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IMMIGRANTS, CONVICT. See IMMIGRANTS.
CONVICT | immigrants except those from neighboring
IMMIGRANTS, HEAD TAX ON. Among the checks and limitations on immigration into the United States, has been a small head tax, the purpose of which is not very clear; for it has never been large enough either to sift immigration or to bring a desirable revenue to the United States. The first tax (50 cents) was laid August 3, 1882; by act of August 18, 1894, it was raised to $1.00, and by statute of March 3, 1903, to $2.00 from all
Statistical Survey.-About 29,000,000 immi- | the English, German and Scandinavian races. grants have come to the United States since The only important non-Teutonic elements were the Declaration of Independence. Most of these came during periods of prosperity. At the beginning of industrial depression immigration has always fallen off, sometimes by as much as two-thirds. With each era of returning prosperity, on the other hand, it has usually risen to a figure not reached before. The high water mark is that of 1907, when almost 1,300,000 immigrants entered the United States.
It is impossible to estimate with even approximate accuracy the increase of our population through immigration. It falls short of 20,000,000 by a considerable margin. Many of the immigrants have returned to their native lands after a short stay here. This has been true particularly during the last decades. That about two-fifths of the present-day immigrants eventually return, is the statement of the Immigration Commission in its recent report. Census statistics showing the increase of foreign-born population available since 1850 furnish some clue, but make no allowance for the immigrants who died during the decade. The following table gives by decades the number of immigrants; and the increase of foreign-born population as shown by successive
the Irish, and later the French-Canadian immigrants. The immigration of the last two decades, however, has been mainly from southern and eastern Europe. The Poles, and the various Slav races of Austria-Hungary, the south Italians, and the Russian Jews, have constituted most of the immigration of recent years.
The following table shows the total number of immigrants, in round numbers, from those countries which have been the chief sources of the stream of immigration. It brings out, also, how profoundly the predominant racial elements among the immigrants have changed.
Immigrants of the Present Day.-Aside from its racial composition, the immigration of recent years has presented other reasons for alarm. Almost all the recent immigrants are unskilled laborers, and few of them possess With any considerable amount of property. the passing of cheap agricultural lands, most of the recent immigrants, unlike those of the earlier decades, have been compelled to seek employment in mines and factories. The bulk of the recent immigration has gone to the great industrial states. Almost one-half of all immigrants in 1910, who had in mind any definite location, expected to make their home in New York or Pennsylvania. It is particularly in the large cities that the immigrants have congregated. In most of our cities of above 100,000 population there are as many persons of foreign as of native birth. Families
whose heads are of native parentage are rarely they have suffered in their native lands. The found in the slums of our large cities. Where majority of the Slav and Italian immigrants
the recent immigrants have gone into agriculture they have done well. Only a small fraction of the present-day immigrants, however, possess the means to become land-owners. As agricultural laborers there is demand for immigrants in some sections, but it is an open question whether the position of the immigrant as an agricultural laborer is better than as a factory-hand.
That criminal tendencies are characteristic of the immigrants of the present day, has often been asserted, but was conclusively disproved by the investigations conducted by the Immigration Commission. Comparison upon a fair statistical basis shows that the immigrants are not more given to the commission of crimes than are native Americans. Immigrants of the second generation commit more crimes than do the immigrants themselves, a fact which merely reflects the relation of slums to the problem of crime. Nor do the immigrants noticeably become public charges. Lack of willingness to work is not numbered among the faults of the present-day immigrant (see CRIME, PREVENTION OF).
were peasants or farm laborers in Europe. To these emigration to the United States has promised great improvement in their economic condition. Despite the low wages which these unskilled immigrants have been able to command in our industries, their earnings are several times that which they realized in Europe.
