Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

the total admissions of this race, including immigrants and nonimmigrants, aggregated 14,904, and the number of departing, including emigrant and nonemigrant aliens, was 11,233, making the indicated increase in population 3,671.

Asiatic barred zone.—There have been very few applications for admission from the portions of Asia and islands adjacent thereto the native population of which is excluded under the immigration law of 1917. Of those applying, 19 were excluded and 11 found in the country in violation of the law were deported. India is within the barred zone and during the fiscal year only 171 were admitted from that country, including 68 East Indians or Hindus.

Smuggling over borders.—During the war Chinese and other inadmissible aliens were employed in war-material factories in Canada near the international boundary. Following the signing of the armistice practically all of the Chinese were dismissed from this employment and some sought surreptitious entry into the United States. During the war the border was so closely guarded by both Canadian and United States military authorities as well as by our immigration officers that the smuggling of aliens was practically impossible; but with the withdrawal of the military, the meagerness of the force of immigrant inspectors available for prevention of smuggling made it possible for some Chinese to gain illegal entry. However, a number of smugglers were caught in the act of bringing in Chinese illegally and every possible effort is being made to guard the border against further violations of the exclusion law. Chinese laborers continue to pass in transit to the West Indies, and there are substantial reasons for believing that the object of many of these is unlawful entry into this country.

The limiting of Japanese immigration to Canada has reduced the probabilities of any considerable movement of that race across the northern boundary. But unfortunately the same condition does not exist on the Mexican frontier, and some inadmissible Japanese gain entrance over that border. Investigations made during the year exposed a well-organized plan to circumvent the immigration law by Japanese laborers coming to Mexico, either direct from Japan or via Central and South American countries, for the purpose of gaining illegal entry into the United States at points along the southern California-Mexican border. During the investigation 37 persons

implicated in the illegal importation of Japanese laborers were arrested, some of whom have already been convicted and given substantial penitentiary sentences, and 117 contraband Japanese laborers were apprehended and deported.

It is very strongly recommended that ample funds be provided for a patrol service to guard the borders, coast lines, and the insular territory against smuggling. The Department now has a small force doing effective work, but this needs to be materially increased. The regular immigration officials, who are charged with the general enforcement of the immigration law, can not be expected to make the specialized effort necessary entirely to overcome the devious methods practiced by those who seek to enter the country surreptitiously. This class of work needs experienced officers who are free to devote all their time and energies to the task. During the past year, it was possible for a time to patrol certain places on the Mexican border and the supervising inspector in charge of that district reports that more progress was made in enforcing the law than had been the case for the entire ten previous years. But unfortunately it was necessary to abandon much of this specialized work because the available funds were exhausted. Until such a patrol is permanently reestablished with an adequate personnel, the Immigration Service can not fully meet the requirements of the law.

WAR ACTIVITIES.

[ocr errors]

By reason of the special training and experience of its officers the bureau was in a position to render important service in many outside lines of activity during the war, and the executives of the Departments of State, Treasury, War, Navy, and Justice have generously acknowledged its cooperation in carrying out various war measures. Under the act of May 2, 1918, entitled “An act to prevent in time of war departure from and entry into the United States contrary to the public safety," by direction of the President immigration officials were designated as control officers for incoming travel at all ports of entry, for outgoing travel on the land boundaries, and as permit agents for the examination of resident aliens seeking to leave the United States. The system of control authorized by this act went into effect September 15, 1918, superseding the joint order of July 26, 1917, referred to in the bureau's report for last year. During the period September 15 to June 30, 171,995 permits were granted to aliens to leave the country, and 4,119 applications for such permits were denied. At the close of the year 1,173 applications were pending, and in 3,477 other cases the permits were not claimed or applications were withdrawn. Identity cards for travel between the mainland and outlying possessions were furnished to 8,632 United States citizens, and 35,610 aliens' and 15,775 citizens' permits to cross the Mexican border were also issued. Practically every case required painstaking investigation and the work entailed much correspondence and clerical labor.

The War Department on July 1, 1918, assumed charge of interned enemy aliens, a task which the Department of Labor had previously performed; but the bureau expended much effort during the year in determining the status of such aliens under the immigration law and taking action respecting the deportation of those found to be in the country unlawfully. Immigration officials throughout the country were able to render valuable assistance in the enforcement of the espionage, trading with the enemy, and sabotage laws. Another important duty undertaken was that of preventing the departure over land boundaries of men of military age not in possession of permits to leave the country. On the Mexican border 639 offenders were arrested. Investigations were made in nearly 2,000 cases of persons suspected of being deserters from the Army or evaders of the selective service law. A corresponding amount of work of this nature was also performed on the Canadian border. The provost marsha! general has officially expressed his appreciation of the cooperation.

SEAMEN.

The immigration act of February 5, 1917, opened the way for a more adequate control of alien seamen arriving at United States ports than had hitherto been possible, and perhaps the largest single item of work performed by field officers during the year was in this connection.

