further tend to hinder and retard Americanization efforts of the American Legion and other patriotic organizations: Therefore be it
Resolved, That it be demanded of the Congress of the United States that statutes be enacted providing that all aliens, upon their entry into the United States, must be issued forms of declaration of intention to become citizens, and that they be then furnished instructions, in writing, in the language of their native country, specifically, advising them as to the laws covering citizenship to be acquired by aliens, which declaration of intention shall remain valid and permit such aliens to remain in the United States only for a period of 5 years from the date of its issuance and for an additional period of time, following the expiration of the 5-year period of sufficient length that they may be permitted to take examinations required for admission to citizenship, not exceeding a period of 6 months. At the expiration of said periods, if no application has been made for citizenship, such declarations shall automatically become null and void and shall not again be reissued; and, in the event if any alien shall fail, within said period of 5 years, to file an application for citizenship, such alien shall forthwith be declared an undesirable, and shall be deported to his native land.
With reference to the asylum bill, which has been touched upon by witnesses, it seems to me it is proposed to make the United States an asylum for all political refugees. We feel these proposals are inimical to the welfare of the United States, and while our sympathies may be directed toward the suffering of those unfortunate people in other countries, we believe it is our duty to oppose the enactment of that type of legislation.
Senator HERRING. Would you construe that as applying to the Wagner bill?
Mr. TAYLOR. Unquestionably. I think there is no doubt but what it applies to the Wagner Resolution.
There was pending in the Seventy-fifth Congress the so-called Lanzetta bill (H. R. 6785), which provided for the admission to citizenship of aliens who came to the United States prior to February 5, 1917, which permitted the use of a declaration of intention without regard to the present 7-year limitation; which did not require the alien to sign his name or be able to speak the English language as is now required by law; and eliminated the necessity of any educational requirements. A similar proposal is pending in the current Congress. As the result of a resolution adopted at the Los Angeles national convention, the American Legion is opposed to such legislation.
Senator HOLMAN. They are not required to know anything about the Constitution?
Mr. TAYLOR. Not under the Lanzetta bill. It is the thought of the American Legion that this Seventy-sixth Congress could do this Nation of ours no greater service than to enact legislation which will protect our citizens in these immigration, naturalization, and deportation matters, and I respectfully request that early and favorable action be taken on the bills now pending before your committee.
Because of some testimony that was developed here this morning, I want again to call to the attention of the committee that the legislation concerning so-called refugees will have a tendency to make this country an asylum for all refugees. There was a very interesting article in the New York Times on January 10 about 700 refugees who had taken examinations in the State of New York as physicians, lawyers, dentists, and perhaps something else.
Under a law recently passed in the State of New York the matter was passed upon and under the control of a board of registry, which set up certain specifications, among which was ability to speak the English language.
It is very interesting to note that an action was brought in the courts of the State of New York by these refugee aliens to test the constitutionality of that law set up in the State of New York to protect itself against such circumstances. In the hearing it was
. brought out-I wish somebody else could put it in the record--that under the same circumstances physicians from this country would not be allowed to practice medicine abroad except in four countriesIran, Iraq, Syria, and one other. These were aliens, not citizens of the United States, testing the constitutionality of a law set up to protect the citizens of the State in respect to the medical profession.
I also want to call to your attention an interesting statement from a Boston paper, or in a New York paper under a Boston date line of March 2, reading as follows:
Deportation of as many as possible of the 4,500 alien patients in Massachusetts State mental hospitals-nearly one-fifth of their population—today was recommended by a special legislative commission on mental diseases.
Declaring that these patients are costing Massachusetts taxpayers more than $2,000,000 annually, the commission suggested that Gov. Leverett Saltonstall seek the cooperation of the Federal Government in "relieving our citizens of this burden."
“Removal of the aliens,” the commission said in a report to the legislature, "would solve the problem of the present overcrowding in nearly all of the State's 13 mental hospitals.
Senator HOLMAN. It seems to me someone who is interested should suggest to the Governor to address this committee.
Mr. Taylor. I will be very glad to do that. I also heard the discussion this morning about asking the Department of Labor officials if they could tell us in what category these immigrants are determined, so far as occupations are concerned. I will leave with you this article entitled "American Asylum for Refugees." I do not ask that it be put in the record.
What kind of work do refugees do? The statistics given for 1938 show the following: Professional, 1,463; commercial, 5,817; skilled, 8,607; servants, 5,919; laborers, 2,817; not occupied, including wives, children, and the aged, 36,012.
Senator HERRING. That is in New York?
I notice also an action brought in the courts of New York by a woman for the recovery of money which she had deposited to guarantee that she and her family would not become public charges. I think the amount was $5,000. She had a husband and four sons. The action was brought 3 months after she had deposited that money, and her reason set up in her petition was that at that time her husband was earning $250 a month, one son making $175, another was getting $150, another was also getting $150, and another was getting $125. So that within 3 months after the deposit of that money they were aggregating almost $1,000, and in her petition she said under those circumstances she certainly was not a public charge and would like to have the money she had deposited returned. But certainly common sense would seem to indicate that those five people took the jobs of five other people. There was taken from the pay roll of American citizens almost a thousand dollars a month.
Senator HERRING. Do you know whether your organization would favor the registration?
Mr. TAYLOR. Registration of aliens?
Senator HERRING. Yes.
Mr. TAYLOR. Absolutely. We have been recommending it before Congress for years.
Senator HARRING. In a general way, do you think your organization would favor all these Reynolds bills?
Mr. Taylor. There is one that seems to me is hardly definite enough. That is in relation to the phrase "inimical to the public interest." It seems to me that language could be made more specific.
Senator HERRING. You think if that could be more closely denfied, you would not object to giving that authority to the Secretary of Labor?
Mr. TAYLOR. I think so.
Senator HERRING. For such discretion as that official might care to exercise?
Mr. TAYLOR. I think so.
Mr. TAYLOR. We have faith and confidence in the administration of the Secretary of Labor. We do ask, and there is a bill on the House side to carry out that particular resolution bearing on that subject. I think this question of immigration, naturalization, and deportation has been rather neglected for the past few years, and I think we have reached the point now where we are faced with it, and I think it can be done better now than it could have been done before. I am concerned about the attempts that are going to be made to change or repeal the Immigration Act which fixes the quotas. I think you will find that desperate efforts will be made to change it. I think your committee should give very serious consideration to the stopping of immigration, at least holding up all immigration for 10 years, until we absorb our own unemployed.
Senator STEWART. Do you know of any way that a survey might be made to get accurate information on how many aliens are at present in this country?
Mr. TAYLOR. I do not.
Senator STEWART. We should like to have accurate information on that subject.
Senator HERRING. One of these bills calls for registration of aliens.
Mr. TAYLOR. I think the Senator is speaking about those who are illegally here.
Senator STEWART. I know that it would entail quite a lot of expense and be very difficult. I thought that next year a census will be taken, and if provision is made to require the census takers to ascertain the nationality of each person, we might get a complete history of the aliens.
Senator HERRING. I believe Mr. Shaughnessy made some reference to that the other day.
Mr. SHAUGHNESSY. Senator Ellender has a bill before the Senate now.
Senator STEWART. It does not make any difference from what source it emanates. We might in this committee make up a bill from all the bills introduced by Senator Reynolds, with any other ideas that might be brought forward. I had thought of that one means of getting accurate information on that subject. We seem to be entirely without accurate information, and it seems to me it would be something we should know about.