New York (Dec. 17)
“Our idea of how not to handle immigrants is found in Secretary Davis’ latest article in the Saturday Evening Post (December 8th),” declares the League for Industrial Democracy in an editorial by Norman Thomas, “After these newcomers to our shores have properly admired the Statue of Liberty and got through the immigrant tests, our worthy Secretary would have them enrolled and given an identification card which we presume, though Secretary Davis does not mention it, would contain the immigrant’s thumb-print. The immigrant who received this priceless certificate of freedom would be obliged to report annually to the Federal authorities.
“The Secretary advocates this old-fashioned Russian or Prussian device on the pious ground that the card would establish the immigrant’s right to be in this country and receive the benefits of our educational system. Just how the possession of an identification card would do more for the alien than is being done is not explained. The Secretary’s real reason follows: “Under this system we would have no difficulty weeding out the illicit immigrant, the smuggled Oriental and the apostle of destruction”…
“If some pretext can be found to issue identification cards to unnaturalized workers, it won’t be long before some other pretext will be sought for to register the rest of us so that bosses and their obliging government agents can keep track of us more easily.
“We do not believe that Congress will give Mr. Davis the power he asks. That he asks it, ought to be a reason for liberty-loving Americans to demand the Secretary’s resignation. It may be necessary for economic reasons to limit the immigration of foreign-born workers. There is no reason at all for treating them as criminals or suspects.
“The time to scotch this snake of espionage is while it is little.”