Page images
PDF
EPUB

in the Senate or elsewhere, it may be of interest to call attention to the plan, and I will do so as briefly as possible.

Some time during the present Congress—I do not remember just when-I introduced an immigration bill into this body containing this proposition. That bill has not yet been considered by the Committee on Immigration, though I hope it may be; but the salient feature of the restrictive measure in that bill was this:

Provided, That the number of aliens of any nationality who may be adinitted to continental United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Porto Rico in any fiscal year shall be limited to 10 per cent of the number of such persons of such nationality resident in continental United States, including Alaska, Ilawaii, and Porto Rico at the time of the United States census next preceding; but the minimum number of alions of any nationality admissible in any fiscal year shall not be less than 5,00

Then follow various conditions regulating the admission of aliens under the principle of a 10 per cent basis upon the number of each of those nationalities resident here in the last preceding census year.

This proposition has caused some comment, and it may be of interest to the Senate to observe what its operation might be. I have before me a comparative statement showing the number of aliens admitted to the United States in 1913, by countries, the number who would have been admitted under the literacy test, and the number who would have been admitted under the percentage test.

Take southern and eastern Europe. The number of aliens admitted for 1913, by countries, from that section amounted to 896,533. The approximate number of this class who would have been admitted under the literacy test in 1913 is 614,082, and the approximate number who would have been admitted under the 10 per cent test, which I have suggested, is 529,553. In other words, the number admitted that year would have been decreased under the literacy test 31.5 per cent, and under the percentage test 40.9 per cent.

In the immigration. coming from northern and western Europe the results would be unique. The number admitted from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom was 182.880. The number of those who would have been admitted under the literacy test is 171,267, and under the percentage test 658,311. That is to say, there irould have been an allowable increase in the number coming from those countries representing the races of the old immigration of 260 per cent under the percentage test. It will be remembered that, while the number coming from those nations in the last 30 years has been relatively small when compared with the number coming from eastern and southern Europe, there are so many in numbers representing the races of the old immigration resident in the United States who were admitted years ago that the percentage system would not operate to cut down the number of admissions from those countries. I will make that clear as I proceed.

As over 90 per cent of the immigrant aliens from the southern and eastern group came from the three countries, Russia, Italy, and Austria-Hungary, a comparisou similar to the one above confined to these three comtries is interesting:

83350---14620

[blocks in formation]

Total

475, 141 Decrease, 41 per cent.

Thus it will be seen, there would have been a considerable difference between the number admitted under these two tests from Russia, Italy, and Austria-Hungary. The literacy test would have cut down the immigration from these three countries from 811,408 to 560,417, or 31 per cent. The percentage test would have cut down the immigration from these three countries from $11,408 to 475,141, or 41 per cent.

It thus appears, taking the year 1913 as an illustration, that the actual immigration from each one of the countries comprising the southern and eastern Europe group would be cut down by the application of the principle in the percentage test, with the exception of that from Bulgaria, Servia, Montenegro, and Roumania, and that the cut would be greatest in the number of immigrant aliens admitted from Russia, Italy, and AustriaHungary, which three countries furnished in 1913 over 75 per cent of the immigration to this country from all the countries in Europe, not only those in the southern and eastern group but those in the northern and western group as well. To indicate the large number of immigrants coming from these three last-mentioned countries, and how effective the 10 per cent system would prove in reducing such immigration, it may be stated that the decrease in the number of immigrants admitted from Russia and Austria-Hungary alone would be greater by 20,000 than the whole number of immigrants admitted from all the countries of the northern and western group. And yet the adoption of this system would not reduce or restrict the immigration from any country in northern or western Europe except Belgium.

