« ÎnapoiContinuați »
Mr. WEAVER. We will meet at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Reverend Knox. May I ask, Mr. Chairman, if other witnesses will be permitted to be heard at the same time?
Mr. WEAVER. Yes; we will hear some of the others if we have time.
STATEMENT OF GERALD HARRIS, REPRESENTING THE ALABAMA
ORGANIZING COMMITTEE OF THE FARMERS' EDUCATIONAL AND COOPERATIVE UNION OF AMERICA, BIRMINGHAM, ALA.
Mr. HARRIS. Mr. Chairman, I am secretary of the Alabama Organizing Committee of the Farmers' Educational and Cooperative Union of America.
I will be unable to be here tomorrow morning, but I hoped I could make a protest against this bill.
Mr. WEAVER. Can you be here Friday?
Mr. HARRIS. No, sir. I am going to have to be in Pittsburgh at that time. I am sorry, as I would like to be here, but I cannot.
Mr. WEAVER. You may file a statement with the committee, giving the views of your organization.
Mr. HARRIS. You say that I may have the privilege of sending in a written statement by mail, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. WEAVER. Yes.
Mr. HOBBs. As far as that is concerned, Mr. Chairman, he being from Alabama, I am especially anxious to give him every opportunity to be heard. Can we not call the members of the committee together this afternoon and hear him, whether you can be here or not?
Mr. WEAVER. Yes; I imagine so.
Mr. Hobbs. I would like to give the gentleman an opportunity for an oral hearing.
Mr. HARRIS. Unfortunately, I cannot be here until later in the afternoon. I have an engagement that will keep me until 3 o'clock.
Mr. Cravens. How long will it take for your statement ?
Mr. HARRIS. All I wanted to say was to voice the protest of our organization against a law of this kind that would be one step forward in the following out of war hysteria, and that would finally lead to the detention of citizens on some of these charges, and that is the feeling of our organization.
Mr. Hobbs. If that is all you want, you have done it now.
Mr. Hobbs. Will you state your name and address for the record, and whom you represent?
Mr. HARRIS. Gerald Harris. I am secretary of the Alabama Organizing Committee of the Farmers' Educational and Cooperative Union of America, 1034 South Twenty-third Street, Birmingham, Ala.
Mr. EAVER. Do you wish to file an amplifying statement of your views
Mr. Harris. Yes; I would like to ask the privilege of filing such a statement with the committee, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WEAVER. We will be glad to have it by the end of the week. Mr. HARRIS. Thank you.
(Thereupon, at 12:30 p. m., the subcommittee adjourned until tomorrow, Tuesday, April 22, 1941, at 10 a. m.)
SUPERVISION AND DETENTION OF CERTAIN ALIENS
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 1941
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met at 10 a. m., Hon. Zebulon Weaver (chairman) presiding.
Mr. WEAVER. The committee will be in order. The committee will resume hearings on H. R. 3. On yesterday I believe Colonel Trevor was testifying. We will resume with Colonel Trevor.
STATEMENT OF JOHN B. TREVOR-Resumed
Mr. TREVOR. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I was the witness at the conclusion of the proceedings yesterday.
Mr. WEAVER. We shall be very glad to have you continue your statement.
Mr. TREVOR. Thank you, sir. Mr. Hobbs will recall that we were having some discussion of the question whether perjury was included in the immigration laws and at the moment yesterday I was unable to supply you with the citation, which I knew was in the law. I have it here now, and with the permission of the Chair I shall read the citation.
Mr. Hobbs. What is the citation, please ?
Mr. TREVOR. The Immigration Act of 1917, section 16. It appears on page 16 of a compilation of the immigration laws, immigration rules and regulations, published by the Department of Labor. [Reading:]
Iinmigrant inspectors are hereby authorized and empowered to board and search for aliens any vessel, railway car, or any other conveyance, or vehicle in which they believe aliens are being brought into the United States. Said infpectors shall have the power to administer oaths and to take and consider evidence touching the right of any alien to enter, reenter, pass through, or reside in the United States and, where such action may be necessary, to make a written record of such evidence; and any person to whom such an oath has been administered, under the provisions of this act, who shall knowingly or willfully give false evidence or swear to any false statement in any way affecting or in relation to the right of any alien to admission, or readmission to, or to pass through, or to reside in the United States, shall be deemed guilty of perjury and be punished as provided by section 125 of the act approved March 4, 1909, entitled, “An act to codify, revise, and amend the penal laws of the United States."
