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Minority Assails Immigration Report

February 16, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

T(###) type of immigrant who hazards his life, plumbing the depths of the earth to dig the coal, who lays the subways and stretches o(###) the railroad tracks – he who in grime and sweat swelters at the hot furnaces of the mammoth steel mills (###) who sits with bent back plying his needle and thread all of these are discriminate against by the new 1890 clause in the House Immigration Bill.

This was the charge made by Congressmen Isaac Siegel, Adolph J. Sabath and Robert S. Maloney of the Immigration Committee in their minority report made public today.

The 1890 clause would substitute the year 1890 as a basic for the immigration quota instead of 1910 as at present.

“It is a plain discrimination” says the report, “against the immigration from Austria, Czecho-Slovakia, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Poland and Roumania. It is too apparent that it is intended not to reduce immigration from Great Britain and Germany, but to completely stop almost all immigration from all other countries”.

“It cannot be denied” continues the report, “that most of the hard, common and manual work performed in the United States has been done during the past thirty or forty years by the immigrants coming from those countries designated as southern and south-eastern Europe. Such work for the past century has always been performed by the then coming immigrants.”

The substitution of the 2 per cent quota instead of the present three per cent quota is also vigorously attacked in the minority report. The three per cent quota, it points out, was “temporarily enacted for the sole purpose of safeguarding the United States against an anticipated influx of immigrants after the war. Since the enactment of the measure, it was shown that many of the fears which were expressed were unfounded, in fact, several of the countries have not even made full use of their quotas”.

The number of immigrants leaving the country is quite considerable, the report points out, the actual excess of people coming in over those leaving being only small. “The three per cent quota law would have permitted the coming of over 355,000 immigrants, but approximately, in the last year, only 309,554 arrived”.

“We feel that the adoption of the 1890 Census is unjustifiable not only for the reason that it is discriminatory, but because it will prevent the admission of from 60,000 to 75,000 laborers, who will shortly be greatly needed. We are not interested in supplying, what some may term ‘cheap labor’ but we are deeply concerned in the welfare of the United States, whose prosperity depends upon having at least a sufficient amount of unskilled labor. This can be obtained in a measure by using the population figures of 1920 or 1910 as a basis in lieu of the 1890 census as the majority has recommended. We doubt whether our northern and eastern unskilled labor requirements can be drawn from the south without at the same time injuring the growing southern industries. Surely under the stringent provisions of the bill, no temporary common labor can be obtained from Mexico as was done in 1918 and 1919 to relieve the shortage of labor in the cotton and sugar beet fields in the southern and south-western states.”

Attention is also called to the fact that the majority report makes no provision for the admission of domestics, of whom it is declared, there is a great need.

The majority report was also presented today. The details of this report, providing for the substitution of the year 1890 as the basis for the quotas and the relative clause which permits all the near relatives of American citizens to enter, have been known for some time. The majority bill also substitutes a two per cent quota instead of the present three per cent. Besides, relatives, practicing clergymen are also exempted from the quota restrictions.

According to gossip at the Capitol, the Majority Bill has been favorably received by House members and may be expected to pass the House this session, but Senate leaders say it has no chance of being considered in the Senate.

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