- We Recommend:
"Convinced that the best way to combat fifth columnists is to teach aliens how to become good citizens, the Department of Justice announced a $14,000,000 program to expand Works Projects Administration classes in 'Americanization'..."
"'A 3 percent remedy' for our immigration ills, real or fancied, will restrict the admission of aliens from May of this year to June, 1922, to 3 percent of the total of each nationality in this country when the Federal census was taken in 1910. As passed by the house, and expected to pass the Senate, the new measure, except for the time limit, is identical with the Johnson Bill passed in the last session of Congress and killed by pocket-veto of President Wilson."
"But the Johnson Bill does not set up a permanent restrictive policy; it is intended merely to protect this country for the next fourteen months from a horde of Europe's most objectionable classes."
To read this 100-year-old article is to understand that the inhumane conditions of today's alien detention centers on the Southwest border are a part of a larger continuum in American history. This article addressed the atrocious conditions and brutality that was the norm on Ellis Island in the Twenties.
"But it is not the stupidity of the literacy test alone that is to be condemned. It is its inhumanity."
An occasion was provided to debate the pros and cons of American immigration policy at the National Immigration Conference that convened in New York City during December of 1923:
"Most of the speakers advocated restriction and selection, but as to the degree and variety of each there was no consensus of opinion. Especially, there were two different methods of attacking the problem - from the industrial standpoint, and from the standpoint of the welfare of the race and of citizenship."
In this 1920 American Legion Weekly article the mojo of the Red Scare (1917 to 1920) is fully intact and beautifully encapsulated by W.L. Whittlesey who condemned the U.S. Government for ever having allowed large numbers of socialist immigrants to enter the country and spread their discontent throughout the fruited plane. On the other hand, the writer was grateful that the government was finally tending to the matter of deporting them in large numbers and doing so with every means available.
One hundred years ago the U.S. Government processed immigrants through a quota system - entry would be granted if the applicants arrived before the quota amount arriving from their country had not been reached - and if they passed their physical examination. The immigration agents did not accept one nationality for citizenship officially while permitting hundreds of thousands from this same country to reside illegally, as is the practice today. The attached column pertains to how unfair the quota system was and how it tended to break-up families. President Harding's response to this issue is quoted.
"...many would-be immigrants arriving at the port of New York had been refused admission and been sent home again, because they had happened to arrive a few hours after their country's legal quota for the month..."