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IDIMIGRATION QUOTAS BASED UPON NATURALIZATION STATISTICS

The proposal to regulate immigration to the United States upon the basis of the disposition of the various immigrant races to become naturalized American citizens is inherently sound and can not fail to strike a responsive chord with the American public.

After all, we Americans, while primarily concerned that alien races coming to these shores should possess proper physical, moral, and mental qualifications, are likewise concerned that aliens should be of the disposition to join in our American national life, and assume the obligations and responsibilities of citizenship. We don't want the class of aliens that come here, join in our national wealth and prosperity, and yet remain outside of the pale of citizen. ship. That savors too much of the parasite, and reflects upon the intention of those aliens in coming to the United States and upon the spirit with which they regard America.

If this country is good enough for an alien to come to, live in, share in our economic blessings, and otherwise reap the fruits of American well-being, it is good enough for such an alien to assume our citizenship. On the other hand, if this country is not good enough to join in with as a citizen, that alien has no place among us, and in the long run America is better off without him.

After all, America has prospered because it has been a melting pot for all of the races of the earth seeking freedom and opportunity. The raw mass that comes here must be digested, ground through the mills, and turned out as a finished product of Americanism. Just as undigested food in the human system throws all of the human organs out of gear, and renders the person unfit for proper activities, so the presence here of large masses of alien races who decline to become citizens, or are indifferent to the thought of becoming nationals of this country, can not fail in time to create discord and confusion amongst us, and retard our national life and development.

One of the best tests, if not the best test, of what races have the instinct to cast off entirely their foreign allegiance, and grasp the spirit of America, lies, of course, in the readiness with which those races become naturalized. If out of 100 aliens of a given race we find that 75 have become citizens, we are safe in saying that that race feels the urge strongly to establish themselves here permanently as part and parcel of our land, and hence that race is desirable from the national standpoint. On the other hand, if we find that out of 100 members of another race, only 15 have elected to assume American citizenship, we can not escape the conviction that that race is not a very desirable element to have in our midst, because it does not fuse with us, and in the course of time will constitute a separate foreign entity in our midst.

Of necessity. in determining what proportions of the various races readily are absorbed into American citizenship we must rely on the 1920 census, because that was the first census taken of foreign-born and naturalized persons in the United States. We can not go behind the figures in determining which races more readily associate themselves with America, and as a consequence we are left in ready position to determine from those figures which of those races are the more desirable to encourage to come to us. In this way, we are safe in opening the doors to a greater extent to those races, than to those races which are slow to join in our political well-being.

By putting immigration upon this basis, rather than upon the rather arbitrary basis of total numbers of persons of a given nationality residing in this country during a given year, we are not open to the charge of discrimination against any particular race; because, after all, America must look out for her own welfare, and it is only fair and just that America should look with greater favor upon those that readily cast their political lot in with us than with those that do not.

We choose our friends by the instinct of who are most congenial to us. The same principal applies in choosing those we would have join us in our national life. We want those who show the greatest aptitude to become as we are citizens, because by that means we are sure of adding to our peoples those who most fittingly become part of our American scheme of existence.

This plan of immigration is intrinsically sound, and commends itself to all who have the interests of America at heart.

The question of what per cent of those naturalized should be allowed to enter should present no great difficulty, because under this plan it will be evident that those races which are most readily absorbed as citizens will be the

ehief beneficiaries, and we can have no objection to the admission of those who will in short order, as demonstrated by lessons of the past, soon be as we ourselves are-American citizens. It should be no less than 6 per cent of the 1920 census of those naturalized, because that is substantially the equivalent of our present immigration under the 3 per cent rule based upon the 1910 census, and it could be readily enlarged to a greater basis than 6 per cent because of the assurance conveyed by the figures that the new immigrants will not remain aliens, but true to type they will reasonably soon become citizens. The greater the proportion fixed, the greater will be our net and ultimate gain in the way of those races we consider best suited to live among us. Respectfully submitted.

L. SILO GOTTLIEB. The CHAIRMAN. Doctor Atkeson wanted to speak for just two minutes, and then we will call on Senator Shortridge.

STATEMENT OF DR. THOMAS C. ATKESON, WASHINGTON, D. C.,

REPRESENTING THE NATIONAL GRANGE.

Doctor ATKESON. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I represent the National Grange in this city, the farmers' organization. This organization of farmers reaches across the continent from Maine to Washington and California, and it is made up of a great diversity of people and a great diversity of opinion on many subjects. On this particular subject there has been no great diversity of opinion on the part of our membership, and that membership comprises approximately a million people, inhabitants of the open country.

So far as I recall, the first action taken by this organization on the subject of immigration was in 1907 at a meeting held in Hartford, Conn. I regret

I have not with me the resolution adopted, but at that time they took a position against the alien ownership of real estate in the United States. That was long before we were confronted with the problems growing out of the great World War.

From that day to this, I think, in every session of the National Grange some sort of resolution has been adopted dealing with the immigration question in its various relations. It is not my purpose, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, to enter into a detailed discussion of this question. I said I would be satisfied with two minutes of the committee's time. But I want to read the resolution adopted at the last session of the National Grange; and if I had had forethought, I might have brought all the resolutions that have been passed since 1907. At the session of last November in Pittsburgh the National Grange unanimously adopted this resolution:

The Grange favors immigration laws which will make for more loyal Americanism and better citizenship, and urges such modifications of the present laws as will accomplish this end. We favor the substitution of the Census of 1890 for the Census of 1910 as the basis for the percentage immigration law sbould it be reenacted. We reiterate the previous action of the Grange asking for denial of permanent residence in the United States to aliens ineligible to citizenship.

