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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/173

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IMMIGRATION.

the undesirable classes excluded under previous laws, we find in this act that epileptics, and 'anarchists or persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow, by force or violence, of the Government of the United States, or of all Government, or of all forms of law, or the assassination of public officials' are excluded.

The utter disregard shown by the steamship companies for United States laws in permitting diseased persons to take passage for America, when their diseased condition must have been apparent, was responsible for the imposition of a penalty of one hundred dollars for bringing to our ports any alien suffering from a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease, which might have been detected by means of a competent medical examination, at the time of embarkation.

It will be noted from the foregoing summary of immigration legislation that nearly all the laws have been passed since 1880. It is a significant fact that previous to that time immigration came chiefly from Great Britain and Ireland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. With the rapid and progressive increase of immigration from Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and other countries of southern and eastern Europe, deterioration in the quality of immigration was sufficiently marked to indicate the necessity for more thorough regulation and restriction. The favorite method of evasion of our immigration laws was to send the questionable immigrant by way of Canada. By the courtesy of the Canadian government and by virtue of an agreement with the transportation companies our officers are permitted to examine, at Canadian ports, immigrants destined to the United States through Canada, but defective immigrants evaded this inspection by being manifested as destined to Canada. The Canadian law was formerly much less exacting than our own, and these people after landing and remaining in Canada a short time, could slip over the border without inspection. An effective system of border inspection was instituted by the United States immigration authorities, to prevent the smuggling of these immigrants across the Canadian border. The difficulty of guarding over three thousand miles of frontier can be appreciated, however, and the passage of a Canadian law (1902), at least approaching our own standard, has been welcomed as an addition to our defenses.

The provision made for excluding anarchists and persons of like tendencies has already been applied to some of these disturbers, and promises to be very effective in this direction.

Our contract labor laws have been materially strengthened by the act of 1903. There is no longer ground for misapprehension as to whether the laws were to apply to unskilled labor aloneā€”or to both skilled and unskilled.