(Communication to the Editor)
I have read with great interest the article in your paper of July 22, 1926, particularly under the heading of “Senator Reed changes view of Immigation Relief Measure.”
As a member of the Committee of Immigration in the House, I was well posted on the problems on immigration, and have followed the record of every member of that Committee in both branches of Congress which dealt with this subject.
From the Senator’s statement it would appear that his attitude towards the exemption of wives and children, mothers and fathers of declarants, particularly the first two, has become favorable. Why has he removed the heavy stone which he always carried against the uniting of families, at this time? Can it be said that he did not know the immigration situation and has only now discovered that it is full of hardships? Can it be said that he was ignorant of the conditions of these people? Can it be said that only recently was he enlightened of the existing situation and the cry of the American people to unite the families in order to keep the home together? I doubt that very much.
Before we passed the Act of 1924, I made the request that we consider and understand the immigration problem more clearly and stated that by the passage of the law we were splitting up honest to goodness homes as a result of keeping wives and minor children of American residents thousands of miles away. We were separating from them their fathers and mothers who in their late years of life should be entitled to the comfort of their children, and should not be kept away from them thousands of miles.
The distinguished Senator from Pennsylvania completely opposed any such plan. I attempted in the Act of 1924 to take care of Veterans who were abroad and that was also opposed by the distinguished Senator from Pennsylvania the same year. It was only when the 69th Congress convened that the distinguished Senator for the first time, by the pressure of the American people through the public press, saw the injustice of preventing them from returning. I pointed out that injustice in the year 1924 but Pennsylvania refused to listen then.
After the Bill was passed in the House and went to the Senate there was a conference on certain questions pertaining to the Bill. With all the restrictions in the House, the Bill was a little more liberal than the Senate and the Senator made sure that those little acts of kindness were removed and provided for a National Origin Scheme instead, which I opposed on the floor of the House on May 9, 1924, in a speech wherein I pointed out that the National Origin proposition which goes into effect in 1927 is nothing but a scheme and purely a discriminatory conclusion of figures. Nevertheless, the Senator from Pennsylvania supported and urged that amendment in conference.
He has opposed the uniting of families in the last session of Congress and would not permit the extra 35,000 addition of quotas for that purpose. Can we under these circumstances believe that he proposes to remove the curtain which covered him these years, closing his ears to the cry of the American people and the American citizens who desire to bring in their mothers and fathers?
I must respectfully take issue with my distinguished colleague from Pennsylvania and weigh his words very carefully. Were these utterances made an order to gain the sympathy of the voters of Pennsylvania in the approaching election? It would seem that way to me and I propose to let nothing go by hut to let the American people know the attitude of such a man. If necessary, I am prepared to go into his State and advise the good American people of Pennsylvania of the distinguished Senator’s service and advise them of the untold hardships suffered by the American residents and citizens as a result of his policy on Immigration. If he did advise them, I am sure there are enough red-blooded Americans who would make him stand up and be counted amongst those who are willing to consider that that which God united shall not be put asunder by law.
This not only applies to the Senator of Pennsylvania but to every other Senator or member of the House.
The great trouble in Congress is that some members take a certain stand on a problem without consulting their constituents but follow only their vanity and feeling.
I believe that has been the case insofar as my good colleague from Pennsylvania is concerned. It is not my purpose to open the doors and allow hundreds of immigrants to come into this country. I believe in an intelligent immigration policy and believe we should keep America for Americans. The uniting of families and relieving their difficulties and hardships, in my opinion, is relieving them of thoughts of the foreign countries which they have abandoned and also of the thoughts that their wives and children are suffering because of the present quota law for which the distinguished Senator from Pennsylvania is responsible.
Yours very sincerely, SAMUEL DICKSTEIN.
House of Representatives Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, Washington, D. C. July 24, 1926.