Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/241

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235
DISTRUST OF THE IMMIGRANT.

Table 3.

Ratio of Minor Defects in each Race to Number Landed. These were Defects or Conditions not grave enough for Actual Rejection, yet likely to Affect the Immigrant's Chances in making a Living or Usefulness as an Immigrant, such as Poor Physique, Anæmia, Loss of an Eye or Finger, etc. Month of June, 1900:

 
Finn 1 in every 81
Slav ( Croat, Pole, Slovak ) 1 " 65
Lithuanian 1 " 64
Magyar 1 " 40
Italian 1 " 26
Syrian 1 " 24
Hebrew 1 " 16

stock whose children, brought up in American schools and in American environment can be assimilated without detriment to the native race. It is not the assimilation of the immigrant but of his children we have to consider.

The American's distrust of the immigrant at present is rational and natural. It is the logical sequence of the sweat shop, the increase of crime and pauperism in New York and other great cities, and of the assassin's act at Buffalo. The percentage of undesirable immigrants is no doubt higher to-day than it was twenty, thirty or forty years ago. It may even be admitted that it has been growing higher year by year during the past two decades. But we are no longer unprotected against undesirable immigrants. Restrictions on admittance have been growing more stringent year by year and a great system has been perfected on Ellis Island for sifting the grain from the chaff, that is doing splendid work, not as a dam to keep out good and bad alike, but as a sieve fine enough in the mesh to keep out the diseased, the pauper and the criminal while admitting the immigrant with two strong arms, a sound body and a stout heart.

Amendment of the present immigration laws has been suggested in some important particulars. It has been urged by a great many people that an educational requirement should be added to the law, barring all immigrants who are illiterate. A glance at the following table will show that this restriction would debar many thousands of our most desirable immigrants would, in fact, be felt most by the races furnishing us with nearly all of the unskilled labor necessary for our industrial progress. It would not, on the other hand, act as a barrier to some of the least desirable immigrants we receive. The passing of this educational amendment would have one good result: It would lessen the total number of immigrants landed and thus permit of an even more rigid examination of the immigrants upon arrival.

Other remedies suggested for the improvement of the immigration laws are raising the head tax and increasing the time of the Govern-