Front Cover
 Back Cover

Title: What shall we do about immigration?
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00001452/00001
 Material Information
Title: What shall we do about immigration?
Series Title: Public affairs pamphley - Public Affairs Committee, Inc. ; 115
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Davie, Maurice R.
Affiliation: Yale University -- Department of Sociology
Publication Date: 1946
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00001452
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA0515
ltuf - ADL6612
alephbibnum - 000675872

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Back Cover
        Page 35
        Page 36
Full Text

R0'o 4, ZM
, W. v

of lnritba

hn niju,1

iQI ANININC bout the arrival of na p
d Anmrican custom. Someredaskp dobtl
lrtt soon, after the first boatload. of..u
topped on shdre. He probably declared thzt
ng, groundd, were being ruineC and thp
old soon go to the dogs unl, th fBood o
rants was stopped.
At every later stage in the making of America
ias been raised. And curiously enough the po
t, after the had"as Were silenced, were t s
pants of ealier year or the dechndan' of
he continuous press of settlement, the car
lever ceased to lok with mixne feelings o the

ad Wf _If

Some of them have protested that the newcomers were
crowding in and taking away their bread, undermining their
standard of living, threatening their form of government, or
marrying their daughters. Others have argued that new-
comers added to the national wealth and strength, brought in
new blood and ideas, supplied brain and muscle needed to
build up the country.
Immigrants All
Whatever one's view on the matter, there is no denying
that immigration is the life history of this nation. Few indeed
are the Americans who cannot trace their ancestry-and often
proudly-to one or more countries of the Old World. No less
proud and honorable is the American tradition of offering in
the New World a haven for oppressed peoples.
Perhaps you have sailed into New York Harbor or are look-
ing forward to the day when you will sail into it. Then you
may understand a little how the fathers and grandfathers of
many Americans felt when they first saw the Statue of Liberty.
The "Old Lady" has stood there since 1886, symbolizing a
welcome to the land of the free. At her feet are engraved
verses that express America's most generous sentiments to-
ward the immigrant.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Some Americans today think the invitation in this inscrip-
tion is too generous; some have always thought so. Others
have glorified it as a mark of our greatness as a nation. In no
period of American history has public opinion been undivided
about immigration.
The Argument Today
In times of peace and prosperity those in favor of more im-
migration have usually had the better of the argument. With
plenty of work to do and not enough hands to do it, immi-
grant labor has been one of the solutions traditional in Amer-

Stitia especially in iane of war or do
W oppooitio, beomls more vigorous and nore
d fdof the war raises the old quaitipmoabout immigra-
lfMnew pm more pressing ways: Will there be work for


all MI l ifr gratior increase after the war? Will America
open "geldmn door" (o everyone? Will all the peopk of the
ar-devastated coun tiet Want to aome to America? Can they?
What would happen if they couliand did?
I! mons After World War I
u, Q tions like these came up after World War and led to
a wi14wpad demand for the reduction of umirgration. B
fore that it had been almost unrestrcted. But now we have



a quota system that limits the number of immigrants who
may come each year. That doesn't mean that new and press-
ing problems will not exist, or that new proposals will not be
made to solve them by further limiting immigration.
Many Americans seem to feel that the United States can no
longer absorb many hundreds of thousands of immigrants
every year without suffering marked social, political, and eco-
nomic dislocations. Yet opinions differ widely on just how
far restriction of immigration should go.
Should we close the door tighter? How much and for how
long? Or are we already shutting out many that we need?
And should we open the door wider? Should we make any
change in the present immigration laws? Are they doing a
good job and have they stood the test of depression and war?


THE average citizen still retains a mental picture of a vast
stream of immigrants pouring into the United States. The
fact that the tide of immigration turned twenty years ago has
not yet fully impressed itself upon the American public. We
know in a general sort of way that immigration has been re-
duced by quota laws. But unless we understand what this
change means we cannot very well consider present and future
immigration policy.
The Figures
The United States has admitted more immigrants than any
other country. Since 1820, when official immigration records
began, over 38 million persons have come to this country.
From 1776 to 1820, it has been estimated, about 250,000
arrived. Thus, the total movement to the United States has
been nearly 39 million, of whom probably 30 million re-
mained. No other country has equaled this record numerical-
ly although some have done better proportionately.
By way of comparison with other countries which have re-
ceived many immigrants from overseas, Canada has admitted
a total of seven to eight million immigrants, Argentina over
six million, Brazil 41/2 million, Australia three million, and
New Zealand two million.




hm.t "mF
SIN1'W i


abot485 ar cott Ce font Europe; II per cet ft= C
ti '

naa, Mexico, and other American countries; 2 pa cmn from
Aia; and I per ent from Afica A Fustrali, and COtMIr t 1fC
ewgrld. 1
f the 18n20ey m lof or immigrants the cUmtedm ates,
many, Itly, Ireland, Greeat Brisain, former Austrta.ungary,
SRua; Canada, and Sweden. The countries are listed accord-
tot tohertilative numbers they have snt and ae only those
from which we have admitted more than a million each.

