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men, lend themselves even more readily get a position in the skilled trades, barred to exploitation, two thirds of them receiv- from the unions, subjected to injustice ing less than $300 a year. When wages and oppression, and forced into the moare pooled, the resulting $685 still falls notonous drudgeries that break body and short of the $900 that federal experts spirit. have fixed upon as the annual amount Every survey yet made of immigrant necessary for the support of a family. colonies proves that increased earning Since the wages of both man and woman power and the acquirement of English are are not sufficient to maintain an indepen- quickly followed by better homes, social dent, self-respecting form of family life, ambition, and a larger civic interest. The the children are put to work, and the Ford increase in wages, for instance, resleeping- and living-rooms of the house are sulted in an almost immediate improvepacked with boarders in order that the ment of living conditions, showing that family income may be brought up to an the aliens were not huddling in tenements existence level.
from choice. This low-wage scale is not so much due It is not only the case that America has to lack of industry and capacity as to the been guilty of many sins of omission in alien's ignorance of the English language, connection with the immigrant, but there and his consequent unfamiliarity with are also crimes of commission. The attiAmerican methods and institutions. Not
tude of the average native-born American only this, but there are many immigrants is one of superiority, contempt, and even who cannot read or write even in their hostility, making it difficult indeed for the own language. The census report for immigrant to free himself from isolation 1910 showed that in the preceding ten or to gain direct contact with American years 1,918,825 illiterates over the age life. In the textile towns of New Engof fourteen were admitted.
land, the factory districts of the Atlantic Owing to compulsory education laws, seaboard, and the various mining comthe question of illiteracy is not one of munities, the immigrants are forced into great importance in the second genera- colonies, and barred from participation in tion; but what of the adult alien without native affairs by a very definite wall of the education upon which he must depend dislike and contempt. Even the churches for protection and prosperity ? Little or make small effort to break down this barnothing is done for him, and as a result rier behind which the alien crouches, gazhe huddles with those of his own nation- ing sullenly at the land that has failed ality, remains the victim of padrones, and him in its promise of freedom and fraif he does become naturalized, it is at the ternity. instigation of some ward boss eager for In view of these indisputable facts, is the control of another vote.
it possible to insist that the failure of the Night schools, conducted by private or- American melting-pot is the fault of the ganizations, are not the answer.
After alien entirely? If the hyphen persists as a day of drudgery, the mind of the immi- a menacing feature of American life, does grant reacts to the fatigue of the body, the blame lie at the door of those expecand as if this was not obstacle enough, tant thousands who come to the United these classes take no account of cultural, States in hope and faith or in the cruel racial, and class differences. Some of the neglects and exploitations that flow from aliens are bright, others stupid, some illit- the greeds and indifferences of the nativeerate and others highly educated in their born? own tongue, but all are bundled into one It is a problem that must be faced, nor group, with the result that the dull are is there any likelihood that it will become discouraged and the educated disgusted. less acute. The defeat of every attempt Without a knowledge of English the alien to establish a literacy test is proof concluis loath to leave his own people, unable to
sive that the American people are opposed
to the restriction of immigration, and employment problem. Also, by an arwhile the inrush of aliens will be checked rangement with Mr. Claxton, Commisduring the progress of the European War, sioner of Education, the names of all impeace will witness their coming in greater migrant children of school age are sent numbers. History does not sustain any immediately from the various ports of arother prediction. The Napoleonic wars, rival to the school authorities at the point the revolutions in Poland, Bohemia, Hun- of destination. gary, and Germany, the Prussian cam- Several cities, notably Cleveland, have paigns against Denmark, Austria, and established immigration bureaus that France, the Russo-Japanese War-all guard the immigrant from the time of his were followed by an increased immigration arrival, watching his education, protectto the United States. Burdensome taxes, ing his rights, promoting his interests, and shattered families, ruined fields, and eco- helping him in the advance to naturalizanomic severities, the inevitable results of tion. Of the States, California has moved war, are bound to turn eyes to the one to the front with a statute providing country that does not rest under the bane- teachers to work in the homes of immiful shadow of militarism.