Effects of Immigrant Competition. The effect of recent immigration on conditions in the United States is brought out in the recent volumes of the Report of the Immigration Commission. The result which stands out most clearly is that the immigrants of recent years have, to a very great extent, crowded out the native American and former immigrant workmen in the unskilled work in the basic industries of this country. Almost 60 per cent of the laborers employed in the iron and steel plants east of the Mississippi are foreign born. If these figures applied only to the unskilled workmen, the preponderance of the immigrants would appear even more glaringly. Similar situations prevail in the meat-packing, coalmining, and textile industries. Railway and street construction work has been almost monopolized by the Italian and the Slav. In the sweatshops of the garment-making industry the native-born American is an exception.
On the other hand about one-third of the present-day immigrants are unable to read or write; among the south Italians the percentage of illiteracy is above 50. Again, very many immigrants come to the United States This displacement in unskilled work of lawithout any intention of staying here longer | borers with a high standard of living by those than a few years (see EMIGRATION), and many with a low standard is not altogether a result of those who plan to make the United States peculiar to the immigration of the last two their permanent home have shown little dis- decades. That it was to some extent characterposition to become American citizens. Com-istic also of the earlier immigration is brought paratively few of the immigrants from southern and eastern Europe who have been here longer than five years have as yet been naturalized.
As a result of the conditions prevailing in their native lands, most of the immigrants of the present-day have a standard of living very much below that of native American workmen and of the earlier immigrants. The situation is rendered worse by the great excess of males among the recent immigrants, for the immigrant competitor of the native laborer usually does not have to support a family. When he does have a family, he has generally been willing to call upon his wife to supplement the family income by her labor.
Causes of Immigration. Much of the immigration of recent years has been due to the efforts made by steamship companies to promote it. Every district furnishing immigrants has been flooded by the agents of these companies. Labor-contractors of their own race in this country acting as middlemen have been another factor in inducing these immigrants to come. The fundamental reason for the coming of most recent immigrants, other than the Russian Jews, must, however, be sought in the economic oppression from which
out in clear relief in the history of garmentmaking. The first tailors in this country were native Americans and Englishmen; when the Irish and the Germans came in large numbers to the United States, they became the tailors. The Germans in their turn were mostly supplanted by the Russian Jews. Because of their greater willingness to call upon the help of their wives and children, the Italians, and to some extent the Poles, are now crowding the Russian Jews out of the sweatshops. Something of this same story can be told in the history of many other industries. That the competition of immigrants with lower standards of living was formerly not so keenly felt as now, was due to the rapid expansion of industries, and to the existence of cheap agricultural lands.
The fact that the immigrant has been a competitor of the American laborer has been the chief reason for the existence in this country of racial antagonism. Prejudice is always developed among laborers against those who are willing to work cheaper. The fact that usually the laborer who was willing to work more cheaply was an immigrant of another race has made it seem that such antagonism is racial, not economic. However, where the
competitor with the lower standard of living | States.
The net effect of these policies has
was of the same race equal enmity has been been that the greater share of the advantages shown. Former immigrants and their children have often manifested quite as strong prejudice against the newer arrivals of their own race, as have Americans of native parentage.
from the rapid expansion of our industries has gone to the account of the profits of manufacturers, rather than to the wages of laborers.
Immigrant Colonies.-Of greater importance than any other problem created by immigration is that of the assimilation of the new ar
The competition of immigrants with lower standards of living has led the native laborers to demand, through their trade unions, the enforcement of rigid apprenticeship rules, and | rivals with our older population, and it grows the establishment of the closed shop. These no easier. The immigrant of today is racialdevices protect the native laborers against ly, temperamentally, and by training, out of the competition of the immigrants until these touch with our previous population, and its have been in this country for some time. In institutions and ideals. For that reason the many industries in which unskilled work pre-recent immigrants have herded together in deminates, however, labor unions do not now communities of their own. There is scarcely exist. The I. W. W. (Industrial Workers of the World) attempted to organize this element, and had marked successes in 1912 and 1913.