Before 1895 most of our immigrants came from countries
of Northern and Western Europe-Great Britain, Ireland,
Germany, the Scandinavian countries, France, the Nether-
lands, and Switzerland. This is known as the "old immigra-
tion." Since then, the largest portion has come from countries
of Southern and Eastern Europe, notably Italy, former
Austria-Hungary, and Russia. This is known as the "new
immigration." The distinction between the old and the new
European immigration was taken into account in setting up
our quota system.
Is America a Nation of "Foreigners"?
Nearly 35 million of our total of 132 million inhabitants
are of recent immigrant origin. To be specific, the census of
1940 lists 111/2 million people in the United States as foreign
born and over 23 million as born in this country but of for-
eign or mixed parentage. That sounds like a lot.
Actually the number of foreign born in the United States
has been declining rapidly. They constituted 13.2 per cent
of our total population in 1920, 11.6 per cent in 1930, and
only 8.8 per cent in 1940.
There are two chief reasons for this decrease. First of all,
many immigrants have gone back home in recent years and
few new ones have come. Only 68,693 more immigrants ar-
rived than left during the decade 1931-40; this contrasts with
an excess of 3,588,817 incomes during the 1911-20 period.
Secondly, members of the foreign-born group are old and
their death rate is therefore very high. Their average age is
50 as compared with 29 for the general population. If the
present conditions continue, the foreign born will fall to
about six million in 1960 and to barely two million in 1980,
and eventually will decline almost to the vanishing point.
Are There Many Aliens?
The number of aliens or noncitizens has declined even
more rapidly than the foreign-born population. This is be-
cause increasing numbers of aliens have become naturalized
-reaching an all-time peak in 1944. In recent years the num-
ber of aliens naturalized has greatly exceeded the number
of aliens admitted to the country.

According to the 1940 census, there were about 4,300,000
aliens in the United States, or 3.3 per cent of the population.
This compares with 7 per cent in 1920 and 5 per cent in
1930. It is estimated that by 1944 the number of aliens had
dropped to 2.7 per cent of the total population.


WHAT is our immigration law? How did it develop? How
is it administered? How well will it meet conditions of the
postwar period? All these questions are important if we want
some perspective on future immigration problems.
How Do We Limit Immigration?
Before 1882, immigration was largely free and unregulated.
Then came a series of laws designed to keep out individuals
and groups regarded as undesirable. A law adopted in 1882
to exclude the Chinese was later expanded to bar all immi-
gration from the Orient. Then, in 1943, the ban against the
Chinese was lifted and they were placed on the same basis
as Europeans.
Other laws deal with the quality, rather than the quantity,
of the newcomers. Every immigrant must meet certain phys-
ical, mental, moral, and economic requirements in order to
be eligible for admission. If an alien is found to be unde-
sirable after admission, he may be deported.
Later laws approached the question by putting limits on
the quantity of immigration. Numerical limitation was
adopted in the early 1920's because of the widespread feeling
that too many immigrants had come and had come too fast
to be absorbed. In the ten years just before the first World
War approximately a million immigrants were admitted to
the United States each year, with serious social, economic,
and political effects.
What Are the Three Zones?
For purposes of carrying out our present immigration pol-
icies, the world is divided into three zones which may be
termed the unrestricted area, the barred zone, and the quota

I Wi v?

-' *r f^'' '. te ndons
in 19orth, South'a"d arK adi
Eligibl e nvsamnivbrn in the
Western Hemisphere y eir
number. '
The barred zone in ude not
owned by the United

this area, with the exe$ inri
"Nonummigrran ," such N a v
seamen may enter for tempo sl
clusion iA the provision tlatalians i p Qh
may not be. admitted permanenTly, q sohe i St Ac
cording to our 4lw, only white persons, Amedican Indi
Chinese, atd aim ens of Afica nativity or cscet are re
ly elgible to ctizenship through nature Ition. ,, ',
The quota countries include all the oatcAiq
world-mainly Europe, the Near East, iAu
traha, and New Zealand. Only Europs, It
is anurmportant source of inmmgratiop. this
zone has a.fixedanual qiWo wich r-,p hmit
on the number of immigaats wop,w& r ,f rom that
country each year. s

What Are the "Quota" Laws?

The first law to provide a quota system was the temporary
Quota Act of,1921. It limited the number of any nationality
that could be admitted to the United States in any year to 3
per cent of the number of foreign-born persons of such na-
tionality living in the United States in 1910. Under our im-
migration laws, nationality is determined by country of birth
or origin. The total annual quota for all countries was 357,803.
Since there were more people in the United States in 1910
who had come from Northern and Western European coun-
tries than from Southern and Eastern Europe, the law favored
the "old" immigrant countries. This was done deliberately,
since it was felt that the "new" immigration was less adaptable
than the "old."

The National Origins Plan

The first quota law was replaced by the permanent Immi-
gration Act of 1924, embodying what is known as the
national-origins plan of immigration restriction. This is the
law, with later modifications, under which we are now operat-
ing. Until 1929 it limited the annual quota of any national-
ity to 2 per cent of the number of foreign-born individuals
of such nationality resident in the United States according to
the census of 1890. The total quota under this plan was
164,667. Beginning in 1929 the act provided that the na-
tional quotas thereafter should be calculated on the basis of
a total of 150,000 a year. This number is apportioned among
the countries to which the act applies according to their rel-
ative contribution to the American population of 1920.
To determine the quota for any given nationality it is nec-
essary to find out what proportion that nationality contrib-
uted, by birth or descent, to the total American population
of 1920-a most difficult statistical problem-and then to ap-
ply this percentage to 150,000. If, for example, 10 per cent
of the American people in 1920 were Irish by birth or descent,
then 10 per cent of 150,000, or 15,000, would be the annual
quota for Eire.

Since the minimum quota for any country is set at 100, the
total quota amounts to a little more than 150,000, that is,
153,774. This was increased to 153,879 in 1943 by the in-
clusion of the Chinese, who have a quota of 105. The quotas
allotted to the main countries are given in the table which
appears below.


