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COMMISSIONER GENERAL OF IMMIGRATION.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND LABOR,
Washington, July 1, '1911. SIR: It has been customary in reporting to you at the close of each fiscal year the work of this Bureau to deal with the subject of immigration largely in the abstract and from an impersonal point of view. This is natural, but tends to make uninteresting the discussion of a very interesting subject. In this report I shall endeavor to portray the work, aside from its strictly statistical features, in a concrete and humanly interesting manner and to illustrate with actual experiences several phases of the subject. A work dealing so largely in human beings ought to be susceptible of a presentation in which the human element predominates. It is hoped that you and others who may read this report may find its perusal quite as interesting as I have found its preparation.
The human drama of the control of immigration is duplex; and attention must not be so focused upon the individuals' sorrows and joys that daily are given birth or forever laid to rest in the regular course of enforcing this law as to obscure the fact that the law is far-reaching in its ultimate effects and that its close application and proper enforcement may mean progress and its lax enforcement retrogression to many American communities, indeed to the Nation. Nowhere else is there a better illustration of the axiom that the individual must often suffer that the community may benefit; that there must be temporary individual inconvenience in favor of the general permanent convenience. So, I repeat, the drama is a double
And the difficulty of enforcing the law is increased through the constant necessity to insure that neither element shall be allowed to overshadow the other; that proper weight in each instance shall be given the personal and the public interests, respectively; that personal suffering shall be prevented but only so far as is consistent with the public interest under the law. This is no easy task. Mistakes are sometimes made, but the constant effort is to reduce them to the minimum.
Another special feature of this report is "General administration,” to which one portion (p. 167) is devoted exclusively, with frequent illustrations throughout the report consisting of specific cases.
It has been customary to present in this report from year to year suggestions as to legislation. Except that there is again presented, as Appendix I hereof (pp. 175–213), the draft of a new immigration