Popular Science Monthly/Volume 66/December 1904/Chinese and Japanese Immigration
|CHINESE AND JAPANESE IMMIGRATION.|
U. S. PUBLIC HEALTH AND MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE.
ABOUT twenty years ago the tide of Chinese coolie laborers assumed such proportions that the Chinese exclusion act was enacted to protect the Pacific states from the horde of yellow parasites which threatened their prosperity. The radical step of legislating against a race was taken after due deliberation, and recognition of its urgent necessity. The Chinese exclusion act has worked fairly well, and in 1901 was reenacted. It is not perfect, and evasions have been frequent, as might be expected in a people fertile in resource and schooled in trickery and deceit, as are the Mongolians, but on the whole the object aimed at has been attained. It has kept out the mass of yellow coolies who would otherwise have come here, and has practically confined the question of Chinese coolie labor to the Pacific coast, whereas, without it, we should have had the coolie labor in Illinois, Pennsylvania and every other state in the Union.
One of the many methods employed by Chinese in evading the exclusion law is of particular interest because of its bearing on illegal naturalization of aliens. Naturalization of Chinese is often an incident of a successful attempt to evade the Chinese exclusion law. A Chinaman arrested in crossing the Canadian border will claim he is a native of the United States and is able to produce Chinese witnesses who will swear to his nativity. He is not only admitted, but is admitted as an American citizen—and his children born in China will also be entitled to admission to the United States and undoubtedly in time will also claim citizenship. An officer detailed to examine the conditions existing upon the Canadian border, in his report to Hon. F. P. Sargent, Commissioner-General of Immigration, makes the following statement, published in the 'Commissioner-General's Report' for 1903:
Hon. F. P. Sargent,
Commissioner-General of Immigration, Washington, D. C.
I attended the trial of several such Chinese, on whose behalf the claim of being natives of the United States was made, which, I was creditably informed, fairly illustrated the usual method of trying this kind of cases. At the time set the case of Ah Sing or some other Ah would be called, and with the defendant absent from court throughout the whole session one other Chinese would be put upon the stand to testify to the defendant's having been born in the United States—most likely in the Chinatown of San Francisco, the alleged birthplace of tens of thousands of others that have made the claim at various times and at various places before him. Upon the uncorroborated testimony of this one Chinaman the other Chinaman, awaiting the issue in jail, would be declared a native of the United States. This goes on week after week and month after month, and has been going on for years. One of the Federal judges estimated that if the story told in the courts were true, every Chinese woman who was in the United States twenty-five years ago must have had at least 500 children. (Report of Proceedings of Chinese-Exclusion Convention, held at San Francisco, November 21 and 22, 1901, p. 51.) By this method thousands of Chinese—upon the admission of the Chinese themselves—have been allowed not only to enter and remain in the United States, but declared to be native-born citizens thereof, each with a vote and qualified to participate in the political affairs of this country.
How far-reaching the effect of such a method is can be appreciated only when it is borne in mind that not only the Chinese who may be thus admitted are made citizens, but also their alleged children, though born in China.
That Japanese are naturalized illegally is shown by the report of special examiner C. V. C. Van Deusen, published in the 'Report of the Attorney General of the U. S.,' 1903. Mr. Van Deusen says:
The Japanese has never been placed under the ban to which his Mongol brother, the Chinese, is subjected, because not until recently did Japanese immigration reach proportions of alarming size. The rapid increase of Japanese immigration is shown by the table given below.
The Japanese coolie labor is (according to some observers who have made a special study of them) more undesirable than the Chinese. There are thousands of these Japanese working in the orchards, vineyards, gardens, hop and sugar-beet fields of California.