Southern and Eastern Europe

Nationality or
country of birth
Other countries


Northern and Western Europe
Nationality or Annuc
country of birth quote
Great Britain and
Northern Ireland 65,72
Germany 25,95
Eire 17,85
Sweden 3,31
Netherlands 3,15
France 3,08
Norway 2,37
Switzerland 1,70
Belgium 1,30
Denmark 1,18
Other countries 4C



Total 126,053

Other quota regions
All countries


The law sought to keep the make-up of the population
roughly the same in race and national origin. It appears on
the surface to treat all nationalities fairly. Actually it restricts
immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe even more
than did the act of 1921. The total quota allotted this region
is only about 24,000, while Northern and Western Europe
gets about 126,000. Yet for two or three decades before these
quota laws were passed the great majority of the immigrants
had been coming from Southern and Eastern Europe.

-' I tfats *lel4W At OTr IMUflAtIfol IV
Wha+ Are the ampt d the Preferred Clases?
C ei u.n rimmigrants are exempt from the quota limitations.
S* .. .-u.... ota immigrants include wives and minor children
uf .... :rr ..I the United States, husbands of citizens who mar-
ne tc': I. july 1, 1932, ministers and professors, their wives
ir-d ..r..Ij lu, students, and citizens of other American coun-
L| .. n. .r..h the act doe not apply.




r Within the quota limits set for any country certain immi-
S grMts are given preference. Half of each quota is set aside
S, A wpaents of United States citizens, husbands of citizens by
S mariago after July 1, 193%2, or for farmers and their families.
In rinag up any remaining portion of the reserved half of the
qwit and in filling the other half, the wives and children of
immigrants already in this country get next preference. After
Sfrt. whatever part of the quota remains unfilled is open to
,i- imnigration Visas
All i;.--,' -s--whether from quota or nonquota coun-
uIter-ul hr.,. an immigration visa issued by a United
Su, ts .ui tu:fore they can be admitted to the United

* ;

States. Getting this visa is a complicated procedure which re-
quires many documents regarding the identity, character,
and financial standing of the applicant.
The various quotas are controlled through limiting the
number of quota-immigrant visas issued in any month or
year. In other words, the quotas are counted or controlled
in American consulates abroad. There are advantages to this
method, especially during a period of emergency, as will be
shown later.


THOSE who advocate a freer immigration policy rarely if
ever propose to open the door wide and let down all the bars,
and few of the opponents of immigration want to slam the
door absolutely and permanently. The argument is largely
over the degree of restriction that ought to be applied.
Various bills have been introduced in Congress to reduce
or completely suspend immigration for a certain number of
years in the postwar period. Some call for a 50 per cent cut
in the quotas for perhaps five or ten years. Others would stop
immigration completely for a specific period-commonly five
years-from the end of the war.
Other bills would stop all immigration when there are a
million or more unemployed in the United States. This plan
has attracted considerable support because it sounds so rea-
sonable. But even in normal times there is considerable un-
employment in the United States. Job changing, seasonal fluc-
tuations, and technological improvements account for so much
unemployment that, according to the United States Depart-
ment of Commerce figures, 6 per cent of the civilian labor
force was unemployed even in the boom year of 1929. At the
peak of the labor shortage in 1944, close to a million people
were looking for work. Hence any measures to stop immigra-
tion while our unemployment is a million or more would
stop all immigration.
All the various proposals for limiting immigration have
been publicly supported by a number of organizations in the
country, notably by the Daughters of the American Revolu-
tion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion.

The chief argument advanced for such regulation is that it
will protect the war veteran and the American workingman
generally from immigrant competition for jobs. Against this
it should be pointed out that the total yearly quota is so
small that its effect on the economic and social life of the
United States is bound to be insignificant.
Does Immigration Increase Unemployment?
Many people are convinced that immigration increases un-
employment. Yet nearly everyone would admit that immi-
grants who bring capital and business experience with them
and who become employers of labor are exceptions to this
rule. Many of the refugee immigrants have been of this type.
Most people would also regard as exceptions iinmigrants who
possess special skills or abilities that America may need or
immigrants who are willing to take jobs for which enough
native applicants cannot be found. These classes of immi-
grants do not "take jobs away from Americans." On the
contrary, they meet a definite economic need and often in-
crease job opportunities.
Moreover, a large number of immigrants are not wage
earners and hence are not competitors. Among these are peo-
ple too old to work, women who remain housewives, and
young children-though the latter, of course, may become
wage earners later. The proportion of immigrants in these
categories has been increasing since the quota system was
There is disagreement about the effect on employment
when wage-earning immigrants come in. Those who believe
that there are only a certain number of jobs available at any
time say that if immigrants are admitted they will compete
for those jobs and throw Americans out of work. This will
especially be so, it is held, if there are just enough jobs for
native workers or if there are too few jobs. If there are more
jobs than workers, then the effect may be, not displacement,
but a lowering of wages or a prevention of wage increases.
Other people insist that the theory that immigrants take
jobs away from Americans is disproved by the whole history
of the United States. We have always had immigration; yet
wages have been comparatively high and working conditions

