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The arrests of the natives were almost three times as much as the arrests of the foreign born.
Senator STEWART. Do you mean really in proportion, or just on the basis of the number who are here?
Mr. LEWIS. That is on the basis of the number here. We have more native-born whites than foreign-born whites. I could give you the figures for each year. They always show about the same proportion, 2 or 3 to 1, which indicates that the frequent assumption that the foreign born contribute a disproportionate share of our criminality is not true. It seems to me the machinery for this registration would be costly and cumbersome, without accomplishing the results it is designed to accomplish.
Senator STEWART. Do you think it could be expedited by putting it in a department of the Government, some of the existing bureaus?
Mr. LEWIS. I suppose it is done to some extent through the Post Office. It might be practical, with the diminishing number of aliens, to arrange so that any alien could get a certificate of identification. The trouble is, if you have 4,000,000 aliens, and a man does not register, how are you going to check up on him? You would have to apprehend him somewhere, wherever he might be.
Senator STEWART. I do not think it is an answer to the bill to say that we cannot get them. I think, if that is the case, we should find some way to do it. I do not agree that we cannot get them. I think we can. I think the man who does not register will be pointed out by his neighbors. Suppose that information should get out among the people who register to vote, and the neighbors would say: "What about that chap living down the street here?”
Mr. LEWIS. How are you going to know who the alien is?
Senator STEWART. He does not need to be an alien. If he is not registered as a voter, the alien is under suspicion.
Mr. Lewis. I think the only way that would work would be to make it applicable to everybody.
Senator REYNOLDS. Would not that make it too expensive?
Senator STEWART. Let us get back to the question of taking care of this when we have thousands of census enumerators all over the country.
Mr. LEWIS. Possibly.
Senator STEWART. After all, we might solve the unemployment problem in that way.
Mr. LEWIS. Here is one provision in this bill which I think is pretty severe. It says it shall be the duty of every alien to notify the Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization of every change of address, and whether the change is permanent or temporary. If he fails to give this notice he is fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both, and in addition to that, he must be deported. I think that is severity carried to an extreme.
Perhaps that is enough on this particular bill.
The next bill is to suspend immigration altogether for 10 years. What I have said in regard to the proposed cut in quotas applies much more forcefully to any bill to suspend immigration entirely. That means that you cut out any chance for the reunion of families on our shores.
Senator REYNOLDS. Why can they not reunite on their own shores? Mr. LEWIS. If you had worked with problems of that sort you would
know why. You cannot take people up by the roots, after they are established here. You talk of the different races. After all, they are people like ourselves, our own ancestors who came over from foreign countries.
Senator STEWART. I do not think that Senator Reynolds has reference to those who might become good citizens.
Mr. Lewis. Half of the population of the United States are either foreign born, children of foreign born, or have grand parents who were foreign born. We are a rather recently brought together people. We have had 38,000,000 people coming into this country in 100 years.
Senator STEWART. The Indians had immigration laws of their own.
Mr. Lewis. I am sure you cannot throw aside a policy which has been the foundation of our country in any such rigid and arbitrary
Now, take the next bill. It provides that aliens who have subsisted on public relief for an aggregate of 6 months in any 3-year period must be deported. I think that is an extremely severe provision. Those people have not created the unemployment situation. It is not the result of any particular group doing any particular thing. It is just a general situation which we do not understand. think we should take such an attitude toward these more or less defenseless aliens.
Senator REYNOLDS. Let the countries from which they came and to which they owe allegiance support them, instead of the taxpayers of the United States supporting them. Each should care for its own dependents, delinquents, and defectives. Do you want the taxpayers of the United States to support them, or do you want the countries from which they came to support them?
Mr. LEWIS. I want the taxpayers of the United States to support them. The aliens are supporting citizens. I say that because it is true, and is hardly taken into account. The few studies that have been made show that there are fewer aliens on relief in proportion than there are citizens.
