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Jews Protest Immigration Restrictions

January 4, 1924
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Louis Marshall, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Gedalia Bublic, William Edlin and Jacob Fishman appeared before the House Immigration Committee yesterday and severely protested against the new Johnson immigration bill which is now being considered.

Louis Marshall declared that immigration restriction is the idealogy of the Ku Klux Klan because the Klan wants only white, Protestant and Anglo-Saxon immigrants to come to this country, and the proposition to base the immigration quotas on the 1890 census coincides with the Klan principles. The new law would reduce by nine-tenths the immigration from southern and Eastern Europe, Mr. Marshall said. He also protested against the proposition to fingerprint immigrants and proposed that immigration certificates should be used instead. He reminded the Committee of the great achievements of immigrants, and pointed especially to Marconi and Steinmetz. When asked what he thought of selective immigration Mr. Marshall replied that the present law is already selective because it admits only persons physically, morally and mentally fit. He opposed the examination of immigrants abroad, he said, because it would create a number of American czars and it would be dangerous to hand the decision about the admission of immigrants to officials abroad.

After Mr. Marshall Mr. Joseph Kanterowitz spoke in behalf of the Independent Order Bnai Brith.

Jacoh Fishman emphasized the injustice that will be done to immigrants from certain countries, and especially the Jews, if Mr. Johnson’s immigration proposal is accepted. Dr. Wise ridiculed the contention that the Nordic race is superior, saying that the Bible did not originate with the Nordic race but with an Asiatic race, and that the Anglo-Saxon laws are based on the Jewish Bible. At this, Chairman Johnson declared that neither he nor any other member of the Immigration Committee was race prejudiced. Dr. Wise replied he had no doubt but that bill tended to discriminate against certain races. William Edlin, speaking on behalf of the Association of Foreign Language Newspapers, said the bill was against true democracy and the spirit of the founders of the United States. He said that the members of the Committee should come to New York and see for themselves the achievements of immigrants who built the biggest city the world. Gedalia Biblic was the last speaker. He declared the bill had anti-Semitic tendencies which aimed at Jewish immigrants from Poland, Russia, Galicia and Roumania. He quoted excerpts of the annual report of Secretary of Labor Davis and Commissioner General Husband which proved his contention.

At Immigration Committee hearings which were continue this morning at 10 o’clock, no Jewish witnesses were heard up to adjournment at 1 o’clock. John L. Bernstein of the Hias was schedules to testify this afternoon when important testimony about charges against the Hias are expected.

Caroli Gigliotti, editor of a Chicago Italian weekly, created a sensation as the first speaker this morning, when, instead of speaking for immigration as an Italian journalist would ordinarily be expected to, he launched a tirade against his own people posing as 100% Americans, advocating further restrictions on immigration. He said many Italians are enemies of this country and many editorials in the Italian newspapers were traitorous to America. He said his weekly is a patriotic publication with 25,000 readers, representing the better element of Italian residents.

Congressmen Sabath and Dicksttein both cross-examined Gigliotti. His answers were very evasive and he failed to produce the alleged traitorous editorials when they were demanded, saying he would file clippings later. His talk was very disconnected throughout, and he did not make much of an impression. Nevertheless his statements were undoubtedly very injurious and will no doubt be used with effect by enemies of immigration. Gigliotti advocated a quota system exclusively restricted to the number of aliens who served in the American army in the recent war.

The second witness was another Italian, who made a far different speech appealing for a liberal immigration law. He was Judge Salvatore Cotillo of the Supreme Court of New York City. He was very impressive, recalling the Italian contribution to this Government. America, he said, can only demonstrate its gratitude for this Italian patriotism by striking out the insult of the 1890 census in the Johnson Bill which is being at present considered?

Cotillo made a profound impression, concluding by emphatically urging that no new legislation should be enacted until a thorough investigation is made and that the new law should not be rushed.

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