good. In fact, the expansion of American industry has been
largely due to immigrant labor, and immigration has been
an economic asset to this country. In particular, we have
profited by the skill and experience of the immigrants without
having had to bear the cost of rearing, educating, and train-
ing them, since most of them have come as mature individuals
and full-fledged workers. Also, it is maintained, since immi-
grants are consumers as well as producers, they help to give
employment to others.
Immigration During a Depression
Those who think that immigration helps employment ad-
mit that in times of depression or extensive unemployment
immigration in any volume would not be desirable. But they
point out that immigration is to a large extent self-regulating.
During a period of prosperity, immigration is high, but dur-
ing a depression it is relatively low. The graph on page 3
shows that the crests of the waves of immigration have coin-
cided with prosperous times, while the troughs have coin-
cided with hard times and periods of war.
Economists who have studied the matter report that this is
true but that it takes a little time for immigration to decrease
after a depression sets in. Some immigrants have already
made preparations to migrate and may even be on their way
to this country. For a short time after the crisis has begun
large numbers of immigrants may continue to arrive.
The Quota Law During the Depression of the 1930's
Those in favor of keeping the law as it stands maintain
that the present quota system gives a method of direct control.
It has, they contend, adequately met the test of the depression
of the 1930's. What are the facts? Immigration in the period
1931-40 was the lowest it had been in any decade in a hun-
dred years. The number of immigrants admitted in the pe-
riod 1931-40 was even less than the number admitted in the
1830's. This reduction was accomplished primarily by admin-
istrative regulation under the quota law.
It will be recalled that no immigrant can be admitted with-
out an immigration visa issued by an American consulabroad.
By presidential order of September, 1930, the consular offi-

yx dyAIthe clause in qour general
persons likely to become public
Inedm to isue a via to an applicat
eawnt ma to Imaintain buncelf indefinite-
O*ywpat ore, l had satisfactory assurance of



ten- IneS \m nUson

L i

leaveses or others which would make it unlikely
Sp metwI rdenl on the community.
Sof immrpigapts which had reached a total of
4 in thi de(adc 1921-30, was thus reduced to
il~t .14Do. Departures during 193140 were unusual-
aWly. 459,738, leaving a net immigration during
d ot only o8,s93. In the four years of deep depres-
-35, there was a nt loss in immigration due to an
artures over arrivals This was the first time on
such a loss occurrd.eDuring the entire period of

the depression only about 20 per cent of the total permissible
quota was used. (See chart on page 25.)
During 1941-45, when the demand for labor greatly in-
creased, the number of immigrants admitted was only 170,952,
because of war conditions. Departures totaled 42,696, result-
ing in a net increase of 128,256. Because of the drop in immi-
gration and the shortage of wartime labor, it was necessary
to import, on temporary visas, from Mexico, Canada, and the
West Indies, some 350,000 nonimmigrantt" laborers for em-
ployment on farms and railroads and as woodsmen. Since
the end of the war these workers have been returned to their
The Quota Law During the War
Those who are opposed to a further restriction of immigra-
tion claim that our present immigration system not only met
the test of the depression but also met the test of war. When
the United States entered the war a new visa procedure was
introduced to prevent the entry of aliens whose admission
might endanger public safety. The control of visas was cen-
tralized in the Department of State. All applications for ad-
mission were carefully reviewed by committees composed of
representatives of five government agencies: the Department }
of State, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Military Intelligence, and
Naval Intelligence. These agencies exercised great caution
in their work. Because of this control and because of war
conditions only about 7 per cent of the total quota was used
from July, 1941, to July, 1945.
The United States was better prepared to handle the alien
problem in the past war than in World War I. The Immi-
gration and Naturalization Service had obtained information
about all aliens through the Alien Registration Act of 1940.
The FBI had collected a great amount of information con-
cerning possible subversive elements and had compiled a list
of aliens from Axis countries who might prove dangerous to
the national security. On the night of December 7, 1941, the
most dangerous persons in this group were taken into custody;
in the following weeks a number of others were apprehended.
Each arrest was made on the basis of information about the

particular alien taken into custody. No dragnet techniques
or indiscriminate large-scale raids were used against European
enemy aliens. Fortunately, we avoided repetition of the
hysteria of 1917 and 1918, which culminated in the "deporta-
tion delirium of 1920."
Enemy Aliens
Of the five million aliens registered in 1940, approximately
one million were, by the fact of war, classified as "enemy
aliens" and hence were limited in their personal freedom.
Only a very small proportion of them, numbering under ten
thousand, proved to be hostile or disloyal to this country.
About five thousand others who had been arrested were pa-
roled. The great majority of enemy aliens were more proper-
ly called "friendly aliens of enemy nationality." Included
among them were the Italians, who were later exempted as
a group.
In 1942 provision was made for exempting from surveil-
lance all persons certified as loyal to the United States after
investigation by the Department of Justice. They were then
permitted to apply for naturalization. Little investigation
was needed for aliens with children serving in the armed
forces of the United States, housewives whose husbands were
citizens, aliens over 65 years of age, and aliens who came here
to escape persecution. Many of the enemy aliens, especially
the refugee group, rendered special services to the war effort
through their intimate knowledge of Axis countries and
through their technical and scientific skills. Many in the
armed services made outstanding contributions as interpreters,
as experts in psychological warfare, and as volunteers for spe-
cial assignments.
Loyalty of the "New Americans"
The foreign born and the native born of foreign parentage
have demonstrated not only their undivided loyalty to the
United States but their readiness to defend it with their lives.
Here and there some individuals of foreign stock, like some
natives of old-American stock, were found to sympathize with
fascist regimes abroad. The number of such individuals, how-
ever, was very small. Among the Japanese, nearly all of the

I WHAT AMA1W4M, fW*W. *0lWAT14

a W, The
Wisd (those bor. bhere) ,w (; te Jise f
(Japaese-bomn 4II^^^^
United Stltep tnboihonrdpfa o in e
our earned forces.


