Yesterday, the great immigration day in the House of Representatives, was marked by a fistic encounter which almost took place between Congressman Watkins of Oregon and congressman Gallivan of Massachusetts, both Democrats. Watkins, who is in favor of the Johnson Bill, had tried unsuccessfully to interrupt Congressman Hill of Baltimore who spoke against the bill, and had taken his seat, when Gallivan, who had previously also spoken against the bill, made some undertone remark. Watkins, apparently greatly angered by this remark, made a pass with his fist at Gallivan. Congressman Sabath who was sitting near by, with the aid of another Congressman, immediately seized Watkins and prevented further trouble between the two men.
With a special night session lasting until eleven o’clock, discussion on the bill was very heated. Among the speeches made against the bill was a vigorous one by Congressmen Meyer Jacobstein of Rochester, New York. With figures and statistics to prove his points, he showed that it was not true that there is a disproportionately large foreign population in the United States now. The ratio in Lincoln’s day was thirteen foreigners to every one hundred natives, and this proportion has not been increased todate. Answering the charge that recent immigration concentrates in cities he again proved that in Civil War times 30% of the population lived in cities, while now onlt 24% do.
Another important speech was made by Congressman Perlman who accused the restrictionists of inserting the exemption of close relatives and other humanitarian features in the Johnson Bill only for the purpose of enabling an easier passage of the 1890 census feature. He openly expressed the fear that as soon as the Johnson Bill is passed in the House, the humanitarian features will be dropped in the expected negotiations with the Senate for an agreement on the two different hills pending in both the Senate and the House.
Among the other Congressmen who spoke against the bill were Congressman Celler of Brooklyn who submitted much definite and concrete information to refute the arguments of the restrictionists, Congressman LaGuardia who defended the immigrant and attacked discrimination, and Congressman Gallivan, Tague and Treadway of Massachusetts.
Congressman Rosenbloom of West Virgini, a Jew, made a twenty minute speech full of patriotic generalities of what a wonderful country America is, and how loyal he was to the United States, but failed to make clear during his speech his specific attitude toward the bill, although the general impression was that he favored it. Asked by newspapermen afterwards what his position was, he declared that he intends to vote for the bill, and that in his opinion the Jews are making a great mistake in opposing it because their patriotism will be questioned.
Another argument offered in support of the bill on the floor was that the New York Times, a newspaper owned by Adolph Ochs, one of the most prominent Jews in America, was in favor of a restricted immigration.
In the Senate, very little progress has been made. Senator Shortridge of California again monopolized all immigration discussion by continuing his speech against Japanese immigration which he started the day before. The discussion in the Senate will probably be continued today.
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.