Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/647

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IMMIGRATION AND CRIME.

IMMIGRATION AND CRIME.
By SYDNEY G. FISHER.

THE criminal influence of the alien with its steady increase can be traced back in our history for the last sixty years. So surely and yet so gradually has it grown upon us that we have now become thoroughly accustomed to a condition of things which would have been extremely shocking to our rugged ancestors as they are sometimes called.

When our system of foreign immigration first began to reach serious proportions, about the year 1820, its effect on our manners and morals soon attracted attention. The Native American party, which arose soon after 1840, based its strongest argument on the enormous increase of crime which followed the advent of the foreigners. The belief and confidence in the cheap labor of the immigrant were very strong in those days, or the people would never have been willing to go on with the system in the face of the shocking revelations of pauperism, crime, and corruption which became more and more apparent from 1830 to 1850.

The newspapers and pamphlets of that time published statistics which showed that, although the foreign population was only an eighth of the whole, yet it furnished two thousand more paupers and a thousand more criminals than all the remaining seven eighths of the people. Every thirty-two foreigners produced a pauper, and every one hundred and fifty-four of them produced a criminal; but it required three hundred and seventeen natives to furnish one pauper and sixteen hundred and nineteen to furnish a criminal.

The census of 1880 attempted to summarize the relative proportions of the foreign population which were paupers and criminals as far back as 1850. The statistics on which the calculation was based were somewhat incomplete, but so far as they go they show the same result that all other similar investigations have shown. The foreigner in proportion to his numbers furnishes by far the greater part of pauperism and crime.

Ratio to 1,000,000 of Population.
  1880. 1870. 1860. 1850.
Paupers:
Native 994 1,635 1,849 1,765
Foreign 3,438 4,095 7,843 5,986
Prisoners:
Native 1,054 733 371 207
Foreign 1,917 1,568 2,161 1,074