1920 o

Our enemie expected that a nation mR*e wp peape
from many nations would be disunited. They attempted to
incite racial dassentsion but failed. Insted ot bde i'A.
vided we grew more unified. Service men i particuar Ia
learned that loyalty, courage, and sacrifice have 'inthSi
with xace, nationality, or ceed. As one remwkea, "Il
service forces men to come not of their shells and legp P. u-
dersand people they never knw before." : I ,
Regrding th r lerole o "New Americam" in wnar, Earl
G. Hanerrn then Ctouissdioner of Immigi tion, statedt

I think we are even a little more conscious than we were be-
fore Pearl Harbor of the "global composition" of our popula-
tion. The nature of the war has helped bring home that fact.
We are fighting Italy and Germany, yet everyone knows that
our armed forces are filled with boys of German and Italian
extraction who are just as eager for our victory as the rest. We
hear that our soldiers are stationed in various parts of the world
and when we look around in our own neighborhoods, we realize
that some of our neighbors originally came from those parts of
the world. We read the lists of dead and wounded, and we know
from the names that the parents of those boys came from scat-
tered parts of the world.

Since aliens as well as citizens of military age were included
under the Selective Training and Service Act, many aliens
have served in our armed forces. For many reasons, psycho-
logical as well as practical, it was important that members of
our armed forces be citizens. Especially was this so in the case
of enemy aliens and aliens born in enemy-occupied or enemy-
dominated countries: their lack of American citizenship
might have meant death if they were captured. Congress ac-
knowledged this in the Second War Powers Act in 1942 by
simplifying the naturalization requirements for members
of the armed forces. By the beginning of 1945, more than
100,000 noncitizens in our armed forces had been naturalized,
some 10,000 of them overseas, even in actual combat areas.
This was the first time in American history that citizenship
was granted outside the boundaries of the United States.

Immigrants and Criminals

Many people believe that a large proportion of our crimi-
nals are foreign born. Investigations, however, have disclosed
that the foreign born are less likely than the nativeborn to
be criminals. But the children of immigrants have a higher
delinquency rate than the children of native-born parents.
This is probably due to the fact that so many of the immi-
grants' children are reared in city slums. City slums breed
high rates in every country. This is just as true of the slums
in London, Paris, Berlin, or Rome as in the large cities of

The Cry of "America for Americans"

Despite the declining number of foreign born and aliens
and despite their demonstrated loyalty, a certain amount of
anti-immigrant and anti-alien sentiment persists in the United
States. American politics have never been entirely free from
what historians call "native Americanism"-the antagonism of
native Americans toward the foreign born. Such sentiments
are usually stronger in times of emergency. They are evidence
of a latent mistrust of foreigners which from time to time is
intensified by organized propaganda.
In general, prejudice against foreign nationalities is di-
rected chiefly against groups which have recently arrived.
Throughout our history prejudice against recently arrived im-
migrants has shifted from Germans to Irish to Scandinavians
to South Europeans. The despised alien of yesterday becomes
the 100-per-cent American of today and joins the native born
in scorning the freshly arrived immigrants. This attitude has
been well expressed in the following quotation from Mr.
Dooley's essay on immigration:
As a pilgrim father that missed th' first boats, I must raise
me Claryon voice again' th' invasion iv this fair land be th'
paupers an' anrychists iv effete Europe. Ye bet I must-because
I'm here first.

Those who are of Irish, German, Scandinavian, or other old-
American descent are apt to forget that their own grand-
parents who came hopefully to America often encountered
opposition and that the same arguments were raised against
their coming as have been leveled at more recent arrivals.
At several periods in our history, organized political move-
ments voicing opposition to immigrants have arisen. Out-
standing examples are the Native American movement which
began about 1835, the Know-Nothing movement which be-
gan early in the 1850's, the American Protective Association
movement in the late 1880's and early 1890's, and the Ku
Klux Klan movement of the 1920's. A similar nationalist or
"America-for-Americans" movement appears to have been
developing since the late 1930's. It is represented by such or-
ganizations as the American Nationalist Party, the America

First Party, the resurgent Ku Klux Klan, and various other
groups, all more or less on the "lunatic fringe."
Although the various movements, past and present, have
been concerned with political questions of the time, all have
shown hatred of certain religious and racial groups, especially
of Jews, Catholics, and Negroes. During the past decade Ger-
many and the Axis vassal states have subjected America to a
barrage of propaganda aimed at stirring up race hatred and
poisoning public opinion against the refugees, especially the
Jews. The effect of this progaganda persists even though the
Axis has been defeated. The present nationalist movement
has obviously absorbed the Nazi pattern and given it an
American coloring.

Groups Working for Fair Play

Many Americans have recognized the threat that the
"America for Americans" movement presents to the unity
and welfare of the nation. Attempts have been made to coun-
teract the movement by such organizations as the National
Conference of Christians and Jews, numerous church bodies,
and the C.I.O. National Committee to Abolish Racial Dis-
crimination. Various programs of intercultural education
have been initiated by these and other organizations. The
federal government, by executive decree, and a few states
by legislation have set up fair employment practice agencies
designed to eliminate discrimination in employment on ac-
count of race, nationality, or creed. The American Federa-
tion of International Institutes has issued a "Message to
America," in which it affirms:

We are a nation of immigrants and the descendants of immi-
grants welded into a great democracy by our common faith in
freedom and social justice. Let us then join in reaffirming what
we know to be the truth-that a passionate devotion to this land
possesses the millions of our people born under other skies. The
native born are heirs to the cherished liberties our own immi-
grant forefathers achieved through common struggle; but these
are "Americans by choice."
Foreign-born citizens from every land in Europe fought in
our War of Independence; helped save the Union; died in de-

fense of democracy in the World War. We must not permit the
solidarity of our citizenry to be undermined by the corrosive
acids of baseless fears and mass suspicions.


