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Coolidge Favors Further Immigration Restriction

December 4, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The proposed appeal by Chairman Johnson of the House Immigration Committee further restricting immigration to 2 per cent, of the nationals of any country resident in the United States in 1890 was not formally introduced because of the failure of Congress to organize.

A canvass made by the Congressional Digest, an organ claiming to be neither official nor controlled by any party, interest, class, or sect, in its November issue reveals “the President is sympathetic with that in Congress which will oppose any lessening of the present restrictions on immigration and, it is understood, will be willing to see further restrictions imposed.”

The Chamber of Commerce is quoted by the Congressional Digest as believing in restriction of immigration and in the principle of selection as a controlling factor in immigration legislation.

“Because of lack of flexibility, the present Immigration Law is not adaptable to changing conditions. The Chamber therefore advocates that, to the present three per cent quota, there should be added an additional two per cent quota solely upon a selective basis, to provide a flexibility without affecting our social standards. This two per cent is a maximum, only such part (if any) of which should be used as is necessary to meet the recognized economic and social needs of the nation”.

The National Association of Manufacturers is opposed equally to unrestricted immigration and to its complete prohibition under the guise of restriction. It favors a constructive policy of selective immigration through which, by flexible administrative machinery a practical means may be provided of relating the quality and amount of immigration to the demonstrated economic needs of the United States or its curtailment and restriction in the presence of satisfied needs.

The American Farm Bureau Federation urges selective immigration as at present but the passports should be vised at the ports of embarkation and the quota should be based upon the number of foreign born in this country as reported in 1890 instead of 1910. This would lessen materially the number of immigrants that would come in but should tend to open the doors to a better class.

The National Grange asks for the enactment of an immigration restriction law based on the principles that immigration privilege should be granted only to persons who declare their intention of becoming American citizens.

The American Federation of Labor in a statement by Samuel Gompers, President, November 19, 1923, demanded “an immigration law that will protect the wage earners of this country as well as the people”.

No opinion from the American Legion upon immigration is quoted, but the Veterans of Foreign Wars are for the enactment of strict naturalization and immigration laws.

The Chamber of Commerce in a statement by Julius Barnes, President, restates its opinion upon immigration in the forthcoming number of the Nation’s Business:

“It is clear that for both economic and social reasons America believes that it can no longer throw wide its doors to all who have the means to cross the frontier. A policy of control and restriction is clearly one which the national judgment approves. But from the standpoint of traditional sentiment welcoming the worthy and ambitious seeking a new and wider opportunity, and from the standpoint of a balanced and healthy economic life, there should be frankly established a policy of selection.

“A policy of selection which took due notice of individual health, and character and took into consideration well-informed conviction of the changing present needs of various types of American industry, and fitted the permitted entrance of workers to the needs of undermanned industries, would be both intelligent and fair It would be national team work to set up such revision of our immigration control as would establish this function of Government as an intelligent aid to the needs of industry, as well as a protection of our citizenship.”

In the December AMERICAN FEDERATIONIST just issued, Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor, makes a characteristic demand for further restriction of immigration, setts forth the official attitude of the Federation. “One of the foremost questions” his article states, “that must come before the new Congress and that must be settled with dispatch is the question of immigration. The present law expires on June 30 and to throw wide open the ports of entry to untold myriads of immigrants because of the absence of law is unthinkable. Only the few most thoughtless and greedy want that. The great body of intelligent employers at least join with labor in the demand for stringent restriction of immigration.

“The proposal that there be some method of selection of immigrants before they leave foreign shores is constructive and would find labor’s support, if ways can be found by which foreign governments will agree to the setting up of the necessary machinery. Su### a plan would do away with much needless suffering and inconvenience It would be in the diredtion of wisdom and humanity”.

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