Page images
PDF
EPUB

sions during the past 20 years being approximately 215,500. The peoples principally represented in this movement are African (black), who come mainly from Jamaica and the Bahamas, Cuban, and Spanish. As in the case of Mexican immigration, many of those coming from the West Indies are seasonal laborers, who find employment in Florida, but the development of steamship connection between the island and northern ports has resulted in a considerable movement of negroes who stay more or less permanently in New York, Massachusetts, and other Eastern States."

From Table 16, page 185, report of the commissioner general for 1920, it appears that the total immigration to the United States from the West Indies in the period 1899 to 1920 was 238,213 (compare this figure with the 215,500 given above as the immigration for the 20 years preceding 1919).

In the annual report for 1920 (p. 189) it appears that from 1908 (the year when emigration statistics began) to the year 1920, the total emigration to the West Indies from the United States was 59,372; during the same 13-year period the total immigration from the West Indies was 157,736, so the excess of immigration over emigration was 98,364, and the average annual excess 7,566. Recent annual reports, however, show a considerable increase in the net as well as in the absolute immigration from the West Indies since 1920. For the fiscal year 1919–20 the immigration was 13.808, the emigration 5,502 ; 1920–21, immigration 13,774, emigration 5,050; 1921-22 immigration 7,449, emigration 5,252; 1922–23 immigration 13,181, emigration 4,183 ; 1923–24 immigration 17,559, emigration 4,081.

The average annual immigration during the five years ending June 30, 1924, was 13,154, while the average emigration from the United States was 4 813. Thus the excess of annual immigration over emigration was 8,341. This rise bears out the prediction of the commissioner general of five years ago.

Owing to the already considerable amount of this West Indian immigration, at present over 17,000 per annum, its character, and especially its racial composition, has become a matter of great interest and importance. A good deal of light can be obtained on the question of racial composition by the examination of the statistics of immigration and emigration, contained in the annual reports of the commissioner general in recent years, but owing to the extremely mixed racial character of the population these statistics can not give a complete or accurate picture. The facts stated below are derived by comparison made of the two sets of tables in the annual reports of the Commissioner General of Immigration, the one set showing the sources of immigration “ By countries" (or other territorial areas), the other set showing the immigration by “ Races or peoples."

Turning to the report for the fiscal year 1919-20, page 185, we find that the total immigration from the West Indies during the 22-year period ending June 30, 1920, was 238,213; that during the same period the immigration from all the countries of South America was 59.392, and the immigrat'on from all the countries of Central America 25,552. Turning to page 182, we find from the table “ By race or peoples ” that in the same period the total immigration of persons of “ African” or “ Black” race to the United States was 100,101. Of this number only a very small part could have come from Africa, as the total immigration from Africa during the period was 24,993, and most of the African immigration in recent years has been other than black. The bulk of the 100,101 immigrants of African race, probably at least four-fifths, came from the West Indies, although it is only in very recent years that we have had official statistics as to the exact number. It is certain that no considerable number came from any source other than the West Indies.

While most of our black immigrants came from the West Indies, it is also true that we have had a considerable immigration from that source consisting of other racial character, In the 22-year period in question 31.573 immigrants are classified in the reports as Spanish-Americans" and 154,005 as Spanish.” of the latter group, 97,286 came from Spain, leaving a balance of 56,219 persons of Spanish race coming from other sources than Spain. The Cubans are classified as a race or people by themselves, and the tables show that 72,048 “Cubans” entered the United States as immigrants during the period. We can now more readily see what was the racial composition of the 238,213 immigrants who entered the United States from the West Indies in the 22-year period ending June 30, 1920; 72,048 were Cubans, a part of whom are of Spanish race and mixed races with some negroes. This leaves a balance of 166.165 to be accounted for. Undoubtedly more than one-half of this number

6

comes out of the 100,101 immigrants of African race who immigrated to the United States during the period.

Since, as already pointed out, few negroes came from any other source, the balance (of non-Africans) may be put approximately at 75,000. This is largely, but not exclusively, derived from the 31,573 Spanish-Americans, and the 56,219 immigrants of Spanish race who came from other regions than Spain during the period, but not all of the balance was of these elements, since, especially in more recent years, other races than those already named have found their way to the West Indies, notably the Chinese, of whom as many as 30,000 are now in Cuba, according to a recent report of the Bureau of Immigration. Also in the islands owned by Great Britain there is a small minority of people of British race. The annual reports for the years ending June 30, 1922, 1923, and 1924, respectively, give the following statistics as to the racial character of the West Indian immigration in those years. In the year 1921-22 we had 7,749 immigrants from the West Indies. We had in the same year 5,248 immigrants who were of African race, and of these 4,424, or approximately four-fifths, were from the West Indies.