Effect of Immigration on Wages.-Another result of the immigration of recent years, which stands out clearly in the report of the Immigration Commission, is the fact, that the rate of wages for unskilled labor has not advanced as rapidly as might be desired. The average annual earnings of all male adults, skilled and unskilled, employed in the iron and steel manufacturing plants east of the Mississippi are only $346, and the average family income is but $568. Only 40 per cent of the families whose heads find employment in this industry can subsist upon the earnings of one person alone. With the recent immigrants the conduct of boarding-houses has become the chief means by which those who have families supplement their scanty earnings. In other industries, as in the textile centers, the labor of the wives in the factories is necessary to make ends meet. A considerable number of the immigrants are forced to use every room as a sleeping-room. Yet the investigations made under the direction of the Immigration Commission show that the immigrants move to larger quarters, and give up carrying on boarding-house groups, as soon as they can do
a town of industrial importance east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio and Potomac rivers, which has not its colony of Slavs, Italians, or other recent immigrants. Even those of the recent immigrants who have gone into agriculture have located in distinct colonies, within the area occupied by which very few persons of native birth live. Every immigrant community has its own business institutions, its own churches and parochial schools, its own beneficial organizations, and often its own newspaper printed in a foreign language.
Within these communities the leader whose advice is followed blindly is usually the man who conducts the immigrant bank. There the immigrants deposit their savings, or arrange for their transmission to their native lands. The immigrant banker also usually runs the labor agency through which the bulk of the immigrants find employment. Very often these men own, also, the stores, boarding-houses, and saloons which the immigrants patronize. many cases these bankers and labor agents shamefully exploit the recent immigrants, yet the immigrants, in their ignorance of American language and customs, are absolutely under their control.
These immigrant colonies, to a very great extent prevent the original immigrants from getting into touch with American institutions, but the children are much less closely confined. They have the advantage of the education of the streets, and are reached by our public
Effect of Immigration on Distribution of Wealth. Immigration has enabled American manufacturers to produce cheaply, through pre-school system, thanks to compulsory attendventing the rate of wages for unskilled labor from advancing as rapidly as have prices generally. This has been one of the chief factors in making possible the rapid development of our industries. Yet it is an open question whether it would not have been better had the exploitation of our resources been less rapid. Rapid development has, to a great extent, been purchased at the sacrifice of an equitable distribution of wealth. Protection of the American laborer against the competition of the pauper labor of Europe, has been the watchword for much of the extreme tariff legislation; yet no real restriction has been placed upon the Effect of Trades Unions on Immigrants.-Alcoming of the pauper laborer to the United most the only agency which works toward the
ance. The Immigration Commission has found that the children of recent immigrants are doing quite as well in our schools as do those of native parentage. Social settlements and institutional churches, also, do their best work with the immigrants of the second generation. The assimilation of the children of recent immigrants doubtless progresses rapidly. The investigations conducted by the Immigration Commission seem to show, that even physically the children of the recent immigrants differ from their parents, and tend to conform to a general American type.
Americanization of the immigrants themselves organizations of manufacturers. The first Chi. is the trade union. There all races are brought nese Exclusion Act, which came into operation together. Serious friction between them is in 1882, barred all Chinese immigrants who largely eliminated. When the immigrant and could not prove that they were students, travel. the native laborer are in the same union their lers, diplomats, professional men, or merinterests are identical: consequently racial an-chants. At the end of ten years this law was tagonism disappears. Trade unior member- reënacted and there is no movement for its ship also cultivates in the immigrants a spirit repeal (see CHINESE EXCLUSION). of resistance to oppression which was alto. The law excluding all immigrants who, prigether foreign to them in Europe. American or to leaving their native lands have entered trade unions have usually insisted upon all into contracts to work for persons in this their members becoming American citizens. country, was enacted in 1885. In 1903 it was Recent immigrants have made the best of extended so as to cover every form of implied unionists. In strikes, in late years, the Slavs contract. have repeatedly displayed the spirit of “never Enforcement of Immigration Legislation.say die,” amid the greatest hardships. This Until 1891 the administration of the laws was demonstrated capacity of the Slav for union- left mainly to state officers. Since that date ism is one of the most hopeful signs of our it has been the duty of federal immigration ability to assimilate the immigration of recent inspectors placed at all ports of entry, under years. Unfortunately most of it has gone into the direction of the Commissioner General of industries in which there are now no unions. Immigration, a subordinate of the Secretary
Restriction.—As early as the Passenger of Labor. Cases (7 How. 283) in 1848 it was established The course of immigration can best be studthat the Federal Government has exclusive ju- ied at New York, where three-fourths of all risdiction over all matters relating to immi-immigrants land. Cabin passengers are exgration. This power is a necessary consequence amined orally by immigration inspectors beof the control of foreign relations and com- fore vessels make a landing. All those who merce by the National Government. The power seem to fall within any of the excluded classes of Congress to regulate immigration is unlim- of immigrants are brought to Ellis Island, ited: in the Chinese Exclusion Cases (130 U. along with all those who travel in the steerage S. 581, 149 U. 8. 698) it was decided that any At Ellis Island inspection consists mainly of restriction deemed proper, even that of total medical examination, and of oral quizzing to exclusion, may be placed upon the admission ascertain discrepancies in the statements made of immigrants.