The investigations of the California State Labor Bureau show that the Japanese usually come here in gangs of twenty-five or more, and are controlled by Japanese boarding-house keepers in San Francisco, Seattle and other Pacific ports, the system resembling the 'pa drone system' of the Italians. These Japanese boarding-house keepers or bosses are in touch with so-called 'Immigration companies' in Japan. Mr. Thos. F. Turner, in his able report upon Chinese and Japanese labor in the mountain and Pacific states, prepared for the Industrial Commission, and presented by it to Congress, December 5, 1901, says:
It is a fact full of significance that of the hundreds of coolies who are constantly coming into the United States every one produces just $30 in gold; no more, and no less.
That the entire system of immigration companies, boarding-house keepers and Japanese bosses is but an elaborate and ingenious method of avoiding our contract labor laws, no one who has investigated the subject can doubt.
The following is an exact translation of one of the immigrant contracts referred to:
The Nippon Imin Goshi Company will contract, accepting the request for transportation, of Yoshida Ichitaro, who is a free emigrant, having the purpose to land in San Francisco, North America, and to secure for him work there, within the limitations prescribed by the immigration laws.
1. The emigrant shall perform everything that is needed for getting the passport and must be responsible for all expenses needed for the voyage, and should have the money which is necessary when landing.
2. The maturity of the contract is three years from the date that the emigrant starts.
3. If the emigrant gets sick, or loses the means to get along, Narita Toyashira, agent, will help him and provide him means to get back to Japan in case it is necessary.
4. If the emigrant is sent back at the expense of the Japanese government the company shall pay all the expenses for the emigrant.
5. The emigrant shall pay 10 yen to the company as its fee. If the emigrant has a child who does not exceed the age of 15 years, the charge for it will be half price, and if the child is not exceeding 10 years of age, he will be carried free of charge.
6. The emigrant shall provide two securities to the company according to acts 3 and 4 thereof, and they will be responsible to pay all of the expenses that have been paid by the company under the provisions of sections 3 and 4.
7. The two securities are responsible in all the matters pertaining to the emigrant.This contract is made in duplicate, one to the emigrant and one to the company.
|Meiji, 31st year (1898), 1st month (January), 31st day.|
|Special Manager Japan United Immigration Company.|
There is every ground for the belief that the $30 which is exhibited by the immigrant to the United States officials is furnished by the immigration company. The whole scheme is a flagrant violation of our contract labor laws. The class of Japanese immigrants who are thus enabled to come to the United Slates are of the most objectionable character, and without the assistance of such organizations would be compelled to remain in Japan. The United States Government should take immediate steps to suppress these immigration companies.
The great danger to the laboring interests of the United States of unrestricted Japanese immigration will be better understood after an examination of the following table showing the prevailing rate of wages paid in Japan in the various lines of industry:
Japanese Wage Rates Per Day.
|Tailors for Japanese clothing||.50||.24|
|Tailors for foreign clothing||1.00||.48|
|Farm laborers, per month||3.00||1.44|
The Japanese adopts our dress and manners, but his Americanization never extends beyond external appearances. The yellow and the white races are as immiscible as oil and water. No forces of education or civilization can make aught but an Asiatic out of a Chinese or a Japanese. There can be no assimilation, nor do they desire it. They simply intend to hoard a certain amount of American gold and go back to Japan or China to pass the remainder of their lives in comparative ease. While here, their one idea is the hoarding of money; to earn as much and deny themselves as much as is compatible with human endurance. They have no interest in our government, in our laws or in us, other than that which concerns the attainment of their object.
Aside from the economic aspects of Japanese immigration, there is one other objectionable feature of this second yellow invasion which is worthy of note. They bring more cases absolutely and relatively of contagious disease than any other nationality coming here. During 1903, one Japanese out of every 37 arrived was deported as afflicted with a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease. The coming of the Japanese merchant, professional man or student should be permitted, just as we now permit the same class of Chinese to enter freely, but the coolie laborer, whether Japanese or Chinese, is an unfair competitor for our white laborer, and with his high percentage of disease is an element of danger to the public health.
- A yen is valued at 48 cents.