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COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ALBERT JOHNSON, Washington, Chairman J. WILL TAYLOR, Tennessee.
ADOLPH J. SABATH, Illinois. WILLIAM N. VAILE, Colorado.
JOHN E. RAKER, California. HAYS B. WHITE, Kansas.
RILEY J. WILSON, Louisiana. ARTHUR M. FREE, California.
JOHN C. BOX, Texas. JOHN L. CABLE, Ohio.
SAMUEL DICKSTEIN, New York. WILLIAM P. HOLADAY, Illinois.
S. D. MCREYNOLDS, Tennessee. BIRD J. VINCENT, Michigan.
ELTON WATKINS, Oregon.
P. F. SNYDER, Clerk
grad. School of Buc
PROPOSED DEPORTATION LEGISLATION
COMMITTEE ON IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Wednesday, December 10, 1924. The committee this day met, Hon. William N. Vaile presiding.
Mr. VAILE. Gentlemen of the committee, we have with us this morning Hon. Henry H. Curran, Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island, N. Y., and Mr. Uhl, the Assistant Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island. We asked these gentlemen to come down here to discuss anything that may occur to them and be helpful to us in considering an extension or stiffening of the deportation provisions of the immigration law.
I will say to these gentlemen that we have under consideration a draft of a bill, which in its first revised form is committee print No. 1, which has already been somewhat changed tentatively during the consideration of it by this committee.
Mr. Box. What copy have you?
This bill starts off by amending sections 18, 19, and 20 of the act of February 25, 1917, and provides that every alien who upon arrival in the United States is not found to be entitled to enter the United States shall be excluded and deported in accommodations of the same class as in which he arrived; that deportation shall be immediate unless, in the opinion of the Secretary of Labor, immediate deportation is not practicable or proper; that deportation shall be on the vessel bringing him, or within a reasonable time, on another vessel owned or operated by the same interests; and that the cost of the maintenance of every such alien while on land, and the expense of his deportation to the destination designated by the Secretary of Labor, shall be borne by the owner of the vessel on which he came. It further provides that if an excluded alien, certified by an examining medical officer to be helpless on account of sickness, mental or physical disability, or infancy is accompanied by another alien whose protection or guardianship is required by such excluded alien, such accompanying alien may also be excluded and deported in the same manner as if personally subject to exclusion and deportation, and the liability for cost of maintenance and expense of deportation shall be the same as in such case.
Further, if it appears to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Labor, in the case of any alien not entitled to admission to the United States, that immediate deportation before hospital treatment for a physical or mental defect or disease would be inhumane or cause
unusual hardship or suffering, he may admit such alien temporarily solely for the purpose of treatment in a hospital.
This bill further provides that if at any time after entering the United States, whether the entry was before or after the enactment of the deportation act of 1925, the following aliens shall, upon the warrant of the Secretary of Labor, be deported: First, an alien who at the time of entry was a member of one or more of the classes excluded by law from admission to the United States; second, an alien who entered the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officials, or who eluded examination or inspection, or who obtained entry by a false or misleading representation, or the willful concealment of a material fact; third, an alien who remains in the United States for a longer time than authorized by law or regulations made under authority of law; fourth, an alien who is a public charge from causes not affirmatively shown to have arisen subsequent to entry into the United States; fifth, an alien who is convicted of any crime committed after a certain time for which he is sentenced to imprisonment for a term of one year or more, or who is convicted in a court of record of any crime for which he is sentenced to imprisonment for a term which, when added to the terms of one or more previous sentences by a court of record for the same or any other crime, amounts to six months or more; sixth, an alien who was convicted or who admits the commission, prior to entry, of a felony or other crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; seventh, one guilty of a violation of the white slave act; eightħ, an alien who conceals or harbors, attempts to conceal or harbor, or assists or abets any other person to conceal or harbor, any alien liable to deportation, with intent to prevent or obstruct the arrest under deportation proceedings, or the deportation, of such alien; ninth, an alien who knowingly aids or asists in any way any alien to unlawfully enter the United States; tenth, an alien who is found employed on a vessel engaged in the coastwise trade of the United States without having been permanently admitted to the United States. Then it is suggested that on page 5, after line 6, the following should be inserted :
An al en who has, after the enactment of the deportation act of 1925, violated (whether or not convicted of such violation) the white slave traffic act, or any law amendatory of, supplementary to, or in substitution for, such act, or any statute of the United States prohibiting or regulating the manufacture, possession, sale, exchange, dispensing, giving away, transportation, importation, or exportation of opium, coca leaves, or any salt, derivative, or preparation of opium or coca leaves; an alien who has, after the enactment of the deportation act of 1925, violated more than once (whether or not convicted of such violations) any statute of the United States prohibiting or regulating the manufacture, possession, sale, exchange, dispensing, giving away, transportation, importation, or exportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes.
Section 6 provides that if any alien has been arrested and deported in
pursuance of law he shall be excluded from admission to the United States whether such deportation took place before or after the enactment of this act, and if he enters or attempts to enter the United States after the expiration of 30 days after the enactment of this act, he shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.
