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Senate Sub-comittee Rejects Exemption of Close Relatives


The 1890 census as a basis for the immigration quota is rejected and the 1910 census retained in the present draft of the immigration bill to be submitted on Thursday to the Senate Immigration Committee by the Senate Sub-Committee. At the same time, however, the quota percentage is reduced to two percent and the provision exempting close relatives omitted. The rejection of the latter, highly important point came as a surprise because it was believed in well-informed quarters that as a result of the recent appeals at the Senate Immigration hearings, the Sub-Committee, headed by Senator Reed of Pennsylvani, would, at least, liberalize the immigration measure to the extent of adopting a provision for the exemption of close relatives. The hope of obtaining this concession now seems very unlikely of realization, as it is generally understood that the full Committee will adopt the Sub-Committee’s report, and forthwith report the Committee bill to the Senate only. The passage of an amendment from the floor when the bill comes up for vote in the Senate, apparently, cannot make inclusion of relative exemption possible, as far as the Senate is concerned.

One important change in the bill, as now worked out by the Sub-Committee is an ingenious scheme to effect physical examination on the other side, and yet avoid the diplomatic objections that have been raised against the invasion of foreign sovereignty. The bill, in its present draft, accomplishes this by imposing upon steamship companies a fine of one thousand dollars plus the passage money for every immigrant brought to the United States afflicted with certain physical ailments, among which are included insanity, idiocy, tuberculosis, or loathsome or dangerous diseases, if it shall appear to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Labor that the immigrant was afflicted with any such disease or disability at the time of foreign embarkation, and that the existence of the same might have been detected by means of a competent medical examination. This will have the effect of forcing the steamship companies to make examinations abroad, and, thereby, assume the task which the American Government would have difficulty in accomplishing because of diplomatic objections. Of the many effects of this provision, one will certainly be an increase in steamship fares for immigrants because of the expense of the work.

Another change in the bill is a minor one increasing the life of an immigration certificate from four to six months. If, however, at the end of this period, the immigrant has not started on his voyage, the certificate is invalid.

Another provision, relatively unimportant as far as numbers are concerned, provides against conflict with treaty obligations by exempting

all immigrants who are entitled to enter by treaty.

The bill drops from the exempted class, ministers of religion, which would include Rabbis. Under the present draft of the bill, they must come in under the quota. The minimum quota of any nationality has been reduced from two hundred to one hundred.

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