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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/172

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Up to this time the inspection of immigrants was made by state authorities, acting, of course, under federal law. This system was unsatisfactory, because of the lack of uniformity of inspection, and the difficulty of applying the law in imposing and collecting fines. It became evident that if an efficient uniform standard of inspection was to be established and maintained, it must be under the direct supervision of the federal authorities. The act of March 3, 1891, besides adding to the excluded classes, 'persons suffering from a loathsome or a dangerous contagious disease,' polygamists, and assisted immigrants, provided for the assumption of the work of inspecting immigrants by the federal officers. The office of superintendent of immigration was created, and the President was authorized to appoint such officer by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The medical inspection was from this time to be made by officers of the Marine Hospital Service. This act also prohibited steamship companies from encouraging immigration by alluring advertisements, and provided for the deportation, within one year after landing, of any alien landed in the United States in violation of law.

The act of March 3, 1893, provided that the steamship companies should furnish lists or manifests made at the time and place of embarkation, which were to contain valuable information concerning the age, occupation, destination, moral and physical fitness, etc., of the immigrant. These lists were to be signed and sworn to by the master and surgeon of the vessel. This requirement of manifests was expected to cause a more careful scrutiny of passengers at the port of embarkation, and the manifests themselves would undoubtedly prove of great value to the inspectors in their work.

Under federal supervision the work of inspecting immigrants became more uniform and thorough. Suitable buildings had to be erected, and other expenses necessary to the rigid enforcement of the law were incurred. It became evident that the head tax of fifty cents was inadequate for defraying the expenses incident to immigration. By a provision in the sundry civil bill, approved August 18, 1894, the head tax was increased to one dollar.

In June, 1900, congress enacted that the commissioner general of immigration should have charge of the administration of the Chinese Exclusion Law.

After ten years of trial, the law of 1893 was found inadequate in some particulars, and a great popular demand for further restriction was manifested. As a result of this popular demand the law of 1903 was enacted. By the provisions of this act previous legislation was amplified, and further necessary restriction placed on undesirable classes of immigrants. The head tax was increased to two dollars. The authority to deport aliens landed in violation of law, was extended to a period of three years from the landing of such alien. In addition to