grants, instructing children and adults in The question for the United States to education laws, labor laws, sanitation, and decide is whether the same old policy of the fundamental principles of American neglect, stupidity, and oppression shall be citizenship. pursued, or whether a new and sincere The North American Civic League for approach shall be made to the task of Immigrants is a powerful volunteer body assimilation. In this connection, let it be that attempts the promotion of helpful borne in mind that while the immigrant legislation, the positive work required to seems to suffer and die in seeming help- protect the immigrant, and the teaching of lessness, he works his revenge upon society the English language. Through the mein a thousand ways. Out of his ignorance dium of the Baron de Hirsch Trust, the and despair he drags down the wage- Jewish immigrant receives far larger conscale, acts as a strike-breaker, lowers the sideration than that accorded to any other American standard of living, and adds the nationality. The trust maintains distribnote of actual ferocity to the competitive uting agencies at all points of entry, and struggle. Out of the slums where aliens not only is the alien placed in the business fester in dirt and disease come the defec- or job for which he has been trained, but tives and delinquents that fill our jails and in event of his poverty he is loaned the asylums, and their ignorance and lack of money necessary for transportation and civic interest make them easy prey for the equipment. unclean political influences that prosper These activities are praiseworthy indeed, by municipal maladministration.
but they do not by any means contain the Ludlow, Calumet, Lawrence, Pater- solution of the immigrant problem. The son, Cabin Creek, and other revolts of work that is to be done cannot wait upon oppressed aliens have cost millions in private generosity or individual initiative, actual loss and scarred whole States with nor will the true answer ever be given by hatred. Even if justice to the alien con- cities or States acting by themselves. The tains no appeal, there is the instinct of task of assimilation is national. It is the self-preservation to compel drastic changes. Federal Government that lets in these
Certain steps are already being taken in millions from other shores, and it is the the direction of reform. Mr. Caminetti, Federal Government that must accept the Commissioner-General of Immigration, responsibility for their protection, develhas vitalized the division of information opment, and Americanization. The one so that it is truly aiding the immigrant in policy that carries with it any certainty of making the choice of a home, and is doing success is a policy that will regard every a splendid work in connection with the
a ward of the nation, to be
guarded, aided, and protected from the and Louisiana, and raising garden-truck very day of arrival to the day of naturali- in the Atlantic Coast States and New zation. Until they have mastered the England, either rendering worthless land language, become acquainted with their productive by their toil or else developing rights as well as their duties, and gained a supposedly waste tracts. sense of belonging, these strangers within The Poles are lovers of the land, ninety our gates are as children, and must be so per cent. of them that come to the United treated.
States being eager to engage in agriculSuch a policy, taking account of the ture, and the small number able to achieve muddles and maladjustments of the past,
their ambition have only stories of sucwill invent machinery of distribution that cess to tell. The Polish farmers of Wiswill end the disastrous stupidity of farm- consin, Illinois, Texas, and Kansas are ers huddled in industrial centers, trades- not behind the native-born in their conmen and professional men herded in mills tributions to the general good, and the and factories, and skilled labor wasting Bohemians are others who have done well itself in unskilled drudgeries-a machin- wherever their feet have touched the soil. ery that will place every immigrant to his The investigations of the Immigration own advantage as well as to the advantage Commission proved that all of those thus of the state.
brought into contact with opportunity In the growth of the unemployment were grasping it, taking out naturalizaproblem, and the increase in involuntary tion-papers, Americanizing in every way, poverty, may be seen the evil results of and playing their proper part in municithe theory that has insisted upon govern- pal, state, and national affairs. ment as a sovereign power rather than as A second necessary step is the creation a working partnership with the people. of a federal system of public employmentIn the formulation of a sane immigration bureaus which may minister to the needs policy there is the chance for the Govern- of the native-born as well as of the alien. ment of the United States to put off its Individual States have failed abjectly in purple robes of aloofness and put on the this respect, for even the nineteen comoveralls of empire-building.
monwealths that have created free emGovernment lands and state lands lie ployment-bureaus have done little more idle while the business of pioneering is than to pile up records of inadequacy. turned over to promoters who are con- Federal control would cover the whole cerned only with their profits, caring country, supplementing and assisting the nothing for the human element that fig- work of existing organizations, regulating ures in their close bargains. Where is private agencies, and bringing together there larger promise of happiness and definitely the jobless man and the manless prosperity than in the transportation of job. Here again it is a matter of imitaimmigrant agriculturists, in community tion rather than innovation, for Great groups, to this public land, together with Britain and Germany have for years been such equipment as will enable them to operating national labor-exchanges sucmake a Aying start in their conquest of
cessfully. the soil? It is not a new idea, or radical, The United States must follow the for other countries are using the twenty- example of European countries, which year-loan system to put people upon the meet the difficulties of poverty by the adland.
vancement of transportation costs, and In those isolated cases where immigrant also guard against class control of the magroups have succeeded in getting into chinery by providing that both workers agriculture, the result has been industry, and employers shall have representation thrift, sobriety, education, and Americani- on a governing committee. zation. Italians are growing cotton on Justice must be made swift and inexthe Mississippi delta, fruit in the Ozarks pensive, and this cannot be done until the