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Frisco Committee Deals with Chinese Complaints Against Immigrant Laws

August 30, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

A report of a committee of San Francisco business men upholding the fairness of the immigration law enforcement at that port and stating that the application of the immigration laws to Chinese there is less drastic than the restrictive immigration laws applying to natives of European countries, was made public here by the Department of Labor.

The committee which made the investigation was not connected with the government in any way, the department announced. It was created by the Commonwealth Club of California, for the purpose of investigating charges that San Francisco was suffering in its trade relation with China as a result of the drastic immigration enforcement measures there. Robe Carl White, Acting Secretary of Labor, said he regarded the report as of great importance in view of the fact that it was by an outside organization, in no way related to the government, on the efficiency to the government’s immigration system.

The charges made against the immigration officers were made, the report stated, by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce at San Francisco. The committee said the Chinese of San Francisco are “known as reasonable people” and that they will find the Chinese are not unfairly treated as compared with Europeans and others. The report was furnished to the immigration officers at San Francisco.

The committee inquiring into the situation declared the following with regard to the complaint of the Chinese.

“The Chinese are given an opportunity, first, to present witnesses and evidence to show their admissibility, and that in the event of failure to do so, they are afforded a second opportunity to supplement the first presentation of their case by submitting new and additional evidence. What is, in fact, complained of, is that they are not permitted to make a third showing as to admissibility. It must be apparent that if a practice were made of continued reopenings, this would open the doors to fraud and bolstering up of discrepancies in statements and would thus nullify the whole inquiry.

“An occasional case may warrant reopening on the showing made, but it is of course necessary that all reopenings be scrutinized with caution to prevent abuses, and in order that the routine cases may not be unduly delayed in handling by diverting the inspectors from their day to day work.

“In the case of merchants of the class who enter the United States for the purpose of engaging in commerce on any considerable scale between the United States and China we find no evidence presented that there is any more difficulty for the Chinese merchants of that class to enter than there is for any European merchant of similar class.

“Most large exporters and importers come first-class and there has seldom been any delay or difficulty in connection with first-class passengers.

“The contention that the rulings of the Department along these lines are “impossible of compliance” does not seem to be borne out by the facts as we find them, and even if really impossible, the facts are that the rulings equally apply to the merchants of all countries, and not to China alone.

“Of course, the term ‘merchant’ has really been much abused by the Chinese and the Department has to take this into serious consideration in its inspections when cases on the border line between merchant and laborer are handled.

“For example: In San Francisco in 70 concerns, you will find 751 active partners and 1,980 silent members. The capital of these concerns are quite moderate and the question naturally arises as to whether the legitimate business of the firm requires such a number of partners to operate, or do they carry such an excessive number of partners for the purpose of seeking benefits under the Chinese Exclusion Law.

“In so far as this committee’s own ideas are concerned, they feel that the wide abuse of the term ‘merchant’ requires careful attention by inspectors if the law is not to be a farce, and under the circumstances, can well understand the position in which the inspectors find themselves when called upon to judge the fact as to whether or not a man is a bona-fide merchant or ‘partner,” the report stated.

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