New York (May. 28)
The signature of President Coolidge to the anti-immigration bill has put an end to the hopes of thousands of Jewish refugees of finding a haven in the United States. The question of immigration, which has been acute for the last twenty-five years, has now become the b burning issue in Jewish life.
A representative of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has interviewed Dr. Isaac A. Hourwich, the leading authority on Jewish immigration, and author of “Immigration and Labor” on the subject. He stated the following:
“With the passage of the immigration restriction bill, the United States ceases to be a refuge for the Jews seeking to escape from persecution in the countries of the Old World. Contrary to expectation, the establishment of republican governments in Europe has not done away with race discrimination against the Jews. The minority rights conceded to the Jews in the various treaties by which new governments were set up have remained mere “scraps of paper.” Anti-Semitism today is more rampant and more brutal than ever before the World War. The only country free from official anti-Semitism is Russia, but there the legal restrictions upon private business enterprise in general have wrought ruin to the Jewish people, two thirds of which, before the war, were tradesmen. The need of emigration for the Jew today is more urgent than ever before, but the question is: Where shall he go?
Palestine would be the ideal answer. But to-day Palestine can accomodate only a very small fraction of the prospective Jewish emigration, measured even by pre-war statistics.
There remain only the Latin-American countries which are still awaiting industrial development, and have no class of industrial wage-earners numerous enough to succeed in establishing a job-trust by anti-immigration legislation.
The closing of the gates of the United States to immigration must result in emigration of American capital to other countries. According to statistics published by the Department of Commerce, there has been such a movement of capital in recent years.
Prior to the war, it was estimated that $6,000,000,000 of European capital was invested in the United States. It is understood that since 1914 most, if not all, of these investments were taken over by American capitalists, and in addition to it, over $3,000,000,000 of American capital is invested in the industries of Latin America. This process must go on.
Prior to the war, the population of the United States grew at the rate of over 20% from one census to another. With the practical cessation of immigration since 1914 the increase from the census of 1910 to that of 1920 was less than 15%. It may be expected that, in the future, with the cessation of immigration, the rate of increase will be still less. American industry, however, will continue to yield profits for reinvestment at the old rate, which called for a much larger increase of the working force. It is obvious that the surplus of available capital will have to seek investment outside of the United States.
The movement of capital will create opportunities for employment of immigrant labor in the Latin American countries.
It has recently been reported that there is a change of sentiment toward immigration in Canada, which has heretofore followed the ways of the United States. Canada’s industries are attracting American capital but the population of Canada is small, and the cessation of European immigration to the United States have been drawing upon Canadian labor. It is quite likely that the Canadian government may reopen the doors of Canada to European immigration.
At present, however, it would be desirable that the Jewish organizations in this country should make a concerted effort to ascertain, in a thorough manner, the opportunities for immigrants from Poland. Lithuania, Roumania and Russia in the Latin-American countries where there are no legal bars in the path of the refugees.