Immigrants to U.S. Will Be Given Identification Cards Beginning July 1
Menu JTA Search

Immigrants to U.S. Will Be Given Identification Cards Beginning July 1

Download PDF for this date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Beginning July 1, 1928, immigrants entering at all points will be provided with identification cards, bearing their name, full description and photograph. The cards will be issued by the American Consuls at the port of departure and when the immigrant is admitted, the identification card will be completed by the signature of the admitting officer. This policy will apply only to immigrants, but not to those who enter the United Stated for the purpose of study.

An order introducing the new system, prepared by George J. Harris, Acting Commissioner of Immigration, was approved by W. W. Husband, Acting Secretary of Labor.

A similar system of identification cards has been in use with regard to the Chinese immigrants to this country. Another step in this direction was the order promulgated on April 10, 1927, providing for the endorsement of the passports of aliens admitted to the United States as non-immigrants.

“Under the plan now adopted,” Mr. Harris said in a statement explaining the order, “if the immigrant is admitted the card will be completed by the signature of the admitting officer and handed to the alien who will be advised to present it whenever called upon so to do by an immigration officer. It will prove exceedingly valuable to the alien who later seeks naturalization. And it will greatly simplify the work of immigration officers charged with the duty of investigating and apprehending aliens unlawfully in the United States liable to deportation.”

At the Labor Department, it was explained to the representative of the Jewish Daily Bulletin that the new system is not the registration of aliens as generally understood from the legislation which has been proposed in Congress, but applies only to the registration of aliens at ports at the time of entry and really does not go beyond the record made or the procedure taken heretofore, except in one respect and that is that identification cards will be issued to aliens as the final step in their admission. These cards will carry a record of the status under which each alien is admitted, so that he himself will know his exact status and will be able to prove under what status he was admitted in case of any trouble.

Inasmuch as this card system will apply only to newly arrived aliens there is no intention whatever to request aliens previously admitted and already residing in the United States either to obtain or show a card. The procedure is in tended to apply only to newly arrived aliens before they leave the port of entry. No alien already in the United States will be required to produce a card.

When it was pointed out by the correspondent that aliens admitted into the United States before this new card system was enacted, may meet with difficulties when they are mistaken for recent arrivals and required to show cards, the Labor Department officials discounted the suggestion because an alien who had been in this country for some time is distinguishable from a more recent arrival.

It was also stated that no effort will be made to compel aliens to produce cards, only in the event that an alien is already under suspicion will he be asked to show his card. No system of espionage is contemplated, it was stated, and the entire new procedure has been inaugurated only to maintain a check against aliens who enter illegally. For example, heretofore very little record was kept by immigration inspectors at the land borders. Hereafter all aliens entering at land borders, even if Canadian or Mexican citizens, will be given cards and the system requires issuance of cards at all immigration points, whether land or sea.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund