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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 66.djvu/361

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357
HOW IMMIGRANTS ARE INSPECTED.

HOW IMMIGRANTS ARE INSPECTED.
BY Dr. ALLAN MCLAUGHLIN,

U. S. PUBLIC HEALTH AND MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE.

Inspection of our immigrants may be said to begin in Europe. The immigrant usually buys his steamship ticket in his native town from an agent or subagent of the steamship company. The agents of the best steamship lines are held responsible by the company, for the passengers they book for America, and if they ship one of the excluded classes they are likely to lose their agency. This makes the agent examine the applicants for tickets, and probably quite a large number of defectives are refused passage by agents of the first-class lines. These defectives then usually try some less particular and smaller lines and take chances of escaping inspection at the Canadian or Mexican borders.

The next scrutiny to which the immigrant is subjected is that of the steamship authorities at the port of embarkation. This was formerly a perfunctory examination, and is so still, as far as some lines are concerned, but first-class lines, notably the English and German, examine the immigrants carefully and with due regard for our laws. The strict enforcement of our laws, and especially the imposition of one hundred dollars fine for bringing to our ports any case of a contagious character, have occasioned some improvement in the inspection made by ships' doctors at European ports. At the port of embarkation the immigrants' names are recorded upon lists or manifests, each list containing about thirty names. After each name the steamship officials are required by law to record answers to a certain number of queries relating to the immigrant.

Section 12 of the act of 1903 provides that the manifests shall state, in answer to the questions at the top of the manifest sheet:

The full name, age and sex; whether married or single; the calling or occupation; whether able to read or write; the nationality; the race; the last residence; the seaport of landing in the United States; the final destination, if any, beyond the port of landing; whether having a ticket through to such final destination; whether the alien has paid his own passage, or whether it has been paid by any other person or by any corporation, society, municipality, or government, and if so, by whom; whether in possession of thirty dollars, and if less, how much; whether going to join a relative or friend and if so, what relative or friend, and his name and complete address; whether ever before in the United States, and if so, when and where; whether ever in prison or almshouse or an institution or hospital for the care and treatment of the