I do not care to enter into a discussion of this question. I just wanted to say for the organization that there are some farmers in this country that are decidedly of the opinion that our immigration laws should be so constructed as largely to limit immigration, especially since the World War.

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Senator COPELAND. Doctor, we have had farmers before us during the past two or three days urging that an exemption be made so that men who have had farm training could be admitted. What is the attitude of your organization towards that?

Doctor ATKESON. Well, I can only say it expresses its views in the resolution which I have read. I have heard of that argument. We are confronted with a good many difficulties when we attempt to make that sort of exemption. If they came to this country and went on the farm and the authorities could provide that they would stay there, but they migrate to the railroads or to the factories or somewhere else, and since this is a free country and its citizens can move from one place to another it seems to me that any limitations of that kind are impracticable, to say the least.

Senator COPELAND. The committee is seeking the light, and when the doctors disagree who is going to decide?

Doctor ATKESON. The suggestion has been made that they be admitted for farm employment, and that as long as they stay on the farm they might stay in the country, but that when they left the farm they would have to go back to where they came from. I could not indorse any such theory.

(The committee thereupon proceeded to the consideration of the Japanese phase of the immigration bill.)

SELECTIVE IMMIGRATION LEGISLATION

THURSDAY, MARCH 13, 1924

UNITED STATES SENATE,
COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION,

Washington, D. C. The committee being in session pursuant to previous adjournment, further statements relative to certain general phases of immigration were received.

Present: Senators Colt (chairman), Keyes, Willis, Reed of Pennsylvania, King, Harris, and Copeland.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Marshall, the committee will hear you now.

STATEMENT OF MR. R. C. MARSHALL, JR., REPRESENTING THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D. C.

Mr. MARSHALL. Mr. Chairman, if you please, I will say a very few words and then submit a statement. I see it is gettng pretty late in the day.

The CHAIRMAN. You may submit any statement you please in connection with your remarks.

Mr. MARSHALL. Yes; I will do that, and then I will only take a very few minutes of the committee's time.

I represent the Associated General Contractors of America, which is an organization of between sixteen and seventeen hundred general contractors throughout the country. I am the general manager.

In making my statement I want to be very clear that I do not believe, and I am sure that the people whom I represent do not believe, in letting down the bars to immigration.

The CHAIRMAN. Are you directing your remarks especially to skilled or unskilled labor?

Mr. MARSHALL. To both. The statement that I will make verbally will apply particularly to skilled labor. The principal plea that I want to make is to the flexibility in the law so that the economic conditions of the country can be met as they arise.

The CHAIRMAN. That is not a new problem to us.

Mr. MARSHALL. No, sir. Last March a year ago I was before the committee and made a statement then with respect to apprenticeship, which I will not repeat now. The apprenticeship problem in the construction industry is a very important one and it is one that has had much to do with the rise of cost of construction. The price of construction to-day is about 220 as compared to 165 of average commodities. The CHAIRMAN. I do not understand that.

last year.

Mr. MARSHALL. The price of construction is about 220 to-day as compared with the cost of products, which is about 165, compared to 1913.

In my judgment, to-day construction is probably the wild man of industry, and I think that the immigration question has much to do with it.

In June of last year I got reports from general contractors all over the country, who employed at that time 32,000 men asking them how many men they wanted in the several crafts, 15 crafts. They were then employing 32,000 and their needs were 42,000, approximately, in those 15 crafts. That condition has not materially changed. This year construction is faced with even a larger problem than it had

The volume of contracts let in the two months of January and February is between 15 and 20 per cent more than the corresponding period a year ago.

The volume of construction work during the past year has been about $7,000,000,000, which is the second largest single industry of the country. Its effect on the economic structure of the country is now, I believe, acknowledged by all economists as a barometer and may be the stabilizer of industry if properly controlled. It is not as yet properly controlled, if it ever will be, and the fact that its index price to-day is 220 as compared to the average index price of commodities of 165 is an indication of that.

The CHAIRMAN. You mean by that if you were going to consider good or bad business, the construction part is at the bottom of it and really regulates all that follows in a way? You say it is a barometer.

Mr. MARSHALL. It is a barometer of industry, and it may become the stabilizer. Economists have only recently come to recognize that fact. Therefore, needs with respect to labor are of more than passing importance.

The construction industry has two classes of labor. One is the skilled mechanic and the other is the common laborer. The skilled mechanic is made up from the apprenticeship and the apprenticeship either comes from the common labor or from our American born.

I have no doubt in my own mind that the shortage of mechanics now existing in spite of any statistics that might come from the governmental departments—that the needs of the contractors are more accurately reflected in the satement that I have just made, that in the month of June last these employers were 23 per cent short of a sufficient number of mechanics.

Just what the needs of the country are with respect to labor and with respect to immigration I shall not attempt to go into, because the committee has gone into that fully, but the situation is such that the law should contain a provision that will permit a committee or a commission or a proper department to have authority to say who shall be admitted so that when the economic fabric of the country is in jeopardy, or one of those great industries is in jeopardy, that situation may be met.

The CHAIRMAN. Your analysis of your position is that some commission ought to be intrusted with the power to admit labor when it is needed and to suspend it when it is not needed!

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