And section 7 provides that any alien who hereafter enters the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officials, or eludes examination or inspection by immigration officials, or who obtains entry to the United States by a false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one year or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Is there anything else that should be stated ?
Mr. WATKINS. An indeterminate sentence, I believe? That is a lap-over between the first and second.
Mr. VAILE. To catch those who had been convicted before of violation of the law and are guilty of a felony, there is a provision that an alien who is convicted of any crime, committed after the enactment of the deportation act of 1925, for which he is sentenced to imprisonment for a term of one year or more, or who is convicted in a court of record of any crime, committed after the enactment of the deportation act of 1925, for which he is sentenced to imprisonment for a term which, when added to the terms of one or more previous sentences by a court of record for the same or other crime, whenever committed, amounts to six months or more, may be deported.
Mr. Curran, will you please favor us with your general views, which may form the basis of questions regarding the policy of such an act, or with anything which you think we should be careful to put in the bill ?
STATEMENT OF HON. HENRY H. CURRAN, COMMISSIONER OF
IMMIGRATION, ELLIS ISLAND, N. Y.
Mr. Currax. I thank you. There are, I believe, features of the deportation side of the immigration question that greatly need improving. I have made some study of the basis of the proposed bill which your chairman was kind enough to send me. I received it only a day ago and have not been able to go through it word for word as exactly as I ought; but I can take up some parts of it on the basis of the wording in the printed bill. They will include at least four things that, so far as Ellis Island is concerned, and from a practical administrative point of view, should be in the law.
We are delighted to learn that you are contemplating the introduction of such a bill, because we belieye that it is badly needed. The first change in procedure that we believe in is not, so far as we can see, included in the wording of the proposed bill, and that is that a warrant of arrest for an alien already in the country who is possibly deportable should be issued, not by the Secretary of Labor, as at present, but by the immigration officials in charge of the district in which the alien is to be found. If it were possible for the wise discretion of the Secretary of Labor to be exercised instantaneously in the issuance of warrants of arrest, it might just as well be done as it is done now. If the Secretary of Labor could immediately have the information upon which to base the warrant of arrest and could issue the warrant of arrest quickly, it would be all right. But that is not possible. To-day at New York, day after day, we investigate information that comes to us
and we find it sufficient to recommend that a warrant of arrest be issued by the Secretary of Labor at Washington. We ask for the warrant. Usually it takes a week or. 10 days before the warrant arrives. Meanwhile the alien has escaped. The warrant is a nullity. It is no good. I have been a city magistrate. I have issued warrants myself. Any justice of the peace the country over may issue a warrant, but the Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island, who needs that power more than any magistrate needs it to secure immediate action, has not that power. Aliens do and will escape from us unless we have the power of immediate actionunless the power of issuing warrants of arrest is vested in the officials of the service who are right on the ground. However, I want to say that I believe that the warrant of deportation should be issued by the Secretary of Labor as at present. That is a matter that should be decided by the Secretary of Labor.
Mr. HOLADAY. Under the present law, if you had information that a man were possibly subject to deportation and the facts warranted the issuance of a warrant of arrest, you could not take any action before communicating with the Secretary of Labor at Washington, who would, upon your recommendation and showing, issue a warrant of arrest.
Mr. CURRAN. That is the exact situation. The right to issue a warrant of arrest rests solely within the discretion of the Secretary of Labor.
Mr. RAKER. Give us your proposed amendment, Mr. Curran.
Mr. CURRAN. Yes, sir. On page 3, line 18, section 19, strike out the words “Secretary of Labor" and substitute therefor the words
immigration officer in charge of the district.” That would enable us to move quickly before the alien escaped. Then it would be necessary to insert a provision that the alien should be deported upon the warrant of the Secretary of Labor. I would put the physical step of getting hold of the alien in the hands of the officers on the ground. In line 18, page 3, committee print No. 1, strike out the words “ Secretary of Labor" and insert “immigration officer in charge of the district in which the alien is located."
Mr. FREE. Would it not be well to say “any immigration officer" may issue the warrant of arrest regardless of where the alien may be found? One might be found in the State of New York and another in the State of New Jersey.
Mr. CURRAN. Yes; that would be all right, I think.
Mr. RAKER But the jurisdiction of one immigration officer might cover more than one State. It might include three or four States.
Mr. VINCENT. Why not give the blanket authority to any immigration officer, regardless of location !
Mr. CURRAN. You could say “upon a warrant of an immigration officer in charge of a district." Each officer's juridiction is clearly defined.
Mr. RAKER. And you would have it read, in lines 18 and 19, page 3, section 19,"upon the warrant of the Secretary of Labor be deported "?
Mr. CURRAN. Yes, sir; as I have said, I would continue to vest in the Secretary of Labor the right to issue a warrant of deportation.
Mr. VAILE. Are you convinced, from your own experience in the service that it is not sufficient to make telegraphic application, as