The balance of immigrants from the West Indies in that year was principally made up as follows: South Americans.. 716 Hebrews.

56 Cubans. 667 Italians

49 English--

306 the remainder being scattered. (See p. 42, also p. 26, of the annual report, 1921–22.)

In the next year the immigration from the West Indies was 13,181. The racial composition of this immigration was as follows (omitting races contributing less than 50 immigrants) : African or black..

6, 580
Polish

76 Cuban.

1, 299
Slovak

2, 109 English 357 Spanish

77 Hebrew

991
West Indian

1, 308 From these figures we see pretty clearly one effect of the first quota restrictions which went into effect in the year 1921, namely, that of causing immigrants excluded by quotas to seek an entry by way of countries in the Western Hemisphere upon which no quota restrictions have been imposed. The same tendency is even more noticeable in the figures for 1923–24. The report for that year takes us up to June 30, 1924, when the immigration act of 1924 went into effect.

The total immigration from the West Indies in 1923-24 was 17,559. Of this total no less than 10,630 were of African race. The total number of immigrants of African race admitted from all sources during the year was 12,243. A little over ten-twelfths of these came from the West Indies. The racial composition of the remaining 6,929 is given at pages 52-55 of the report, as follows (omitting races contributing less than 50 immigrants): African

10, 630
Italian (south)

754 English

138 PolishFrench 824 Portuguese

221 Greek 65 Slovak

1, 769 Hebrew

2, 002
Spanish

155 Italian (north)-

326 West Indian (except Cuban). 1, 878 The number stated to be Spanish American is only 20. Apparently the immigration authorities now classify as “West Indian” native white or near-white stock which formerly were classified as “Spanish American."

IMMIGRATION FROM MEXICO

[A memorandum prepared by F. H. Kinnicutt]

I. EXTENT OF IMMIGRATION AND EMIGRATION

In the following table are given the figures of the Bureau of Immigration for the immigration from Mexico to the United States in each fiscal year since the year ending June 30, 1905, and also for the emigration from the United

States to Mexico in each fiscal year since the year ending June 30, 1908, when emigration statistics were first published:

[blocks in formation]

This gives a total immigration in the 20-year period of 469,466, and a total emigration of 73,362. The average annual immigration was 23,473 and the average annual emigration was 4,315. What is particularly noticeable is the tremendous successive increase in the immigration from Mexico in the last two years, that is to say, the increase in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1923, 63,768, as compared with 19,551 in the previous year, and a second jump in the year ending June 30, 1924, to 89,336. Instead of these increases being accompanied by a corresponding increase in emigration, it is noticeable that the emigration dropped from 6,205 in the year ending June 30, 1922, to 2,680 in the year ending June 30, 1923, and to 1,926 in the year ending June 30, 1924. A point also to be noticed is that the total admission of aliens from Mexico in the year ending June 30, 1924, was 92,889, and the number of aliens departing from the United States to Mexico was 4,699. These figures show, when compared with the figures for immigration and emigration in the same year, given above, that the nonimmigrant and nonemigrant classes were very small in this year, a fact which also appears in the corresponding figures for the previous year.

The above table for immigration and emigration for the 20-year period seems to disprove pretty definitely the statement often heard that the immigration from Mexico to the United States is of a transitory character, i. e., not real immigration, but of the “come and go” kind. The fact is, as appears from the above table, so far as legal admissions are concerned, the immigration has been offset only in one year (1918) by an emigration of larger amount. Taking the period of 17 years, from 1908 (when emigration figures began) to 1924, inclusive, the average annual excess of immigration over emigration has been 22,945. Whether or not the illicit immigration from Mexico to the United States, i. e., by smuggling over the border, is of a transitory nature, is another question. Probably there is no reliable data to determine this with any accuracy.

II. CHARACTER OF THE IMMIGRATION FROM MEXICO

In determining the character of the immigration in recent years from Mexico to the United States, its racial composition will first be considered. In the first place, it may be observed that generally speaking, a larger proportion of the immigration from Mexico has been composed of the, nativeborn of that country than in the case of the immigration from Canada or the West Indies. This is particularly true of the immigration legally admitted, as compared with the illegal or smuggled immigration. The annual report for 1923 to 1924 shows that while there were 63,768 immigrants who entered the United States in that year from Mexico, the number of immigrants from all sources who are put down as of Mexican race, is 62,672, a difference of a little over one thousand. In the report for the last year, 1923 to 1924, the immigration from Mexico, is $9,336, and the number of immigrants recorded as being of Mexican race is 87,575, a difference of nearly 2,000.

