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Mr. TAYLOR. What you are interested in is the alien who is here illegally?
Senator STEWART. We should have accurate information about all of them, so we can keep track of them.
Mr. TAYLOR. As Mr. Shaughnessy said, it is a very difficult job. The only way you can do it, it seems to me, is through the next census.
Senator STEWART. We will have an army of people in the field at that time. It occurred to me that might be a good time to secure that information.
Mr. Taylor. As I stated at the beginning of my remarks, in the American Legion, we have a million men, and a half million women in the auxiliary. A good many of our members are aliens, who were taken into the military service during the World War. A considerable number of them are citizens, so that our observations on this subject matter contain also the opinions of aliens themselves. I think that is something to consider. Those people have been giving this matter consideration, and I have seen them in our conventions.
STATEMENT OF LEIFUR MAGNUSSON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL
INSTITUTE OF IMMIGRANT WELFARE, NEW YORK CITY
Senator HERRING. Please state your name and whom you represent.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. My name is Leifur Magnusson. I am president of the National Institute of Immigrant Welfare, New York City. My local address is Washington, D. C. As far as occupation is concerned, I am retired. I was formerly director of the Washington branch of the International Labor Office. I severed my connection with that institution, and am now appearing in connection with this particular institute, the following statement of whose objectives I should like to insert in the record.
Senator HERRING. You are appearing in connection with all five of the proposed bills, are you?
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Yes; I am appearing in general opposition to the broad principle of the five measures. I am not appearing with respect to a great many of the technical details of the various bills, and the technicalities involved in them. I do want to make a few general observations on the principles that are presented. I think there are perhaps four points to which I should like to call attention.
The first one has been very admirably covered by Mrs. Schauffler, who appeared here and pointed out the general undesirability of disturbing the murky waters of international relations that to a great extent certain other forces seem to be successfully able to do.
(The statement referred to above is as follows:)
FOR AMERICA OF TOMORROW
“America has what no other country ever had before
for America from the very first has had her beginning in all peoples, and her strength is drawn from all peoples, and her future depends on us all.”--Pearl Buck at the Second Dinner of Awards of the National Institute of Immigrant Welfare.
To this future which “depends on us all” the National Institute is dedicated.
The work embraces a central national office in New York, a national social service bureau at Ellis Island, and in different cities affiliated local units devoted to the education and advancement of the foreign-born. The greatest number of these are known as international institutes. This system acts as a chain of service, of contact with all peoples, linking new arrivals with friendly Americans, local workers with Government officials, native-born with foreign-born.
The National Institute's program includes protection and guidance to the newest as well as to the old-time immigrant from simple rural communities. Immigrants of 10 and 15 years ago are still beset with difficulties due to living in an adopted country. Thousands of village folk had no chance at schooling in their homelands and found the language barrier insurmountable. Today they need help as much as ever from workers who understand the customs dear to them and who realize their bewildering problems with American-bred sons and daughters.
The local institutes in their different communities offer programs of adult education to groups of foreign-born, render service on immigrant or deportation problems and aid in naturalization. Civic projects bring together native-born and foreign-born on a basis of mutual appreciation. They stress folk arts and the riches and skills of hand and mind that have come to America through the doors of immigration.
The National Institute fosters local work. It also deals with broader problems from a national viewpoint. Its annual dinner of awards honors Americans of foreign birth who have attained signal distinction in the fields of science, the arts, and public affairs. The recipients of this honor in 1936 and 1937 were Dr. Walter Damrosch, Dr. Alexis Carrel, Mr. Jonas Lie, Mr. Henry Morgenthau, Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland, in 1938 Dr. Nikola Tesla, Prof. Felix Frankfurter, Mr. Giovanni Martinelli.
The National Institute of Immigrant Welfare is helping to build the America of tomorrow wherein her peoples, from every land, may give their best and obtain the best in return.
The officers are Mr. Leifur Magnusson, president; Mrs. Kendall Emerson, vice president; Hon. Edward Corsi, vice president and treasurer; Mr. Allen C. Blaisdell, vice president; Miss Elmina R. Lucke, secretary; Mrs. Harry Bremer, director.