ALTHOUGH opinion in America appears to favor limiting
the number of immigrants, there is a widespread feeling
against any "closed door" policy. Immigration has been one
of the most powerful factors in developing and enriching
American society, one source of our national greatness. It has
introduced new life, new blood, new ideas. The list of notable
immigrants throughout our history is endless: Alexander
Hamilton, Andrew Carnegie, Samuel Gompers, Alexander
Graham Bell, Carl Schurz, Joseph Pulitzer, William S.
Knudsen, Michael Pupin, Albert Einstein, Arturo Toscanini,
Thomas Mann. Everyone can no doubt add to the list from
his own field of interest. Theodore Roosevelt once stated:
In every generation since this government was founded, men
of foreign birth have stood in the very foremost rank of good
citizenship, and that not merely in one but in every field of 4
American activity . Good Americanism is a matter of heart,
of conscience, of lofty aspirations, of sound common sense, but
not of birthplace or of creed.

At the same time, there appears to be no organized senti-
ment in favor of letting the bars down and returning to the
era of unrestricted immigration. The demand for a more
liberal immigration policy takes form in proposals to relax,
not remove, our restrictive legislation.
Bills have been introduced in Congress to permit aliens
who have served honorably in the armed forces of the United
States in any war to enter as nonquota immigrants. This pro-
posal is obviously intended as a reward for service. Proposals
have also been made to liberalize the law with respect to
refugees or to extend the quota system to include certain
Asiatics now excluded. Arguments advanced for making the
quota system more flexible and for modifying its discrimi-

natory features rest primarily on humanitarian grounds, on
the tradition of America as a haven for the oppressed, and on
the need of international cooperation and good will.
Fair Play for Asiatics
As a result of the growing belief that racial discrimination
has no place in a free world, there has been pressure to change
those sections of our immigration and naturalization laws
which bar certain people because of race. An important
step in that direction was taken on December 17, 1943, when
the Chinese Exclusion Acts were repealed and the Chinese
were given a quota and made eligible for citizenship.
In the debate held on this bill the chief arguments in favor
were: Repeal of the acts would strengthen Chinese morale.
It would defeat Japanese propaganda. The original reason
for exclusion-the importation of cheap labor-had disap-
peared. It was an act of international justice. It was a denial
of the false doctrine of racism. It would remove the insult
implied in exclusion. It was desirable to allow permanently
admitted residents to become citizens. China was an impor-
tant potential market.
The arguments in opposition followed in general these
lines: We should not open up the question of immigration
"until the boys come home." This legislation would break
down our basic immigration laws. The subject of immigra-
tion should not be treated piecemeal. If we placed the Chinese
on a quota we should have to place all Asiatics on a quota,
especially the Filipinos who have a temporary quota of fifty
per year under the Philippine Independence Act of 1934-a
special arrangement that ends when the islands become free.
Since 1943 bills have been introduced to extend the same
benefits of admission under a quota and naturalization to
Filipinos, Koreans, and natives of India. On October 10,
1945, the House of Representatives passed a bill which au-
thorizes the admission to the United States of "persons of
races indigenous to India" and makes them eligible for nat-
uralization. This bill follows the pattern set by the Chinese
Act of 1943. Logically, if these bills eventually become law,
the same provisions should be extended to all Asiatics, in-
cluding the Japanese. According to the quota system, each

Asiatic country would be entitled only to the minimum of
100 a year. This is a small price to pay for a tremendous re-
turn in international good will. The removal of this racial
discrimination in our laws, which has been bitterly resented
throughout Asia and has thrown doubt on our sincerity,
would help greatly in creating a stable world order.
Refugees from Nazi Tyranny
The ruthless campaign in Germany and in German-
occupied countries against the Jews and other minorities led
to proposals to aid the victims of Nazism who managed to
escape death or the concentration camps. In March, 1943,
Congress unanimously adopted a resolution condemning "as
unworthy of any nation or regime which pretends to be
civilized" the brutal treatment of millions of helpless men,
women, and children. It declared that those guilty of such
criminal acts shall be punished.
Resolutions were also introduced to establish free ports or
temporary havens for refugees within the United States, and
in 1944, by executive order, about 1,000 refugees who had
fled from their homelands to southern Italy were brought to
the United States and placed in an emergency shelter at Fort
Ontario, near Oswego, New York. They were brought here
outside of the regular immigration procedure, just as prison-
ers of war were brought here, with the understanding that
after the war they would be returned to their homelands when
this should become feasible. Most of them now have no homes
to return to and would like to stay in America and become
citizens. Many have close relatives here, including persons
who have served in our armed forces. If they were to leave
the country they would be eligible to apply for admittance
as permanent residents, and there are sufficient unused quotas
to take care of them. In view of these facts, the President
ordered on December 22, 1945,'that their immigration status
be adjusted so that those who wish to remain here may do so.
Some Restrictions Eased
All other refugees who arrived here came as immigrants
under the quota restrictions or as visitors on temporary visas.
By executive order the visitors' visas granted to refugees were

41 Ut tdo.e slay Mn al conditions make their

Sor rqhulations were adoptrc toincrase the'
of refugees admitted, though several wee proposed.


, 1
C > ,M s ASSCIA wr lac FtLJ A fMias COMmU IN

feal. administrative measures, however, eased the admis-
aiu ithhLbthe quota of some refugee children Unaccompa-
nd bylthiparenta. Thiswas done byauthorizing th use
of a corporate affidavit in place of the uual personal affidavit
Under this arrangement approved child-cing agendes guar.
aiteed that fhe children would not become public cages
and that they would be placed in uitakle after homes and
carefully supervised. About a thmosand children have been
admicted under this plan since 194. In addition, several
thoand British children seeking to escape the dangers of
war wre admitted outside the usual quota restriction on
visit s' vi. The great majority of diese evacuees hav
already returned home.

