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whose first act upon reaching our shores was to break our laws by entering in a clandestine manner-all of which serves to emphasize the potential source of trouble, not to say menace, that such a situation suggests.
The only method yet suggested to arrive at a correct estimate of the number of alien residents of this country who are here without conformity to law is to have a country-wide registration of the alien population, as has been so ably advocated by you, Mr. Secretary, Until such time as this information is available, any discussion must be largely speculative in nature.
Great liberality should govern any attempt to remedy the situation by legislation. Every opportunity should be afforded the honest, law-abiding alien who may be in the country under some merely technical irregularity to establish his legal residence and finally to become a citizen. Any legislative steps should be of such a character as to make possible the exercise of a wise discretion by administrative officials. In all dealing with our alien population, and with aliens who subsequently seek our shores, we should give them, from the very first contac", the best possible impression of our Government and eliminate so far as possible unnecessary detail or harmful methods. No merely technical consideration should be allowed to interfere with aliens becoming law-abiding American citizens and all efforts at Americanization should be encouraged. It should be kept always in mind that the first impression is the most lasting, and that the most desirable type of naturalized citizens can not be expected if they are not imbued with a sense of just treatment during the period they have resided here as aliens.
It may be frankly admitted that the Government itself is in part responsible for a large number of aliens in this country who may be said to be here unlawfully. Many probably are here illegally solely because of a lack of proper immigration records of their entry. Prior to the beginning of the quota restrictions in 1921 the inspection of the visitor class along the international borders was not at all thorough, it being possible for aliens to enter under the guise of visitors, if they appeared to the inspector to be of an admissible type, on a mere pretext of a year or so residence in Canada, Newfoundland, Cuba, or Mexico. Many such aliens who were thus adn without a suitable immigration record undoubtedly were bona fide in their intention to remain temporarily. Having subsequently changed their intention and taken up a domicile here, as they believed lawfully, they now find themselves, in the face of existing quota restrictions, cut off from the obvious solution of departing from the country and seeking readmission with due charge against their respective quotas. With the pressure of existing quotas already so heavy, were they to depart with the intention of seeking readmission, months or years might elapse before they could lawfully be permitted to enter. On the other hand, as long as such aliens remain in the country in their present condition under existing law, they are cut off from the possibility of acquiring naturalization, owing to the fact that they have never been legally admitted for permanent residence.
The foregoing observations may serve to direct attention to a problem which should be earnestly considered with a view to a definite and permanent solution.
With the tide of immigration suddenly and materially stemmed by the adoption of restrictive immigration measures, leaving millions of aliens who were unable to gain admission through lawful channels, it is quite natural that their eyes should turn to other channels which afforded a means of gaining entry. Stimulated by conditions existing in their own countries, and encouraged by unscrupulous persons who sought to reap financial reward from their undertakings, they were easily influenced to adopt the back door," which to them presented a ready, albeit an expensive, means of effecting entry to the land of their ambitions. When "rum running" across the land boundaries ceased to be as profitable as in previous years, owing to the competition from so called “rum-row," it was only a short shift for those who ply their nefarious traffic across our land boundaries from the smuggling in of liquors to illegal transportation of aliens. So profitable did this business become that there is reason to believe that some of the organizations are international in their scope, and that their tendrils reach out and embrace practically all of the European countries, with agents scattered throughout the United States.
In the act making appropriations for the Department of Labor for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1925, Congress wisely made provision for the establishment and maintenance of an immigration border patrol force by appropriating $1,000,000 for that purpose, of which sum not exceeding $38,000 was made available for the purchase and maintenance of motor vehicles. Congress apparently intended, and the situation demanded, the immediate establishment of such a force; and viewed in the light of difficulties overcome, a history of the organization presents features of marked interest, representing, as it does, the accomplishment of a great purpose.
At the outset the bureau was confronted by the task of deciding upon the nature of the organization to be created, the manner in which it could most effectively be operated, and the personnel required. In considering these matters there was very little to serve as a guide, since an organization of this nature was unique in governmental circles. A thorough survey of the situation was immediately undertaken, and it was decided that a force of at least 500 men, including officers in charge, would be required to form the nucleus of the organization. After careful analysis it was apparent that the appropriation available would not permit of equipping and maintaining, even at the minimum salary of $1,680 per annum for patrol inspectors, a force of more than 450 employees, and this was the number decided upon.
The question then presented itself as to how it would be possible to recruit this force, as there was no civil-service register of eligibles for the position of patrol inspector available from which selection could be made. In finding a solution for this difficulty the bureau received the most helpful cooperation of the Civil Service Commission, which consented to the selection of men from the railway postal clerk and immigrant inspector registers until such time as an examination could be held. Only a very few of those on the immigrant inspector register were willing to aceept appointments as patrol inspectors, owing to the latter positions being placed in a lower grade;
consequently, practically the entire number of those originally appointed were selected from the railway postal clerk register. It was clearly apparent from the outset that, for the most part, the men on this register were not qualified for the position of patrol inspector and this was early demonstrated by the large turnover, which amounted to approximately 25 per cent in the first three months. So fast did resignations occur that the register soon became exhausted and consent was obtained to make temporary appointments, pending the establishment of a patrol-inspector register, without regard to civil-service regulations. With the establishment of this register, from which eligibles were selected only after being given a careful examination to determine their fitness, many of the former difficulties were overcome and an opportunity was offered to create a really effective organization.
In deciding upon a plan of organization it was believed that the best results could be accomplished by dividing each of the immigration border districts into several patrol districts and placing in charge of ach unit an immigration officer of wide experience in border work, the entire patrol force in each district operating under the general supervision of the respective district heads; which plan was adopted. That this plan was a wise and proper one has been amply proven in actual practice. Under the law immigrant inspectors alone are authorized to pass upon the admissibility of aliens, and by having available in each patrol district an immigrant inspector as officer in charge, matters pertaining to both branches of the service are readily disposed of instead of referring aliens apprehended by the patrol inspectors to points great distances removed for disposition of their cases. In fact, so interlocking and coordinating are the two branches of the service that it is very much doubted if any separation of them could be made without materially interfering with unrestricted legitimate travel across the borders.
Patrol inspectors were greatly handicapped in the beginning by lack of uniforms, as there was nothing aside from their badges to distinguish them from the ordinary citizen. This gave smugglers and others an excuse for ignoring their commands, and at times the lives of the officers were endangered in the attempted performance of their duties. This has since been remedied, and the patrol force is now not only thoroughly organized but properly and smartly uniformed as evidenced by the photograph of the local force at El Paso, Tex., reproduced on the following page from the public press.
The immigration patrol force, it is true, is but in its infancy; but fortunately it has attracted to it men of the highest type, many of whom served as officers in our Army and Navy in the late World War. Through their courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty they have rendered it possible to perfect an organization that compares favorably with any law-enforcement body in the country: Theirs is by no means å peaceful occupation, for they are called upon to deal with a lawless element which has but little less compunction in the taking of human life than in violating the laws of the country, and already several immigration officers have been shot down in the line of duty. Not infrequently have they been fired on from ambush and engaged in skirmishes with these traffickers in contraband, in spite of which they “carry on” with an enthusiasm