Amendment of the Naturalization Law Urged by Labor Department

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Amendment of the naturalization laws where by certificates of citizenship will be issued to the children of fathers who become naturalized during the minority of the children, is among a number of proposed changes in the naturalization laws suggested by Arthur E. Cook, secretary to the Secretary of Labor, in an address made public by the Department of Labor here.

“For years citizenship has been conferred upon a large number of foreign born persons without any action on their part whatsoever,” Mr. Cook stated in his address.

They have derived their citizenship through their fathers who were naturalized or through their husbands at the time that the citizenship of the wife followed that of her husband.

No certificates of citizenship have ever been issued or authorized by Congress to these citizens. They find themselves in great difficulties because of their inability to prove their claim to American citizenship. Projected legislation provides that such individuals may apply for certificates of citizenship and, after proving their claim, to receive certificates attesting to their American citizenship.

In discussing various other desirable amendments to the naturalization laws, Mr. Cook said that Secretary Davis has repeatedly recommended that this law be amended so that those who entered the United States prior to the quota law of 1924 may have the record of entry into the United States amended or created so as to permit the issuance of the necessary certificate from such record.

As the result of repeated recommendations, agitation, and number of bills presented to Congress, the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization reported a bill to the House of Representatives to enable those deserving aliens to perfect the record of their entry so that they may complete their applications for citizenship. It is hoped that this bill will pass both Houses of Congress at the coming session.

Another provision of the law may be referred to by way of illustration more readily than otherwise. We will consider three immigrants who landed in New York City something over five years ago and took out their first papers shortly thereafter. In two years two of them moved to Buffalo and at the end of another two years one of them moved to Jersey City. They recently applied for naturalization.

The one who continued to live in New York City has been made a citizen of the United States. The one who went to Buffalo and remained cannot secure his citizenship although he is wholly desirable as a citizen. He cannot find two citizens of the United States who have known him for the full five years he has resided in this country because of his removal from New York City to Buffalo. The law will not permit him to use two witnesses for the New York City residence and two for the Buffalo residence.

The one who went to Jersey City has secured his citizenship, for the law permits him to prove by depositions his residence outside of New Jersey. While the law does not permit the resident of Buffalo to prove his residence in the State in any other way than by two personal witnesses who have known him for five years, it will permit his brother who went to Jersey City to prove residence in New York City by one set of depositions and his residence in Buffalo by another set of depositions. This wholly unnecessary rigidity in the law has also been recommended repeatedly by Secretary Davis for modification.

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