by immigrants and those appearing upon
their Not until 1882 did Congress enact any law manifests, which masters of vessels are rerestricting admission; and most of the restric- quired to prepare at the time of embarkation. tive state legislation adopted prior to that date All immigrants whose right to land seems had been pronounced invalid as an invasion of doubtful are detained for further examination federal powers. The sum total of the action before a board of special inquiry, consisting of Congress upon immigration prior to that of three inspectors: a vote of two of these en. date was represented by a statute of 1864, titles immigrants to admission. If the decision which created the office of Immigration Com- of the board of special inquiry is adverse to the missioner, with the duty of coöperating with immigrant he has an appeal to the commisthe states in inducing immigrants to come, sioner of the port, and beyond him to the and in protecting them against frauds. Commissioner General of Immigration, and The law of 1882 was based upon the prin finally to the Secretary of Labor.
There ciple of excluding the least desirable immi- is no right of appeal to the courts. Immigrants. As such were designated escaped con grants barred are returned to their native victs, idiots, and persons likely to become pub. countries at the expense of the steamship comlic charges. The list of the classes of immi- panies who brought them, which also bear grants to whom admission is denied has since the cost of maintenance during their deten1882 been very greatly extended, till in 1912 tion. For bringing over a person afflicted with it covered in addition to the above: all those disease capable of detection at the time of afflicted with a dangerous, contagious or loath- embarkation, the steamship companies are also some disease; all those convicted of serious subject to fine. Immigrants, who after landing crime in their native lands; anarchists and the become public charges because of reasons which morally unsound; prostitutes, and those who existed at the time of their arrival, are subject engage in the "white slave” traffic; paupers to deportation within two years after their and professional beggars. No serious opposi- admission. tion was ever offered to the exclusion of any Effectiveness of Restrictions.—The system of the above classes of undesirable immigrants. seems to have been gradually improving with
Another series of provisions which exclude the constant modification of laws necessitated contract laborers and Chinese coolies, were by new methods of evasion. In recent years adopted mainly because of the efforts of organ- an increasing proportion of immigrants is deized labor, and against the opposition of many ported till it reaches about 2 per cent of the
total immigrants. The investigations conduct- | President Cleveland. A similar provision was
ed by the Immigration Commission led it to the conclusion that laws barring the mentally defective and the diseased are not often evaded, though all other excluded classes considerably evade the law. Many Chinese coolies doubtless enter the United States, especially by way of Mexico and Canada. That the exclusion acts have not been a dead letter, however, is indubitably brought out in the decrease in the number of Chinese in this country since their enactment. The old forms of contract labor importation have been nearly broken up by the law directed against them. A large percentage of the recent immigrants from southern Europe, however, have fallen under the control of labor agents of their own race in this country, and thus are virtually in the same position as were the former contract laborers. Ex-convicts and persons likely to become public charges, constantly get by the immigration inspectors. Only through cooperation with European police officials can the exclusion of criminals be made reasonably certain. To keep out persons who become public charges a system is needed of following up immigrants after they have landed.
