New York (Aug. 24)
At various points in our history, says the final report on lawlessness in the United States presented by the Wikersham Commission appointed by President Hoover, the impulse to raise the cry “America for the Americans” became especially acute and has had important political and economic consequences. But in the historical perspective of this impulse it is interesting to note that each time the outcry is raised the Americans for whom America is to be reserved include the descendants of a former generation of immigrants against whom the same outcry was raised earlier as a basis for discrimination or exclusion.
The Commission finds that the foreign-born in proportion to their numbers commit “considerably fewer crimes than the native-born”. In crimes of violence the foreignborn come nearer to equalling the volume of crime committed by the native-born, but “in crimes in general the native-born greatly exceed the foreign-born”.
The fallacy about the foreign-born, the report says, has arisen from the tendency to find an easy scapegoat, for “it is easier to charge our crime record against immigrants than against an inefficient and corrupt system of police and an outworn system of criminal justice”.
The Commission is inclined to conclude that the future immigration policy of the country ought to divest itself of prejudices of this kind and base itself on general economic and social considerations.