This shows a significant increase in the number of non-Mexicans coming from Mexico, as compared with the preceding year, but the numbers are still not very large.

As to the racial sources of the non-Mexican immigration, coming legally from Mexico recently, the report for 1923 to 1924 shows that it came principally from the following racial sources, races contributing less than 100 being omitted (see pp. 52 to 54 of the report): English 129 Hebrew

316 French

123
Spanish

291 German. 251 Syrian.--

190 In determining the racial composition of the immigration from Mexico in recent years, the illicit or smuggled immigration, as well as legally admitted immigration, must, of course, be considered.

There has always been a large amount of smuggling over the Mexican border, which at first consisted principally of Chinese, later of Japanese, and more recently still of European immigrants excluded by the quotas. This is shown by numerous official statements in the annual reports of the commissioners general. Mr. Husband, in his report for the year ending June 30, 1923, pages 15 to 23, supported by the testimony of various inspectors at border stations, makes a comprehensive and illuminating statement as to the smuggling of immigrants, not only over the Mexican border, but over the Canadian border, and from the West Indies. In his remarks, dealing specifically with the Mexican border situation, he stated :

“The long-established routes from southern Europe to Mexican ports and overland to the Texas border, formerly patronized almost exclusively by diseased and criminal aliens, are now resorted to by large numbers of Europeans who can not gain legal admission because of passport difficulties, illiteracy, or the quota law.”

While he states that these routes have become less popular of late for Europeans, owing to the hardships and dangers encountered and the increasing vigilance of the United States immigration officers, he goes on to point out that the same observation does not apply to the native Mexicans. With regard to this, he states :

" It is difficult, in fact impossible, to measure the illegal influx of Mexicans over the border, but everyone agrees that it is quite large. United States territory immediately adjacent to the boundary has been a natural habitat of the Mexicans from the beginning, and residents of the borderland in Mexico, particularly of the laboring class, for a long time moved back and forth across the dividing line practically at will. Illiteracy is common among them and comparative poverty is widespread, but until the general law of 1917 was enacted these conditions were not serious barriers to their legal admission into the United States. Under that law, however, illiterates are denied admission, and a head tax of $8 per person is assessed, and these barriers have naturally stimulated illegal immigration to such an extent that, as already stated, it is not possible even to estimate the number of Mexicans who enter the country without inspection over the long and largely unguarded stretches of border that lie between stations of our service.

“ Until within quite recent years comparatively few Mexican laborers got beyond the border States, but during the war they were taken in considerable numbers to the Middle Western States, where many of them were left without employment by the industrial depression which followed. It is said that most of these eventually returned to Mexico or the Southwest, but the demand for common labor in the North and East during the past year brought large numbers into industrial centers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere as substitutes for European laborers whose unlimited admission had been checked by the quota law."

In the previous report for the year ending June 30, 1922, the commissioner general, in speaking of smuggling and surreptitious entry of aliens, says, on page 13, annual report, that although this smuggling has been going on for years " the stringency of the existing passport regulations and of the immigration laws has served to accentuate it, for those who have been unable to obtain consular visés on which to come to the United States, and others, who have desired to evade the restrictions of the 'quota’ act, have proceeded to both Canada and Mexico in large numbers, and it is these who have endeavored and are endeavoring to gain admission by stealth, usually with the aid of hired smugglers."

He also quotes the United States commissioner of immigration at Montreal, who, among other things, stated :

" It is fully appreciated that dope, liquor, Chinese, and alien smuggling has become a lucrative business and is being carried on by international gangs in which there have been found the hardest, most daring, and cleverest criminals, backed by no limit of funds and possessed of the highest powered vehicles, boats, etc., the automobile predominating as a means of traveling.”

Summarizing the foreging evidence as to the racial composition of the Mexican immigration, we find that we have, on the one hand, a large annual immigration admitted legally which is almost entirely native-born Mexican. On the other hand, an immigration principally of the illegal or bootleg class, which is of various racial origins and of an undetermined amount. As to the so-called Mexican immigration, i. e., immigration from Mexico, which is of Mexican birth, constituting undoubtedly the greater part of the total immigration, its general racial characteristics are well known. It is primarily of Indian race, and, generally speaking, of an Indian type which varies considerably from that of the Indian types native to the United States. While the ruling class in Mexico is probably composed of whites, or whites with some Indian blood, the population is overwhelmingly Indian or half-breed.

Х

« PreviousContinue »