The advisory council includes Dr. Harry Woodburn Chase, Dr. Walter Damrosch, Dr. Stephen P. Duggan, Mr. Gano Dunn, Dr. John H. Finley, Mr. Howard P. Jones, Dr. Henry Goddard Leach, Mr. Sam A. Lewisohn, Mr. Jonas Lie, Mr. Robert G. Mead, Mr. Generoso Pope, Mr. Lionello Perera, Hon. Frank L. Polk, Mr. George B. Post, Jr., Dr. James T. Shotwell, Hon. Laurence A. Steinhardt, Mr. Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Hon. Henry Morgenthau, Sr.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF IMMIGRANT WELFARE. R. K. O. Building, Rockefeller Center,
New York, N. Y. Second, I wonder whether or not we have forgotten that we are holding a world's fair in New York City, and another on the Pacific coast, and good business policy would seem to me to indicate that this is not the most opportune time to be stirring up the waters of race hatred.
Senator HOLMAN. I do not think we would ever stir up any race hatred. We are only trying to curtail and regulate immigration.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. We did it in 1924.
The third point I wish to make is that all this discussion about the relationship of our immigration policy to our present depression seems to me wholly immaterial and irrelevant.
And fourth, discussion regarding the character and capacity of our aliens is equally irrelevant. Some are bad and some are good, just like our own citizens, I should say.
Senator HOLMAN. You are talking about morals?
Mr. MAGNUSSON. No; I am not talking about morals. I mean our general efficiency, general competency, moral or spiritual, anything
Senator HOLMAN. Let me tell you something. Out on the Pacific coast we have the Asiatics. East of the city where I live is a fine, fertile agricultural area where good American men and women have
made their living from the soil, the man laboring in the field, his wife in the home, and sending their children to school. That has been replaced to a very considerable extent by the Japanese population, where the wife and the husband and the toddling children work in the fields.
These Asiatic people like the European people that gather together to make up the slums and tenements, have a different standard of living. The American cannot meet that kind of competition. I am against bringing any more people in that have a different background, different racial characteristics, than the people that are the foundation of this country.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. My answer will appear as I develop each one of these points.
Senator HOLMAN. Very well.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. The final point I wish to make is that I think the proper policy is to strengthen the present enforcement of the law, give more money to the Immigration Bureau to enforce the law as it now stands, and above all, continue the practice of enforcing the law with tolerance, sympathy, and understanding, and for the total welfare of the country. I need hardly add that I do not appear here in the capacity of being disinterested in the welfare of the American people. We are all for the welfare of the American people, and the most we can say is that we differ in regard to methods. Senator Holman. You realize also, do you not, that if we stop
. immigration a lot of people will lose their jobs supervising immigration?
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Do you think that is a large factor?
Mr. MAGNUSSON. With regard to the general condition of the world, I do not think I wish to add anything to that other than the general statement I have made. I do not want to see the United States join in the hounds of hate and horror that now infest the world.
Senator STEWART. Amplify that. I do not understand you.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Do we realize our attitude toward the alien under present world conditions? We are doing exactly what people in certain countries in Europe are doing with respect to certain religious and racial groups. We are frightened and vindictive under the distressing condition in which we find ourselves in this depression.
We are assuming this attitude of vindictiveness toward a group which has nothing to do with the depression. We did the same thing toward the Irish and Catholics 40 or 50 years ago. Nobody would think of turning against that group now, but we did it then.
Senator HOLMAN. Let me tell you something. At the close of the World War we had fought a war to end war, or we believed we had. We went out and scrapped our Navy. We were all for peace; were never going to fight any more. America scrapped some wonderful battleships she had that had just been completed. Today we are arming. Why? We find there is no security. We have got to be so strong in defense that none of these nations will dare attack us. Experience has taught us that. Experience is teaching us something about immigration.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Yes.
Senator Holman. There is no hate in it. We are just putting a lock on our own door.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. You do not want me to go into the whole problem of the development of the war, I am sure. I do not think a war to end war is sufficient. I do not think a war to make the world safe for democracy is sufficient. A continuous conflict is necessary to make the world safe for democracy. I can only answer briefly, because I do not think we want to discuss the causes of the war.
Senator Holman. No; but it has taught some of us some lessons.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. I think the lessons we are learning from Europe in directing emotional hatred toward a group may be beneficial.