To recapitulate: Basing computation upon the immigration of 1913, the literacy test would have reduced the number admitted from Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Servia, Montenegro, Greece, Italy, Partugal, Roumania, Russia, Spain, Turkey in Europe, and Turkey in Asia, 31.5 per cent, while the percentage test would have reduced the immigration of those countries 40.9 per cent; on the other hand, the literacy test would have reduced the number of immigrants from the northern and western group, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and Scandanavian

83350-14620

States, France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the Netherlands only
6.4 per cent. Under the percentage test the number coming
from the last-named countries might have been increased
2,304,090.
TABLE A.--A comparative statement showing the number of aliens

admitted to the United States in 1913 by countries, the number who
would have been admitted under the literacy test, and the number
who would have been admitted under the percentage test.

SOUTHERN AND EASTERN EUROPE.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

1

1

1 Decrease (literacy test), 6.35 per cent.

2 Allowable increase (10 per cent system), 260 per cent.
So it will be seen that, under the percentage test, western and
northern Europe would not be affected at all; in fact, they
would be entitled to come in much larger numbers than they
have done in the past; but, on the other hand, the numbers
coming from eastern and southern Europe would be quite a little
less than under the literacy test.

APPLICATION OF THE READING TEST.
Mr. I'resident, the reading test, to which I have referred, will
apply substantially as follows: I will take the immigration of
The last 11 years as a basis for the discussion.

During that time we admitted substantial!y 7,000,000 aliens. { the old immigration 2.7 per cent would have been excluded,

8335014620

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

and of the new immigration, amounting to 5,215,000, 35.6 per cent would have been excluded.

Let me say also that in comparison with other means of restriction the literacy test is essentially humane to the immigrating classes of Europe. It is so simple and direct that the right of a person to admission into the United States can be determined in advance, and it will not subject individual immigrants to that uncertainty and loss which would attend a less definite method of restriction.

I venture, also, to suggest that the requirement that one be able to read in some language is not unreasonable. The ability to read in one's own language is not a difficult acquirement, particularly in the case of a person who in point of intelligence or character will make a desirable citizen, and the effort that might be required is not too high a price to pay for the benefits which will accrue to the individual in securing for himself the American standard of living and wages. Not only that, but the application of this test will prove a benefit to the countries from which they come, because it will stimulate elementary education among the masses.

IMPENDING DANGERS. WIr. President, in closing my remarks I wish to call attention to what seems to me to be a most remarkable condition in this country, disclosed by the last census, and one which must not be overlooked. It indicates a danger to which we should not close our eyes--one of which the President could have had no knowledge when preparing his veto message.

It is a startling fact that in the census year 1900 there were found within our borders 900,000 foreign-born male whites, 21 years of age or over, who had taken no steps to become citizens of the United States, but who, under our naturalization laws, were entitled to do so at once.

The census of 1910 discloses the alarming fact that in a single decade the number of foreign-born males who were over 21 years of age and who had then taken no steps to become citizens of the United States had increased from 900,000 to 2,260,000.

What does this vast increase signify? What does the presence in the United States of 2,260,000 male whites of foreign birth of more than 21 years of age portend?

While it is not probable that such results will follow, it is possible for this entire body to become naturalized citizens of the United States within a period of five years. Should that be done, who can measure the influence of the addition of this vast number of voters upon the policies and the progress of our Nation?

Do you realize that 2,260,000 men represent a number equal to one-seventh of the entire vote cast in the United States in the presidential election of 1912?

The possibilities suggested by the presence in this country of this vast number of prospective voters can be better understood when I call attention to the fact that the entire presidential vote of California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas in the election of 1912 amounted only to about 2,280,000, while this body of pros

83350---14620

pective citizens in the United States in 1910 numbered 2,260,000. Further comment is unnecessary.

Mr. President, I am strongly impressed with the conviction that the time has come when the policy of restricting immigration by means of a literacy test should be inaugurated. It is a policy that was demanded as early as 1896 by both political parties of the Nation. It is a policy which has been approved by affirmative legislation by three separate Congresses of the United States, chosen by the people of the Nation at three several elections, and this is conclusive evidence that the subject is one which has met the “ conscious and universal assent of the American people.”

And yet the President of the United States says:

Let the platforms of the parties speak out on this policy, and the people pronounce their wish. The matter is too fundamental to be settled otherwise.

83350-14620

« PreviousContinue »