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COMMISSIONER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION
Hon. JAMES J. DAVIS,
Secretary of Labor.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR,
SIR: In placing before you this report of immigration activities for the fiscal year 1925, I feel that I enjoy a peculiar privilege, because I believe that the achievements of the 12 months just passed have been greater than during any similar period heretofore. For the first time since immigration became a Federal question its regulation is now on a satisfactory and permanent basis from a legislative and administrative standpoint. For the first time in the history of the United States we have a well-rounded and a well-considered set of laws relating to immigration, which, while not shutting us off from a reasonable contribution of Old-World peoples, are at the same time responsive to the demand of the American people for an effective immigration control. I wish, therefore, first of all to assure you of my emphatic indorsement of the immigration policy of the present administration. I feel certain that if any legislative changes are still required they will be simply amendatory in nature and not in any sense radical, because we now have the essential legislative machinery to secure a proper standard of immigration as well as to keep the volume of such immigration within proper limits.
The most significant contributions to the situation are the inauguration of the practice of issuing immigration visas abroad in connection with the new immigration quotas provided by the immigration act of May 26, 1924, which became effective contemporaneously with the period covered by this report, and the successful formation of the land border patrol. We have thus had one complete year's experience with both these measures; and it is not too much to say, with reference to the former, that in no previous year has so even and regular a volume of immigrant travel come to our ports nor has such, travel ever before been so carefully and consistently inspected by Government officers. In no similar period has immigration been of such a high order, as shown by the small percentage of rejections; and this, too, under inspection methods of increased effectiveness made possible by the even flow of travel. In no similar period has there been the same freedom from complaint on the part of steamship companies and the traveling public. Success along these lines has been due, perhaps more than to anything else, to the distribution of the quotas over a ten-month period of the fiscal year, enabling the inspection force already available to put forth its efforts most effectively, and at the same time humanely. The immigration act of 1924 is rightly termed a "law with a heart." There is no more midnight racing of immigrant-laden steamers to our harbors; no more conges
tion of aliens in over-crowded quarters awaiting inspection at ports of arrival; no excuse for hasty or cursory inspection of aliens, or harsh. and summary treatment that might result from the efforts of inspectors to facilitate travel and relieve congestion at ports of entry. The service is to be congratulated upon having had an opportunity to vindicate itself of the charge heretofore made by certain interests that, in its administration of the law, it did not take the human element properly into account.
Regardless of what may be the sentiment for or against restriction, no one can deny that, in making provision for consular officers to deny visas to aliens of the clearly inadmissible classes, Congress has done much to ameliorate the hardships which naturally flow from any restrictive immigration policy. In this connection reference is had to section 2, paragraphs (a) and (f), of the immigration act of 1924, which, for the sake of convenience, are quoted below:
SEC. 2. (a) A consular officer upon the application of any immigrant (as defined in section 3) may (under the conditions hereinafter prescribed and subject to the limitations prescribed in this act or regulations made thereunder as to the number of immigration visas which may be issued by such officer) issue to such immigrant an immigration visa which shall consist of one copy of the application provided for in section 7, visaed by such consular officer. Such visa shall specify (1) the nationality of the immigrant; (2) whether he is a quota immigrant (as defined in section 5) or a non-quota immigrant (as defined in section 4); (3) the date on which the validity of the immigration visa shall expire; and (4) such additional information necessary to the proper enforcement of the immigration laws and the naturalization laws as may be by regulations prescribed.
(f) No immigration visa shall be issued to an immigrant if it appears to the consular officer, from statements in the application, or in the papers submitted therewith, that the immigrant is inadmissible to the United States under the immigration laws, nor shall such immigration visa be issued if the application fails to comply with the provisions of this act, nor shall such immigration visa be issued if the consular officer knows or has reason to believe that the immigrant is inadmissible to the United States under the immigration laws.
As a consequence of these provisions only 1.6 per cent of the total number of aliens applying at our seaports during the past year were turned back, and represented among those refused admission were many whom the steamship lines had accepted as passengers without their having secured the necessary or proper papers and aliens who arrived as stowaways. To state it differently, approximately 4 out of every 1,000 holding proper immigration visas were excluded. The writer is sanguine that the plan which you have so strongly advocated, of stationing experienced immigration officers at the various consulates as technical advisers, will meet with universal approval by the respective foreign governments, and that eventually the harrowing scenes which so often have attended the rejection of aliens at our portals no longer will be witnessed. Perhaps the hardships connected with the enforcement of our immigration laws never can be entirely avoided, since in their application to individual men and women they frequently dissipate the most cherished ambitions, but these hardships can be minimized; and in this endeavor the cooperation of the Governments to which the prospective immigrants bear allegiance may be hopefully anticipated."
IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1924
During the fiscal year covered by this report a grand total of 458,435 aliens were examined and admitted, formal record being made