The second day of the immigration discussion in the House was as heated and controversial as the first. The restrictionists and the opponents of the Johnson Bill stated and restated their arguments; but one concrete substitute measure was proposed by Congressman Meyer Jacobstein of Rochester. He urged that instead of the 1890 census being used as a basis for apportioning the quota, the totals of the last four census years beginning with 1890 and ending 1920 be added together and divided by four, giving the average number of immigrants of different nationalities in America during the entire period, and that this average be used as a basis for period the percentage for each nationality. This would make the quota plan fair to all nationalities, he declared. Circles friendly toward immigration consider this the most satisfactory substitute plan yet proposed, and one that would be just to the Jewish and other East and South European immigrants.
The great power given to Consuls abroad, in the issuance of immigration certificates, a prominent feature of the Johnson Bill, came in for a strong arraignment by Congressman Perlman. He stated his feat that this power would be used to discriminate against certain classes and individuals. He also called attention to the reports of bribery of American Consuls abroad, citing in particular the case of a United States Consul, in one South American country, whoc is now being investigated on charges of bribery.
The Jewish people were prominently mentioned in the discussions by Congressmen opposing the measure. Congressman Kuntz of Illinois charged that there was more national hatred among the members of Congress than amongst the people of the country. Congressman Mooney of Ohio paid a stirring tribute to the Jews saying that the survival of the Jew, in spite of the persecution and hatred that have been heaped upon him, proves his greater fitness. Congressman Tague of Massachusetts referred to the Jewish people as determined, aggressive and thrifty, and said that only those, who by shiftless methods cannot attain success, lift their voices in condemnation of “this virulent race of people.”
Congressman LaGuardia of New York, quoting from numerous Ku Klux Klan papers, showed that the Johnson Bill is especially pleasing to
that organization. He spoke of the economic and intellectual contributions of the Jew, as well as his loyalty, stating: “His children know no other land, owe allegiance to no other flag, love no other country but the United States.”
Congressman Oliver of the Bronx praised the Jew as a neighbor and friend.
Those in favor of the bill, however, rarely made reference to the Jews, but generally denied the charge that the 1890 census was discriminatory. Their explanation for the selection of the 1890 census, favoring the Northern races, was that these races had built up the country and had done the most to develop its agriculture.
Inasmuch as about an equal number of Congressman defended each side of the question, if the spokesmen are at all representative of the general sentiment in the House, the feeling on the 1890 census is about equally divided.
The session ended about eleven o’clock Tuesday night with a ten-minute speech by Congressman Sabath, who rebutted and corrected various statements made by the restrictionists. When session on the bill is resumed on Friday, only a brief and restricted discussion will be in order. It is expected that a vote will be taken Saturday.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.