Washington (Feb. 11)
The Immigration Committee of the House of Representatives filed its Majority Report on the Johnson Bill Saturday. The report was signed by 14 members of the Committee, and accompanying it was a separate statement from Representative Bacon of New York. Congressmen Sabath and Dickstein will file a Minority Report early this week. The Jewish Congressmen departed from the regular custom of filing a Minority Report along with the Committee’s Majority Report, hoping that by so doing they would gain for their Report additional emphasis.
Representative Bacon’s statement records him as agreeing with the Majority Report in all provisions of the Johnson Bill except that section which refers to the 2% quota based on the census of 1890. Representative Bacon proposed instead to give the President authority to suspend immigration whenever unemployment or industrial depression warrants such a measure.
The Majority Report states that despite the unfavorable condition of international exchange and prevailing high steamship rates, between 1,500,000 and 2,000,000 immigrants would have entered the country during the past two years had there been no restriction immigration measure such as the 3% law which is now in effect.
The report pictures an alleged alarming condition which requires an even greater restriction than at present. It especially warns of the necessity of passing a new law to replace the present law if the 3% measure is allowed to lapse.
The report predicts the largest movement of immigration in the history of the world, beginning July 1st, 1924, if the 3% law is allowed to expire and if no other legislature is enacted, stating that the exclusion clause of the act of February 5,1917, will be powerless to stay the tide.
“Such a situation should not be permitted to arise”, the report reads. “The country demands the restriction of immigration. The public demand is not only for restriction but for more rigid and more effective restriction than that imposed at present. The decision to base the 2% quota on the census of 1890 was reached after a long and careful consideration of every element of the immigration problem, “the Committee reports. The change in the
census basis is made to slow the stream of those types of immigrants not easily assimilated which crowd in the larger cities with a slight knowledge of America and American institutions. There has grown to be a great indigestive mass of aliens with alien sympathies and alien purposes. It is a menace to the social, political and economic life of the country. It creates alarm and apprehension and breeds a racial hatred which should not exist and will not exist when the balance is restored.”
The report quotes President Coolidge’s last message to Congress when he said that a continued policy of restrictive immigration is necessary. It also quotes the late President Harding’s message to the previous Congress, recommending legislation for the registration of aliens in order to show Mr. Harding’s recognition of the danger of non-assimilation.
The report states that the original quota law was passed in 1921 to meet an emergency and that this emergency is as great now as it was then. The report states that 39,730 Jews were admitted to the country during the period from July to November, 1923. Provisions of the Johnson Bill were summed up in the report as follows: Preserves the basic immigration law of 1917; retains the principle of numerical limitation as inaugurated in the act of May 19, 1921; changes the quota base from the census of 1910 to the census of 1890; reduces the percentage from 3 to 2, plus a small base quota for each country; counts certificates, not persons; provides for preliminary examination overseas; exempts wives, children under 18 and parents over 55 of American citizens; reduces classes of exempted aliens; places burden of proof on alien rather than on the United States; Meets the situation with reference to admission of persons ineligible to citizenship; carries numerous sections to lessen hardships of immigrants.
The dangerous political possibilies of the Bill have been related to President Coolidge, according to one report. It is understood that the floor leader Longworth and Representative Shell, Chairman of the Rules Committee, informed the President Saturday, the statement is made, that the passage of the Johnson Bill might lose the electoral vote of New York State and cause the defeat of the Republican State ticket. The Steering Committee, it was said Saturday, would renew consideration of the Johnson Bill and strong pressure will be brought to bear to displace it with the Bacon proposal.
“The bill”, said Mr. Dickstein, who declined to sign the committee report, “puts a premium upon one type of immigrant and a discount on every other type. It creates among the Hungarians, the Czecho-Slovaks, Serbians and Jews of Eastern Europe the sense of inferiority which is instinctively felt when a man is proscribed against as if he will not be helpful and serviceable to America.
“Our country’s policy should be, and has been since its orgin, to open its gate without fear or favor to all men who may become good Americans, good citizens, and men calculated to enhance the wealth and the moral and spiritual resources of the United States.”