« PreviousContinue »
Secretary Davis. I should think so. Senator HARRISON. That looks all right while you are Secretary of Labor, Mr. Davis, but somebody else might get in there and have different views.
Secretary Davis. I have that question put to me practically every day. As I see it now with the many organizations, with the interests that we have in immigration at this time, a man that did other than right in that office would be practically-well, he would be ostracized, because I really believe right now that if the matter were put to a referendum vote of the people of this country, rather than have it go on as it is, they would vote for total exclusion.
Senator HARRISON. I think you are right on that point.
Senator KING. You would not object, Mr. Secretary, to a bill containing statutory requirements ?
Secretary Davis. No; I have no objection to that.
Senator King. Indeed, would it not be wise that certain statements should be made or certain qualifications should be set forth which must be met by the applicant and then give to the department authority, perhaps, to supplement but not repeal or modify the congressional requirements or qualifications?
Secretary Davis. I would have no objection to that. I have reached this position-I just want to answer you about the percentage-with all this opposition that we have from foreign countries and all this talk about discrimination and this great army of people that are trying to prevent any legislation, I have really reached this conclusion in immigration : That I would adopt something similar to the Canadian law and I would just have this special immigration certificate. I would have the joining together of families under that special immigration certificate; I would furnish such labor as is needed in the country, both skilled and common, and I believe I have reached the point when I would make it a real business proposition.
Take the overdevelopment in industry. Senator Reed is more familiar with it than I, although I have worked in it since a boy 8 years
age. I have seen this army come and go. I have seen towns go from English-speaking to a foreign language in a night, so to speak. With the production you have in the steel business now you can produce all the steel we need in seven or eight months. We have got machinery here for the manufacture of shoes. We can make 735,000,000 pairs of shoes a year and we can use up about 350,000,000. There is but six months' work in the window-glass industry; but six months' work yearly in the textile industry, and I might continue down to our retail business. For every manufacturing concern we have two or three wholesale houses. For
every wholesale house we have just so many retail concerns, and we have so many of these now that one concern serves about 350 people. The whole country is overdeveloped. Now, I am just expressing myself as I feel about it. I have reached the point where I believe I would go along with a special immigration certificate and give to the country just exactly what it needed.
This bill of Senator Watson provides that the percentage limitation should be extended to Canada and Mexico. That is right. It is the most absurd, it is the most asinine, policy I know of, gentlemen, to lock this front door over here in Europe and open the back door to Mexico. Sixty-three thousand Mexicans came in last year that we know of. God knows how many came illegally over the border. There is no way to find out.
Senator KING. Do not most of them return to Mexico? Secretary Davis. It does not look as though they are returning when the largest item of expense of the New Mexico Legislature is for interpreters and translators. It does not look like it to-day when you have trial by jury there, and need interpreters in a large number of cases to interpret the evidence to the jurors. It does not look like it to-day when they are bringing them by trainloads and assigning them all over this country.
Is it not better to get down to a sensible program, as we argued out with the representatives of organized labor in my office for five hours? Is it not better to furnish the skilled mechanics needed in this country and furnish people easy for us to assimilate? Because, how are we going to keep the mechanics at work if we do not have common labor? Now, to satisfy all of these European governments who say we discriminate against them, why not just adopt a policy of total exclusion for everybody and have an immigration policy that would give just what we need? Furnish farm hands, furnish domestics, furnish skilled labor, and furnish common labor. That is the point I am coming to, Senator.
Senator KING. That would mean, then, Federal supervision and a Federal mobilizing office or a Federal reporting office to whom everybody would report that needed the labor, skilled or unskilled ?
Secretary Davis. I would say go to the office of the Secretary of Labor. It is to the interest of the skilled and the organized worker to have common labor in this country.
Senator King. Does the Watson bill, so called, which I understand has been drawn by your office, comprehend the scheme which you have spoken of?
Secretary Davis. It has a special immigration certificate, because under the Watson bill here he has 12 installments; that is, onetwelfth of the quota comes each month, and it provides, first, for women and children.
Senator King: But does that bill comprehend your plan?
Secretary Davis. Yes; it has part of it. It has the special immigration certificate.
Senator REED. It does more than that; it gives you power to shut off immigration entirely or to increase the admissions.
Secretary Davis. Yes; with the special immigration certificate, Senator. It also provides that when you have five or six million men out of work, such as we had here in 1921, the President of the United States has the power to shut off all immigration or such immigration as he feels is right; that is, upon the certificate of the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Labor that such conditions exist.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, your fundamental proposition rather agrees with the policy of the Canadian Government, that immigration should be in the hands of a commission or board, whether you, or you in combination with others.
Secretary Davis. I do not know whether there should be created a special commission or not. I do not think I agree with that.
The CHAIRMAN. We must deal with the environment and present conditions. Do you think Congress at the present time would be
willing to delegate power to regulate immigration, as Canada does, to a commission in some form?
Secretary Davis. I can not answer that. I am not sufficiently acquainted with all the Members of Congress to answer that.
The CHAIRMAN. Then, if we eliminate that, we come to the combination of quota with flexibility lodged in your department, etc. The Watson bill presents a numerical quota which absolutely limits the number, whatever that percentage might be. Then you combine with that your special certificate, but the power to issue your special certificate under certain regulation is lodged with you, is it not?
Secretary Davis. Yes; it is lodged with the Secretary.
The CHAIRMAN. In that way you get what you want; that is, you get what I call flexibility. On grounds of humanity you would admit wives and children, if you please. Upon economic grounds you could issue these special certificates, under proper regulation, for skilled or unskilled labor. Upon proper representations you could issue certificates for seasonable labor from Mexico or from Canada. So that your bill combines a numerical quota limiting the number with that power lodged in the Secretary of flexibility on grounds of humanity and on economic grounds. Is that your proposition?