The Department is gratified to note that the year's experience has confirmed its opinion that the problem of arriving seamen could be regulated so as not to interfere with their traditional rights and at the same time prevent diseased, criminal, or other inadmissible aliens from coming to the United States in the guise of seamen for the purpose of surreptitious entry. As the result of experience in the year 1918 the rules were revised and new methods introduced for work in the field. Under the present practice it is possible to segregate alien seamen for compulsory treatment in hospitals. Fellow workers on vessels are thus given protection against contagion, while segregation on shipboard eliminates a further danger from close association with diseased shipmates. Under the new practice all alien seamen arriving in United States ports are medically examined each time they arrive, the examination being similar to that made in the case of alien passengers. Identification cards are furnished to each seaman and many precautions are taken to prevent the spread of disease as well as unlawful entries. The great work entailed is indicated by the fact that during the fiscal year 810,097 seamen were examined, 261,551 identification cards were issued, and 4,053 seamen were certified for loathsome or dangerous contagious diseases and removed to hospitals for treatment. The amount of the work necessary will be more fully appreciated when it is understood that the examination of a seamen consumes more time than is required in the inspection of an immigrant. Owing to this added duty immigration officials were required to examine a total of 1,055,744 arrivals during the fiscal year, or only a little less than the average

[ocr errors]

number of immigrants examined during the 15 years of heavy immigration prior to the outbreak of the World War.

Arrangements should be perfected whereby the masters of vessels can be furnished by the American consular officers at foreign ports of departure with a supply of seamen's identification cards in blank, with full instructions concerning their proper use and the necessity that every member of the vessel's crew shall upon arrival at a United States port have in his possession an identification card properly made out and bearing his photograph. This procedure would materially reduce the time required for the examination of crews, with a corresponding elimination of delay to vessels when it is necessary to do this work after arrival. If blanks were supplied through consular officers proper crew lists might be promptly furnished to immigration officials on arrival and there would be no necessity for the imposition of fines on masters of vessels for failure to deliver such documents.

But while good has resulted to seamen under the new order of things, the seamen's law gives arriving seamen the right to leave their ships and makes it possible for them to enter the country without examination by immigration officers. The law provides that seamen desiring to remain in the country must present themselves for proper examination under the immigration law. Many do this, but more do not, and while many of the latter would be regularly admitted on examination, it is certain that many excludable persons choose this method of gaining illegal entry. It is apparent that a follow-up system is necessary in the case of deserting seamen who do not apply promptly for admission. This branch of the work should be delegated to the special patrol service previously recommended.

ADMINISTRATIVE FINES.

[ocr errors]

During the year the sum of $58,055 was assessed against transportation companies in administrative fines, the largest aggregate amount so assessed ($30,650) being on account of the failure of masters, owners, or agents of vessels to furnish the information required by section 36 with regard to alien crewmen. Other causes for which penalties were assessed were as follows: Bringing of illiterate aliens, $12,400; bring

, ing aliens who were diseased or defective, or otherwise inadmissible as specified in section 9, $9,375; bringing such aliens as members of crews, $450; failure to furnish proper manifest data as to alien passengers, $2,180; failure to deport, detain on board, or pay detention expenses of excluded aliens, $3,000.

Some difficulty has been encountered in connection with refunds of passage money to excluded aliens because of inability to locate the aliens at the foreign addresses given by them at the time of their rejection. Steps to remedy this condition are now under consideration.

A CENTURY OF IMMIGRATION STATISTICS.

[ocr errors]

The so-called passenger act of March 2, 1819, was not only the first United States law for the protection of passengers at sea but its requirement that the age, sex, and occupation of each person carried should be reported to customs officials at ports of arrival marked the beginning of our official statistics respecting immigration. Reference to this early law brings out the interesting fact that the record to the end of the fiscal year 1919 covers a period of one hundred years. Details concerning this earlier immigration seem very meager compared with the elaborate records provided for in more recent legislation, but the statistics as a whole afford a highly interesting picture of the immigrant tide during the century and the extent to which various peoples contributed to the total.

The number of aliens who came prior to the fiscal year 1820 has been variously estimated, but no authentic record has been preserved. It is said that there was an unprecedented influx in the years following the second war with Great Britain, and it is known the sufferings of these immigrants on greatly overcrowded ships was a potent argument for the enactment of the law of 1819. From 1820 to 1830 the average annual influx was only about 14,000, but it increased to an average of 60,000 in the decade 1831-1840; to 171,000 in 1841-1850; and to nearly 260,000 in 1851-1860; the two last-mentioned decades marking the beginning and rise of great movements from Ireland and Germany. The annual average fell to about 231,000 during the Civil War decade; rose again to 281,000 in 1871-1880, and reached the great height of nearly 525,000 annually in 1881-1890. This was the last wave in which immigration from northern and western Europe was in the majority, and even then the peoples of southern and eastern Europe were a close competitor. Industrial depression in the United States was largely responsible for a decrease to an annual average of approximately 369,000 in the decade 1891-1900, but in the 10 years following, 1901–1910, it reached the enormous average of nearly 880,000 a year. But the average accession was even greater during the first four years of the present decade, for in 1911-1914 it reached 1,033,283 annually. But war again intervened and the annual average fell to 234,536 in 1915–1919. In 1918 immigration reached the lowest level since 1862.

During the past century 33,200,103 aliens are recorded as having entered the country, of whom 8,206,675, or 24.7 per cent of the whole, came from the United Kingdom. Germany followed with 5,494,539, or 16.6 per cent. Then comes Italy with 4,100,740, or 12.4 per cent; Russia, 3,311,400, or 10 per cent; and the Scandinavian countries, 2,134,414, or 6.4 per cent, leaving a balance of 5,884,887, or 17.7 per cent, who came from other countries. Until

« PreviousContinue »