The total number of refugees admitted to the United States
from 1933, when Hitler rose to power, to 1945, when Ger-
many collapsed, was fewer than 300,000, including persons of
all faiths and nationalities.
Making the Quota Law More Flexible
Throughout the history of immigration to the United
States, this country has frequently offered refuge to Euro-
peans fleeing from persecution and tyranny. Some groups
of American citizens feel that in keeping with our traditions
our quota laws should be made more flexible so as to meet
situations of an urgent nature. The quota system, they say,
is adjustable to conditions in America but not to conditions
in Europe. The desire to emigrate to the United States varies
with conditions in Europe from time to time and from coun-
try to country. In some years only a small percentage of a
quota is filled; in other years the demand is larger than the
quota. Yet, according to the law, any annual quota not used
is lost forever. In no year may the immigration exceed the
Suggestions have been made to meet this problem. One is
to permit the unused quota of any year to be carried over to
later years. Another proposal is to permit a mortgaging of
the quota for several years in advance in order to allow an
immediate increase in the number of immigrants during a
crisis period, such as political oppression, religious persecu-
tion, or natural catastrophe. Neither of these proposals would
alter the over-all number of quota immigrants admitted. That
is, the quota would remain the same, and the total immigra-
tion would not exceed the annual totals now allowed.
Occupation and Skill Possible Factors
Quotas might be based not only on the country of origin
but also on the occupation and skill of the immigrant. The
immigrant whose special skill or occupation is in demand here
would be admitted even though the quota for his country
was already filled, provided that there was still a vacancy in
the total quota for all countries. Aside from the fact that such
a person would readily find employment and fill an economic
need of this country, it is pointed out that the quotas for some

countries have frequently been unfilled. The effect of this
proposal might likewise be to increase the number of immi-
grants actually admitted while keeping the total within the
limit now allowed.
Another result of these proposals would be to modify the
national-origins basis of our present quota system. The de-
sign of the law was to keep a certain balance between the
arrivals from the various countries and sections of Europe.
This very design has been criticized by some people as being
a kind of "racial" discrimination. As a matter of fact, the law
has been only partly successful in this respect. The countries
of Northern and Western Europe have frequently not used
up their quotas, while the countries of Southern and Eastern
Europe have frequently used all their quotas and demanded
more. For example, the quota law leaves the door open, prac-
tically speaking, for those who do not want to emigrate, such
as Englishmen, and allows just a narrow crack for those who
are most anxious to leave Europe, particularly Italians and
Poles. From July 1, 1929, to June 30, 1944, only about half
the anticipated proportion of immigrants from Northern and
Western Europe and nearly twice the proportion from South-
ern and Eastern Europe came to the United States, indicating
that immigration cannot be forced into a chosen pattern.
Other Proposals
Americans who believe that Northern and Western Euro-
peans make more desirable immigrants than do Southern and
Eastern Europeans prefer to keep the law as it is. But those
who believe such discrimination to be unwarranted, unfair,
and a threat to international good will propose various
changes. Some suggest that the quotas of any countries be
redistributed to other countries if they are not used in a par-
ticular year. Others propose that the national-origins plan
be abolished and that a different basis of apportionment be
found. No practical suggestions for accomplishing this have
yet been offered, however, and it is obvious that there must
be some plan of apportioning the total quota among the
various countries.
Another proposal advanced by those in favor of a more
liberal immigration policy is to grant more preferences under

the quota. At present, preference is given to the parents of
citizens, the wives and minor children of alien residents, and
to farmers. Preference might also be granted to persons un-
der a given age or in certain occupations, or in cases where
exclusion would result in special hardship.
Still more liberal is the proposal to extend the nonquota
classes. At present, certain relatives and professional groups
may enter without reference to quota limitations. As the need
arises, nonquota status might be extended to other groups.
Such a policy would present difficulties, but it might be op-
erated for the benefit of both the immigrant and the country.
Quotas for Everyone
Some sentiment exists for further restricting immigration
by applying the quota system to natives of countries of the
New World. It is illogical, some people insist, practically to
close the front door to Europe and leave the side doors to
Canada, Mexico, and South America open. While immigra-
tion from Europe has been restricted, that from nonquota
countries has increased. As may be seen in the chart on
page 11, 5.6 per cent of our population originated in West-
ern Hemisphere countries, yet 26.3 per cent of all immigrants
admitted from 1929 to 1944 came from these countries.
Among those opposed to placing these countries under quota
restriction are the advocates of the good neighbor policy and
certain employers of labor, especially in agriculture.
One thing is certain. The quota system should be thor-
oughly examined, its basic principles determined, and the
law applied to all peoples without discrimination. Moreover,
our immigration laws need to be codified, just as our citizen-
ship laws were in the Nationality Act of 1940.
Problems Created by the War
Peacetime conditions may lead to a revision of our present
immigration policy. The war in Europe uprooted millions
of people and scattered them far and wide. These displaced
people include prisoners of war, forced laborers, war fugitives,
and expelled or deported persons. Many have been and most
of them will be returned home. Many others, however, can-
not or do not want to return because of changes in state boun-