Secretary Davis. That is practically it.
Senator REED. You have power to say that all immigration should be suspended ?
Secretary Davis. No; under this Watson bill there is a percentage limitation that comes in. You legislate for that, but in the special immigration certificate you lodge power with the Secretary of Labor after a hearing to admit such labor, skilled or otherwise, that is necessary for the country, and you also bring here under that particular certificate the joining together of families. It is under the special immigration certificate.
Senator HARRISON. What is the limitation in the Watson bill?
Secretary Davis. It is 2 per cent of 1910.
Secretary Davis. In addition to that he has this special immigration certificate.
Senator HARRISON. This special immigration certificate applies within the quota!
Secretary Davis. No; it is in addition to the quota.
Secretary Davis. That limits you to the number of men you need in the country.
Senator HARRISON. Yes; but your consular agent takes these people that comply with the certificate requirement, and are you not more liable to get a better class of people if you have a proposition to apply within the quota instead of beyond the quota?
Secretary Davis. You can limit the number to come in if you wish with this special immigration certificate. .
Senator REED. On page 12, Mr. Secretary, of the Watson bill, I notice there is a power there in the President to suspend immigration from all or any countries at any time that unemployment exists. Now, when you read that in connection with power to issue special immigration certificates, is not that the same thing as turning over
to the President the power to legislate as to how many people shall come in from any country in any year? Is it not a roundabout way of saying that the President shall have the power of Congress to fix the amount of immigration?
Secretary Davis. No; under section 15 in the Watson bill the President can suspend immigration only when the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Commerce shall jointly certify that unemployment exists in the continental United States or in specified territory. He has power to suspend, and then when we resume a normal condition in the United States he has power to admit that number that the law permits.
Senator King. Notwithstanding the provision there for a quota, he might suspend the quota if, say, on the 1st day of February for a given year a certificate were filed by the two Cabinet officers of whom you speak that there was an overamount of labor and it would be to our economic disadvantage to permit any more to come in. He could then suspend the operation of the quota law and keep that suspended until the 31st day of December, unless in the meantime he received another certificate from the two Cabinet officers that the surplus had ceased.
Secretary Davis. Yes.
Senator HARRISON. What do you do, so far as the 2 per cent quota in the Watson bill is concerned, toward making selection at the source?
Secretary Davis. You have the selection at the source with this immigration certificate.
Senator HARRISON. Yes; but I understood that was to apply only after you reached your 2 per cent quota.
Secretary DAVIS. Yes.
Senator HARRISON. Now, what do you do toward making selection at the source of those who come within the 2 per cent quota ?
Secretary DAVIS. By having an immigration certificate, and the consular officer makes the selection.
Senator King. You subject whatever percentage we agree upon as the quota to the same certificate procedure to which you referred a moment ago; that is, the applicant would first go to the American consul and then go to his government to obtain his passport?
Secretary Davis. Yes; for those coming under the percentage there are preferences:
In the issuance of immigration certificates preference shall be given in the following order : To the husband, wife, unmarried children under 18 years.
Senator COPELAND. Excuse me a moment. Why do you say 18 years? It is in all the early bills. Is that the reason you put it in?
Secretary Davis. No. Here is a man with his family, and usually when a minor is over 18 years of age he is able to take care of himself. You would not want him to bring his family in if he were 50 years of age.
Senator COPELAND. No; but how about 21 ?
Senator COPELAND. How about unmarried children under 21, the same as we would have in our country?
Secretary Davis. It seems to me that they start earlier on the other side to take care of themselves than they do on this side.
Senator COPELAND. Well, they are coming over to conform to our customs. I would like to inquire how often that question has come up. Perhaps Major Curran can answer the question. How often do we have children over 18 and under 21 to deal with?
Mr. CURRAN. Very seldom in my experience. I do not remember a single case. I would dispute as to their being between 18 and 21. Usually the minor children are under 18.
Secretary Davis. You know it says here, too, Senator, unmarried children under 18.
Senator COPELAND. They might be unmarried and be 20. What does Secretary White say about it?
Mr. WHITE. We have a great many cases in immigration as a whole where the question arises of a child over 18 and under 21. The question of age is a very usual one.
Senator COPELAND. Is there any objection to making it 21 ?
Senator King. You increase the number of the given family and to that extent you restrict the number of other families.
Senator COPELAND. You keep the family together.
Senator HARRISON. Mr. Chairman, perhaps Mr. Husband can throw some light on that. He appeared on these other bills with regard to that matter.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a detail that we can deal with. It runs through all these bills.
Senator COPELAND. You know, I am always suspicious of any. thing that always runs. The saying, “As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be," never appeals to me when applied to official acts. I have known of some instances where there were children past 18. It seems to be very cruel to admit the father and mother and two or three young children and then exclude a girl of 20 or 19.
Secretary Davis. You have under the special immigration certificate a provision that would enable you to take care of that.
Senator COPELAND. That is in the Watson bill? Secretary Davis. Yes. Senator COPELAND. Where is it? Secretary Davis. The special immigration certificate is at page 6 of the Watson bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, with regard to your special immigration certificate as distinguished from your regular certificate, may I ask this question: Your special immigration certificate, over which the Secretary of Labor would have a good deal of power, is made by a citizen of the United States if he pleases to petition you?
Secretary Davis. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. He petitions you. Now, is the issuance of the special immigration certificate surrounded by the same safeguards as to selection at the source as is the regular immigration certificate!
Secretary Davis. Yes; the same thing.
The CHAIRMAN. So you would have selection at the source with regard to the special immigration certificate upon the same lines that you have your regular immigration certificate ?
Secretary DAVIS. Yes.