The theory upon which the laws are based is that steamship companies will do their utmost to prevent excluded immigrants from coming to the United States, but it has not worked out in practice. By a practice of forcing those whose admission seems doubtful to pay double passage, the law requiring steamship companies to bear the expenses connected with the detention and deportation of excluded immigrants has been robbed of its terrors. Much more effective has proven the system of fining the companies for every diseased immigrant they bring over. The extension of this principle to other classes of excluded immigrants, would force the steamship companies to introduce an efficient system of inspection before embarkation.
Proposed Restrictions. Aside from the Chinese Exclusion Acts, the aim of all of our immigration legislation has been improvement rather than restriction. Determined efforts have, however, long been made to get Congress to adopt a policy of substantially reducing the number of immigrants. The Immigration Commission in its report of 1910 unanimously recomended that this policy be adopted. To supplement this policy of restricting immigration in such manner as to produce marked effect upon the supply of unskilled labor, the Immigration Commission recommended the policy of excluding those who are least likely to be readily assimilated.
These ends, a majority of the Commission held, could best be secured through requiring that all adult immigrants shall be able to read and write in some language. Such an educational test secured the approval of Congress in 1897, only to be defeated by the vote of
vetoed by President Taft, 1913. An educational test would be effective in reducing the number of immigrants for the immediate future, for about one-third of all the immigrants of recent years could not read or write. As to whether it would select the immigrants who make the most valuable addition to our population, is more open to debate: education is no warrant of character, and opponents of this test point out, that most illiterate immigrants are such through no fault of their own. A great merit of the educational test, on the other hand, is the comparative ease with which it can be administered. It is certain, also, that illiterates as a class correspond quite closely to the immigrants with the lowest standard of living.
Of other methods of bringing about restriction of immigration, the exclusion of all persons of poor physique which the Immigration Bureau has been urging, has found perhaps the greatest favor. The barring of all unskilled laborers unaccompanied by their families, has, also, many advocates. The increase of the head tax which immigrants must pay has often been urged in Congress. Its great defect is the ease with which it can be evaded in spirit, if not in letter.
See ALIENS, CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS OF; ANARCHISTS, EXCLUSION OF; CHINESE IMMIGRATION AND EXCLUSION; COMMERCE, INTERNATIONAL; CONTRACT LABOR LAW; CONVICT IMMIGRANTS; DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL ETHICS; EMIGRATION FROM THE UNITED STATES; EXPATRIATION; EXPULSION FROM THE UNITED STATES; FOREIGN ELEMENTS IN THE UNITED STATES; IMMIGRANTS, HEAD TAX ON; IMMIGRATION COMMISSION; INTERNATIONAL LAW, PRIVATE; NATURAL RIGHTS; POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES; PROTECTION TO AMERICAN CITIZENS ABROAD; QUARANTINE; SHIPPING, REGULATION OF.
References: F. A. Walker, Discussions in Economics and Statistics (1899), II, 417, 54; J. A. Riis, How the Other Half Lives (1892); "Work of the Immigration Commission" in Survey, XXV (1910), 571-604; G. W. Evans, Alien Immigration (1903); E. A. Steiner, On the Trail of the Immigrant (1906), Immigrant Tide; Its Ebb and Flow (1907); U. S. Industrial Commission, Reports (1901), XV, 1840, (1902), XIX, 957-1030; Senate Committee on Immigration in Senate Reports, 57 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 62 (1903); U. S. Immigration Commission, Reports (1909-1912); P. F. Hall, Immigration (1906); B. Brandenburg, Imported Americans (1903); A. B. Hart, Southern South (1910), ch. iv; R. M. Smith, Emigration and Immigration (1890); E. E. Proper, Colonial Immigration Laws (1900); J. R. Commons, Races and Immigrants (1905); Emily Balch, Our Slavic Fellow Citizens (1910); Am. Year Book, 1910, 397, 400, and year by year; Library of Congress, List of Books with Reference to Periodicals on Immigration (3d issue,