Senator REYNOLDS. Sure. They have American jobs, belonging to Americans.
Mr. LEWIS. Everybody is entitled to his own logic.
In New York the emergency relief bureau a few years ago made a study of the relief situation there. It covered some 5,508 heads of families on either home relief or the W. P. A. The heads of families were aliens. Those families had over 86,000 children who were citizens. The total number of aliens in the population of the city, as estimated for the census, constituted 15.1 percent of the total population. The aliens on home relief were only 12.8 percent, less than their share of the total population. And those on W P. A.of course, it is impossible now under the law to be on W. P. A. -were only 7.5 percent. That would seem to indicate that, since aliens are subject to the same taxes as anybody else, they were and are supporting citizens.
Here is another study made by the National Council of Naturalization and Citizenship, covering practically 5,000 alien families taken at random all over the country. It shows that these families had 2.9 children who were native born American citizens. So that if you strike at the heads of the families, you are striking at American citizens. Is that fair? We have had a good deal of talk in these hearings about giving preference to citizens. I think that is open to some serious qualifications. It seems to me we show an unwillingness to get down to first principles. I think the thing to keep in mind is this:
Senator REYNOLDS. You say “the thing to keep in mind." I will ask you if it is not true that the thing you have had foremost in your mind has been the interest of the aliens and not the interest of the native-born people of the United States?
Mr. LEWIS. No. I am thinking of the interests of the people of the United States.
Senator REYNOLDS. Do you mean "No" in regard to American citizens?
Mr. Lewis. I am thinking of the interests of the people of the United States.
Senator REYNOLDS. You mean you are not interested in them?
Mr. LEWIS. That was a direct answer to your question. What I want to say bears directly on this: Through our history we have admitted generation after generation, a great number of immigrants. They are the people of the United States today. We were all immigrants once. What has been our policy in that regard? We have admitted them freely for the most part and given them an equal show, and we have been able to build up a country, largely because we have treated a man as a man and given him an equal chance. It is up to the United States to adopt such immigration laws as we want. If we want to close the doors, it is our right to do it. But when we of our free will admit immigrants to this country, it seems to me that in decency and fair play and in the interest of our own best interests, we are bound to treat those prospective citizens as we treat our own people in all fundamental respects. It seems to me he has an equal right to a job. After all, he is one of us. We have admitted him to our society, and if he behaves himself I would say he and his children will be part of our future. It is our interest to treat him as a human being, and give him an equal show. I think he has the same right to a job as anybody else, and he must take his chances according to his skill. His wife may be an American citizen.
Senator REYNOLDS. Do you mean that a fellow who has been 25 years in this country, and who was not interested enough to take out American citizenship, ought to be given equal rights with our own citizens?
Mr. LEWIS. If he has been admitted to our country, whether he has been here 25 years or not, he should be given the same chance. I would inquire further why he has not become a citizen. As a matter
a of fact, most of them do become citizens. It is an exceptional case, where a person is here 25 years and has not become a citizen. Studies that have been made during the past 10 years or more show that it has taken the immigrants some 10 or 12 years to make the various adjustments which ordinarily come before citizenship. That time has been cut down as a result of our policy in making certain opportunities open to citizenship. The time is shorter than it was.
I want to say a word about why these people do not become citizens. In some cases it is because they cannot fulfill the educational requirements. Some of those who came before 1917 have never been able to learn to read and write English and cannot pass the tests. I think
probably the chief factor is what I have sometimes referred to as a lack of political-mindedness. People who are so beset with the problem of earning a living that the man or woman who has not had great educationalopportunities does not realize theimportance of those things. At the last Presidential election we had a total vote for President of a little short of 46,000,000. We had in the country 67,000,000 citizens who were entitled to vote. There were 21,000,000 citizens who did not think enough of their civil rights and duties to vote. We recognize that is unfortunate. It is the same lack of political-mindedness which we find among many of the aliens. You will find it among aliens as well as among citizens. I think that is one reason why they do not become citizens.