Senator Holman. I have no hatred for anybody. I would help anybody in distress.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Fine.
Senator HOLMAN. I have worked my whole life in that kind of work. I have been in charge of institutions. My whole career has been one of taking care of people in distress. But what complicates the situation is introducing into our country elements that have a different background and a different standard. I am not saying we are any better than the others. I am just saying that is our problem.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. I think we are agreed. I think the best approach to our alien population is friendliness. That is what our institute is trying to do. Do you think that people who use the world "alien" feel as good as they would if they used the word “friend”? Why should we deceive ourselves? There is an element of invidiousness about it. It is an invidious phrase we are using; it does not feel like the word “friendship.”
Now, with regard to the economic aspect of it, I would say in eral that the question of race has little or nothing to do with it. If there is anything to be said one way or the other, I think our economists are agreed that our economic expansion has rested upon the available supply of labor that came to us through immigration faster than the population was able to produce it from its own loins.
The South never had any immigrant population, yet it has the problem of unemployment at the present time. It is an area of distress, of difficulty. It is an area of low standard of living at the present time, in some sections. In short, immigration or emigration is not the answer to our depression problem.
If you want a positive answer, I should say what is needed is the investment of capital and the putting of people to work.
Senator HOLMAN. I asked that because you are well informed on this subject, and I am trying to learn. Do you not think that our problem is complicated by the addition of more people? You have been working on the problem. That has been your life work.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Yes.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. I am reminded of the aphorism that the solutions of our economic problems of today are the problems of tomorrow. There are no solutions as such to them.
Addressing myself to the economic aspect, we find that the immigrant is just like you and me. We are both producers and consumers. We condemn the alien for going on relief. We excoriate him for getting a job for himself. The two accusations do not hang well together, I submit.
So far as the depression is concerned, I would say forget immigration. There is no relationship whatever.
The Commissioner pointed out that a certain number of immigrants pay taxes. You will find that the proportion of aliens on relief is not as great as the proportion of our own people, in relation to the population.
Senator HOLMAN. Our own people had to be here 21 years before they could vote.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Take now the other point I made. You have criminals and good people among the aliens. The alien represents 11 percent of our population at the present time--the people of foreign birth, I mean.
Senator STEWART. You do not mean aliens, do you?
Mr. MAGNUSSON. No; people of foreign birth. The foreign-born population is approximately 11 percent.
Senator HERRING. Is that approximately correct?
Mr. SHAUGHNESSY. We will get it. (Statement later found to be correct.)
Mr. MAGNUSSON. The exact figure is immaterial. It is about that. Nine percent of the people listed in Who's Who are people of foreign birth. That is a pretty good record, it seems to me, in view of the difficulty of languages. It is easy for the English and Irish to become part of us. They speak our language, but the language of the immigrants of other countries makes it more difficult for them to become part of us As I say, I think it is a pretty good showing when 9 percent of the people in Who's Who are of foreign birth.
Senator HOLMAN. I agree with you on that, but let me tell you something. In the animal kingdom the rat follows the rabbit and the deer, and so on, but who wants a rat?
Mr. MagnusSON. I think we are comparing apples with potatoes, and we were told in arithmetic we could not do that. It is not a question of the low standard of living in the West.
Senator HOLMAN. We have no standard of living in my State. I have seen people go hungry before they would ask for alms.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Do you think that is not a low standard of living?
Senator HOLMAN. Oregon has no tenements and no slums We are not getting a dollar from the Federal Housing Administration, and we do not want it. I want the whole United States to be like that.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. So do I. There are areas where that is not true.
Senator HOLMAN. Yes; where the foreign population comes in you will find it is true.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. Would that be true in the South?
Senator Holman. Yes. That is a foreign population. They were brought here from Africa, and it is a problem. I am not saying that they are better or worse or anything of the kind, but it is a very difficult problem. It has been the curse of the country.
Mr. MAGNUSSON. I agree with you, if you mean Negro slavery and its aftermath.
Senator HOLMAN. Then why bring in some more different people? It is hard enough to be neighborly for a good many people. Sometimes brothers do not get along together. Why keep complicating that problem? Let us get rid of it, and straighten out the problems we have among our own people.