daries, in type of government, in political allegiance, or be-
cause of fear of political, racial, or religious persecution.
Many have been rendered stateless, and others would be un-
able to enjoy the protection of the government. The greater
number of persons primarily affected by this situation are
Germans, Poles, Yugoslavs, and citizens of the former Baltic
states now a part of the Soviet Union. Such people will either
have to remain where they are or find a new home.
Peace Plans and Immigration
Immigration has also assumed new significance in connec-
tion with plans for establishing an enduring peace. Economic
prosperity throughout the world is essential if we are to have
a stable world order. The Atlantic Charter guarantees the
enjoyment by all countries of "access on equal terms to the
trade and to the raw materials of the world which are needed
for their economic prosperity." Does this mean merely a free
movement of goods without tariff restrictions or price dis-
criminations or does it mean a free movement of people as
well? The two are not unrelated. In rehabilitating war-torn
areas we shall have to move hundreds of thousands of families
and provide them with material aid in the form of food, tools,
equipment, and credits. The unequal distribution of the
people of the earth, as measured by the opportunities of get-
ting a living, will continue to create a pressure for migration
and to raise the question of whether nations with large un-
exploited areas are justified in excluding less fortunate peo-
ples. These and other broad problems of immigration can be
solved only through international cooperation. In dealing
with them the United States, which has emerged as the most
powerful nation, must take a leading part.


THIS problem of postwar migration is more than a domestic
question; it is international. Its solution will contribute to
the establishment of a stable world order and a continuing
peace. It can be solved only by international cooperation.
Steps have been taken to establish an international author-
ity to deal with postwar migration problems. The United

Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA)
was created in 1943 to give aid and relief to the victims of war
and to help in the problem of reconstruction. The task of
postwar repatriation abroad has been entrusted to it. Military
authorities and the national governments acting separately
or in cooperation with UNRRA are also helping in repatria-
tion. Proposals have been made for turning over responsibil-
ity for long-range migration policy to the United Nations
Organization, but no definite plan has yet been worked out.
Meanwhile, the only international agency specially con-
cerned with the problem of persons who cannot be repatriated
is the Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees. This com-
mittee was formed as a result of the conference called on the
initiative of the United States Government at Evian, France,
in 1938 to aid the victims of Nazi persecution. In 1943 it was
revised and its scope widened to include "all persons, wher-
ever they may be, who, as a result of events in Europe, have
had to leave, or may have to leave, their countries of residence
because of the danger to their lives or liberties on account
of their race, religion, or political beliefs." Its job is to rescue,
preserve, maintain, and transport such persons, so far as this
may be necessary and practicable. Thirty-six governments
are members of the committee.
The Challenge *
Either this body or the UNO will have the task of finding
new homes and new citizenship for those unfortunate people
who, for one reason or another, are unable to return to their
former homelands. A decision will have to be reached on
such questions as: Where shall people be settled? Shall the
resettlement be a mass movement to relatively uninhabited
areas or by immigration of individuals and family units to
developed countries? What is to be the role of Palestine both
as a country of immigration and as a national home for the
Jewish people? What is the outlook for immigration into
Western countries? What are the opportunities in under-
populated countries like Canada and Australia and those of
Central and South America, and what will their attitude be?
After the first World War the general trend in immigration
countries was in the direction of increasingly restrictive im-

migration policies. Especially was this the case in the United
States, which was the first country to adopt a quota system
and is still one of the very few countries in the Western
Hemisphere to have a quota law. Will there be a similar
trend now that World War II is over? Can the United States
justly urge other nations of the world to accept refugees un-
less it accepts a share of the burden itself? It would be strange,
indeed, especially at this time when the lives and liberties
of millions throughout the world are endangered, if we, with
our proud tradition as a refuge for the oppressed, should re-
fuse to bear our share of a great human problem by closing
our gates.
That the United States will remain true to its traditions
despite the sentiment in some quarters to prohibit or severely
reduce further immigration is promised by the action taken
by President Truman on December 22, 1945, in ordering that
displaced persons and refugees in Europe be admitted to this
country up to the limit permitted by our immigration laws.
It is expected that the majority of these immigrants will be
orphaned children. Said the President: "I consider that com-
mon decency and the fundamental comradeship of all human
beings require us to do what lies within our power to see that
our established immigration quotas are used in order to re-
duce human suffering. I am taking the necessary steps to see
that this is done as quickly as possible." He added: "I feel
that it is essential that we do this ourselves to show our good
faith in requesting other nations to open their doors for this

as. A P4
en19, i $946
From Mqny Lands. 4ewY,4rkd
0 1r fJQ.5$:50
Elin L. We Amerwans.Camb
!univerra ty Press. 1937. $3 fuf
Francis J., and Roucek, Joseph' 1,
erica. New York, Prentice-Hall. 1945.
Felix S, Immigration and National Bre
Jf mxork, League for Industrial Democracy. Ag
dnoen Ground. A quarterly journal published
p men Council for Amencmn Unity., 2 West
Nw York 18, New York ,
Ovie, Maurice R. The Ref uees Are S.W) And
Affairs Pamphlet No. 111. 1945. 10f
,---- World Immigration. New Yor, acq
party. 196. $3.75
Hansen, Marcus L. The Immigrant in Am
Cambridge M, Mass Harvard Univeriry P
McWilliams, Carey. What About Out J -
SPublic Affairs Pamphlet No. 91. 1944.
Monthly Retvew. Published by the De i
migration and Naturalizanton service W
Smith, William C. Americans n the Making. Nei
Appleton-Century. 1989. $8.75
What We're Fighting For. Statements by United
vicemen about Americans of Japanese decren
ton. Department of the Interior, War Relocatid
ity. Free on request
Wittke, Carl. We Who Built America. New York
Hall. 1989. $5.35
Young. Donald. Amernan Mnority Peoples. Nds
Harper and Brothers 1982. $3.75

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