Senator STEWART. I understand the figures, according to the Department of Labor, show about 3,800,000 aliens in the country.
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Senator STEWART. About 800,000 of that number are in the process of becoming citizens, have taken out naturalization papers. How many of the other 3,000,000 do you think are potential citizens?
Mr. LEWIS. It would be a sheer guess on my part. I should think that would be the great bulk of them.
Senator STEWART. You have been active in this organization for 17 years?
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Senator STEWART. In the pamphlet you handed me a few moments ago I notice you state the purpose of the organization is "To assist the foreign born in their adjustment to and participation in American life.” In undertaking to do that, what has been your experience in contacting aliens with respect to their loyalty toward the United States their attitude toward our Government? Do you find that many of them do not like the ideas of the American Governmment, and prefer to change our form of government, and are not sympathetic with the ideas of the American people in respect to the various “isms” that seem to be prevalent now?
Mr. LEWIS. I do not think that is true.
Mr. Lewis. At the present time we are bothered somewhat with the international situation, and we find certain groups that attack our stand toward fascism and communism and not the philosophy. I think that they represent a very small percentage.
Senator STEWART. I wanted to inquire about the extent of their activity in that direction.
Mr. Lewis. I have no way of giving you accurate information in respect to that.
Senator STEWART. Do you know anything about the German bund?
Mr. Lewis. Not definitely. I know that they have established German societies in opposition to that. I think they deprecate it it very much. They feel it casts a serious reflection on the GermanAmerican citizens who are loyal to this country. Mr. Dies and his committee have been gathering some material along that line.
Senator STEWART. Do you know anything about the activities of the Communist Party?
Mr. LEWIS. I must say that I do not
Senator STEWART. Do you know whether any of the foreign groups participate in the communistic movement?
Mr. Lewis. Undoubtedly, you will find foreign-born people that participate in every movement. Even some of our own citizens do so. We find that as a result of our work with the foreign language press. There are about 1,050 foreign language publications in the United States. We are submitting educational material to practically all those papers. We have from time to time made some study of their attitude at election times. We find a comparatively few of them supporting the Communist candidates, far less than among the English-speaking proportion. A good many of the foreign-born people have been strongly attached to some particularly church, and they nearly always operate under a very conservative influence. I think there was never a time when there was such widespread interest and so many inquiries being received in regard to becoming American citizens.
Senator STEWART. Do you mean from abroad?
Mr. LEWIS. No; from those in the United States. With that increasing interest, I think the problem of our present alien population is dwindling very rapidly.
One point more. The last bill, S. 411, provides that any alien or group of aliens whose presence in the United States is inimical to the public interest shall be deported. We are all for deporting the alien whose presence is inimical to our interests. But I think you must define the class of people you are trying to reach. It seems to me this provision is plainly unconstitutional.
Senator STEWART. Why do you think it is unconstitutional?
Mr. LEWIS. Who is going to decide the matter? And on what standard will they act?
Senator STEWART. The invoking of the Constitution is not the privilege of one who is not a citizen.
Mr. LEWIS. Yes.
Senator STEWART. An alien cannot rely upon constitutional priv. ileges in this country.
Mr. LEWIS. Oh, yes. Senator STEWART. I did not know that. Mr. LEWIS. The law discriminating against the employment of aliens has been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. You can discriminate in the matter of public funds for employment, but when it comes to private employment, the courts have held that that is unconstitutional.
Senator STEWART. That is upon the ground that it would affect property rights of those who are citizens, is it not?
Mr. LEWIS. I would have to look up the decision to ascertain that. The fourteenth amendment says "Any person.” That has been held to apply to aliens. The alien is entitled to life, liberty, and due process of law.
Senator STEWART. Yes; if he owns property or has established property rights here.
Nr. LEWIS. If he is lawfully admitted. Of course, that is a legal question.
Senator STEWART. Yes.