I think that is conclusive on the question we were discussing, Congressman.
Mr. HOBBs. It may be considered quibbling, Colonel, but I do not think so. The point that I am seeking to make is that perjury is defined in the statute as the willful making of a false statement under oath, where the oath is authorized by law to be administered; whereas in this other case it omits the idea of willfulness as well as in some instances the authority to administer the oath.
The act of 1909 from which you have quoted does cover it. There is no quarrel with that. That defines perjury as the willful false swearing. The point I am making is that we have no quarrel here with either law. But when you contend that all of these people who came in under the well-known racketeering practice that did obtain in 1925 and 1926 all over Europe, that they willfully swore falsely and that that constituted perjury, I think your nomenclature is a bit unjustified. It is not perjury unless you willfully swear falsely.
Now, then, when a person did not know that he was swearing falsely, it is not perjury. It may be a violation of the law, but it is not perjury. And I think that those who can show conclusively—and the burden of proof is on them in my act to do so—that they did not know, then I do not think-I will not use the word "fair"; I will use the word "cricket”-it is not cricket to say that they have committed perjury. That is my whole point, but it is not worth the time going into too much detail on it.
Mr. Trevor. No. It is really not worth discussing But I understood the Congressman to say that the word “perjury" did not appear.
Mr. HOBBs. That the word—what word did not appear?
Mr. TREVER. That the word “perjury” which I used repeatedly, and I think you took exception to my using of it-did not appear in the immigration laws. I merely wanted to establish the fact by this citation that every examination which is conducted by an immigrant inspector in made under the provisions of this act and the act of 1924 has a section in it that this act is in addition to, and not in substitution for, the immigration laws. Therefore, it is all part of one act. I think the matter is a detail, though, Mr. Hobbs.
Mr. HOBBs. Surely. And let me point out to you again that that only covers testimony given before an immigration inspector. That is not the case here that we are talking about; a group of aliens in this country already here who swore to something falsely over there in the old country. That was not before the immigration inspector.
Mr. TREVOR. It is my understanding that immigration inspectors were assigned to leading consular ports of embarkation for the purpose of examining immigrants prior to their starting for the United States.
Mr. HOBBs. You may or may not be right. In any particular case there may conceivably have been an examination of a certain alien before the immigration inspector assigned, if one was assigned. What I mean is this, that generally to condemn a class, members of which may or may not have committed perjury in the sense of willful false swearing, is, I think, a little too general.
Mr. TREVOR. I take it, then, the Congressman would approve an amendment to this bili to cover those who willfully comunitted perjury in order to enter the United States.
Mr. Hobbs. Why, of course. And I think it is already covered in this very act, because we say here that wherever there has been a violation of any criminal statute involving moral turpitude, they would be subject to deportation.
Mr. TREVOR. I think you have pretty well exempted the perjury cases by the use of the words “not connected with his entry into the
United States," and then in a further section, also, in connection with naturalization.
Mr. Hobbs. The purpose of that is simply this: There is a hump, just as the World War hump in the matter of personel of the Army is well known; I mean by hump that same thing. That is, there are a number of aliens here who in perfect inocence as the result of their utter ignorance, both of our language and our law, were approached liy these racketeers, for whom no punishment is too great, and who were told that they could come over here if they were willing to pay $200 or $500 or $1,000, according to their several abilities, and they signed whatever was put under their nose. They sometimes signed, "Jim Smith” when their name was "Estradavarious Escabillia,” and they did it in perfect inocence. They just thought that this money was going to the United States Government for permission to come to the promised land.
