Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 62.djvu/242

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236
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

In the following Table by Illiterates is Meant those who are unable to Read and Write in some Language:


 Race
Total number landed year
ended June 30, 1901.
Percentage of
illiterates.
Italians 137,807 51.26
Lithuanians 8,815 44.85
Slavs 90,888 34.07
Hebrews 58,098 23.31
Magyars 13,311 7.04
Finn 9,999 1.84
 

merit's jurisdiction over all landed immigrants and increasing the period of liability of the steamship company for return of undesirable immigrants from one year (the present period) to five years. Increasing the head tax from one dollar, the amount imposed at present upon each arriving alien, to five or ten dollars would probably lessen the number of immigrant arrivals. This reduction in number would be due to the fact that many large families, with children and aged dependents, would be obliged to stay in Europe; the extra five or ten dollars per head in a large family would be sufficient in many cases to make the cost of passage prohibitive. Young single men would pay $40 for passage to America almost as readily as $30; consequently the additional head tax would not greatly affect the number of single unskilled laborers. The young laborer would not go back and forth quite so often perhaps if he had to pay the additional five or ten dollars upon landing here each time.

The period of Government jurisdiction over the landed alien and the period of the liability of the steamship companies for return of undesirable aliens for cause should be extended from one year to five years, or better, until the immigrant becomes a citizen. This would enable the immigration authorities to deport within five years after landing many diseased, insane and pauper immigrants, anarchists and other criminals whose undesirability was not manifest upon landing or within one year thereafter. Relatives and interested persons would not be so ready to offer to the boards of special inquiry a guarantee that detained aliens would not become public charges if such guarantee were binding for five years instead of one year, as at present.

The enactment of these amendments into law and the enactment of stringent legislation bearing upon anarchists, together with a rigid enforcement of our naturalization laws, would go far toward dissipating the present popular distrust of the immigrant, and would still further minimize the dangers due to immigration.