I am saying in this law that where in the discretion of the Attorney General, in whom I have the utmost confidence--where in his sound discretion it has been proven by the alien in question that he did that thing, there ought to be a distinction drawn between that man's case, who does so prove, and those who are denominated as perjurors. And I think that they are entitled not to exemption from the operation of our laws but to be given a chance to prove their innocence and their worthiness, their good character, while here, and the fact that they are assimilable into our body politic; and that they are attached to the principles of the Constitution. And if they do so prove to the satisfaction of the Attorney General, then he is authorized in his sound discretion to give them such consideration and leniency as he may see fit.
Mr. TREVOR. I do not think the alien has to prove it as the bill is drafted. I do not think he has to prove it.
Mr. HopBs. We are glad to have that criticism and that point raised, and we shall certainly give it consideration.
May I say further, before you leave that point, that if I said anything that may be interpreted as indicating that the word “perjury" is not used in the immigration law, of course, I withdraw that. In other words, I had no such idea. The point that I was making, just as my distinguished colleague, Mr. Cravens, said to me yesterday privately, was that the element of willfulness, wilfully and knowingly swearing falsely, is the crime of perjury; that the other is malum prohibitum rather than malum in se.
Mr. TREVOR. That really is a question of fact, whether they did it wilfully or did not do it wilfully, and not a matter of law.
Mr. HOBBS. That is right.
Mr. TREVOR. As the bill is drafted, they do not even have to prove that.
I would like to say in connection with this particular point, the Congressman is probably aware that in the notorious case of Harry Bridges, the Department of Labor appointed Dean Landis with authority to investigate, as I understand it, as a contract labor investigator and not as an immigration inspector. Therefore, all the testimony taken by Dean Landis under oath was not properly administered; that is, he had no authority to administer an oath and therefore all the testimony that was given in behalf of or against Bridges was
just conversation, and it is impossible to prosecute any of those witnesses who committed perjury in that first investigation of Bridges.
Now, I think that is an important point to bear in mind, because in this rewriting of our immigration laws such a thing as that should never be allowed to occur again. Whoever is the chief officer in charge—the Attorney General now-if an investigation is made it should be perfectly clear under the statute that the man or the woman, whoever it is, that makes the investigation, must have power to administer an oath, and that that oath, if taken by a witness, shall be such that if he swears falsely he shall be subject to prosecution for perjury where the matter is given as testimony.
Mr. HOBBS. We all agree with you 100 percent, and we regret exceedingly that that mistake occurred. But you do not contend that Judge Sears is sitting in the same capacity?
Mr. TREVOR. Oh, not for a moment, sir.
Mr. TREVOR. No. I am saying that such a thing as that was deplorable.
Mr. HOBBs. Why, of course it was, and we all agree. What I am asking you is if you have checked to see this time that the mistake is not reoccurring.
Mr. TREVOR. I am quite satisfied, sir, that the investigation is now being conducted in the proper form. Although I notice that Judge Sears was applying the rules of evidence as they are administered by a court, rather than as an investigator. I do not think perhaps that it is very material, but you probably saw in the paper this morning that some testimony was rejected which in an immigration hearing would be properly admissible. But he rejected it because it would not have been admissible in a court of law. I think he stretched a point there in behalf of Bridges.
Mr. Hobbs. What I am asking you is if you have investigated to see that Judge Sears is sitting in a proper capacity. Mr. Trevor. Oh, there is no question so far as my information goes
TREVOR that he certainly is.
Mr. HOBBS. Will you be good enough to look into it and be sure, because we do not want to make any more bobbles.
Mr. TREVOR. Now, in regard to the particular section which permits the alien to be held, who has been convicted of a crime, or admits the conviction of a crime-he can be held for a maximum of 15 months, as I understand this section.
That, of course, covers aliens who admit the commission of a crime prior to entry or after entry, aliens who have been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude for which they have been sentenced to prison for a term of 1 year or more.
But the bill does not cover at all the habitual criminal, with whom I will deal in a few moments. In any event, this section would appear to place a maximum of 15 months' detention on an alien criminal who is mandatorily deportable under the statute. In other words, after this period has elapsed, the man is allowed to go out and continue his vocation of preying on the community.
Mr. HOBBS. What section is that that you are talking about.
Mr. TREVOR. I am talking about section 5, title I. Now, in connection with this matter, I said that I wanted to discuss the habitual criminal, for a few minutes. The Bureau of Immigration of the De