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Popular Science Monthly/Volume 66/January 1905/Social and Political Effects of Immigration

< Popular Science Monthly‎ | Volume 66‎ | January 1905

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL EFFECTS OF IMMIGRATION.
By Dr. ALLAN MCLAUGHLIN,

U. S. PUBLIC HEALTH AND MARINE HOSPITAL SERVICE, WASHINGTON, D. C.

THE assimilation of hundreds of thousands of aliens every year undoubtedly produces social and political effects worthy of close study, which are overlooked by some and exaggerated by others.

The subject of the illiteracy of immigrants brings us naturally to the question of illiteracy at home, and statistics show many remarkable things in this connection. The illiteracy of the United States as a whole is something over eleven per cent., while the percentage of illiteracy among immigrants from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France or Germany is 4 per cent, or less.

Another fact demonstrated by statistics is that in the states which receive a great proportion of aliens every year, the percentage of illiteracy is low, while in the states where the percentage of foreigners is lowest, as in Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky, the percentage of illiteracy for the state is very high.

The question of illiteracy in our own country is largely a question of presence or absence of schools, and statistics show that the immigrants go to the states which have the best common school system and are thus best fitted to reduce their illiteracy. The fact that illiteracy in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Massachusetts has decreased in spite of the thousands of aliens received every year, speaks well not only for the public school system of these states, but also for the adaptability of the immigrant and his desire for education.

Thus it will be seen from the tables given below that, although illiteracy is high among the foreign born in cities as compared with native whites, the native white children of foreign born parents compare favorably with children of the native white. In regard to percentage of illiteracy and school attendance, Table I. shows that the illiteracy of the foreign born is reduced in one generation, as shown by the native children of foreign parents, from 12.9 per cent, to 1.6 per cent. It also shows that the native children of foreign parents have a much lower percentage of illiteracy than the native whites of native parentage.

Table II. shows that a greater percentage of native white children of foreign parentage attend school between the ages of five and fourteen, than of native whites of native parentage. Table III. shows that native whites of foreign parentage attend more steadily and persistently than native whites of native parentage, and in this regard the foreign born children lead both the other classes.

Table I.

Nativity and Parentage. Percentage of Illiteracy.
1890. 1900.
Native white of foreign parents 2.2 1.6
Native white of native parents 6.2 5.7
Foreign white 13.1 12.9
Total 7.7 6.2
 

Table II.

Nativity Age
5 to 9 Years. 10 to 14 Years.
Native white of foreign parents 59.1 per cent. 86.2 per cent.
Native white of native parents 48.6"" 83.8""
Foreign white 58.2"" 73.0""
 

Table III.

Nativity and Parentage. Percentage of School Children Attending School Six Months or More in Each Year.
Males. Females.
Native white of foreign parents 88.7 90.6
Native white of native parents 68.7 71.4
Foreign white 89.1 90.8

Illiteracy is seldom a matter of choice with the peasant. It is usually a matter of bad government. The governments of certain countries maintain no free school system, and paid schools of academies are out of the reach of the miserable peasants.

In other countries the government places monetary or religious restrictions upon certain races which prevent their attendance at school. One often hears the query, ' What is the effect of a mass of illiterate foreigners upon society?' There is very little effect. The illiterate foreigners in our own large cities are ostracized socially, as strictly as the negro in the south. ' These foreigners do not assimilate ' is heard every day. How can they? They can not take the initiative. The Italian, or the Jew, or the Slav, do not shrink away from their American neighbors more than their American neighbors shrink from them.

This mutual aloofness will persist through one or two generations. No sane man expects the Americanization of any but English-speaking immigrants in the first generation, but there is hope, and bright hope, for the immigrants' American bred children, even if their parents be illiterate. It is also necessary to discriminate between the man who is illiterate and the man who is uneducated. A man may be unable to read or write, and yet he may be able to mine coal, or set out grape cuttings, and trim and train the vines. This man is illiterate, but he can not be called uneducated. His illiteracy may be due to causes over which he had no control, as persecution of, or discrimination against, his race by the government under which he lived. The races which have suffered most show a high percentage of illiteracy—the Pole, the Lithuanian, and the Jew. Within seventy-five years of catholic emancipation in Ireland, and the revocation of the penal laws, illiteracy among Irish immigrants dropped from above 50 per cent, to 4 per cent. Other races have as great a hunger for education as these Irish, and meet their first opportunity for sending their children to school, after arriving in America.

Many an Irish immigrant of fifty years ago, who could neither read nor write, and who perhaps could only fix the date of his birth by its proximity to 'the night of the big wind,' became prosperous here, sent his children to school and lived long enough to see them occupy high places in the land of his adoption.

The Americanization of immigrants who do not speak English will take a longer time than was necessary for the Americanization of immigrants from Ireland, but time and American schools work wonders, and already the children of poor Russian Jews of the Ghetto can be pointed out as making their mark in the business or professional world.

The majority of the immigrants who are illiterate come here to supply the demand for unskilled labor, and the mere fact of being able to read or write in their own language would not aid them one iota in their work or make them one whit more desirable to their employers. There is often expressed a fear of the growing numbers of the illiterate laborers in this country, because of their tendency to socialism or anarchy. As a matter of fact the illiterate laborer is less dangerous from this cause than the discontented laborer of some education. The illiterate immigrant can only be reached from the public platform and the anarchistic exhorter can be easily suppressed or deported, but it is not so easy to prevent the dissemination of anarchistic pamphlets, which sow the seeds of discord and fan the flame of discontent in the heart of the laborer who can read.

Much has been written of the great proportion of criminals and paupers which is made up of aliens. In accepting statements of this character, it is well to take into consideration the fact that position in life has much to do with the tendency to commit crime, and that our immigrants necessarily begin life at the lowest rung of the ladder. Paupers and criminals will ever come in the greatest proportion from the tenement dwellers of our crowded cities. The unfortunates, regardless of race, who are exposed to the hardships of the tenement and temptations of the slum, may be expected to furnish the largest proportion of inmates for our penal and charitable institutions. Statistics comparing the tendency to pauperism and criminality of the foreign born with that of natives, are apt to be misleading. These statistics almost invariably fail to take account of the predominating influence of sex and age upon crime. It can be demonstrated that the vast majority of criminals are of the male sex and between the ages of 20 and 45 years. The males exceed the females among immigrants in the proportion of 2.5 to 1, and about 75 per cent, are between the ages of 15 to 40. Persons less than 15 seldom are criminals and the immense number of natives below that age contribute few to the number of criminals, but help greatly to reduce the criminal average in the total native population. The great majority of immigrants, on the other hand, are of the sex and age which predispose to crime. It is also a fact that before our laws were made strict, and rigidly enforced, thousands of paupers, cripples and criminals were shipped here from Europe, and the effect of these upon our institutional statistics can be imagined, but should not be charged to the immigrant of to-day.

Even if the immigrant could be eliminated from our social problem, Utopia would not be with us. The lowly place now occupied by the foreign born, the lowest stratum of our social formation, would still exist, and would then be made up of urban degenerates or native failures from the rural districts. Idealists seem to think that the immigrant is wholly responsible for the slum with its crime and pauperism. The responsibility for the slum can be divided between money-grasping property owners and an indifferent puerile civic administration. The immigrant finds the tenements and the slums already established when he arrives and is the victim and not the cause of them.

The tendency of foreign-born towards cities, as places of permanent residence, is a well-known and widely discussed social problem. The real distribution of our immigrants is merely indicated by the destination given by newly-arrived aliens at Ellis Island, and the more accurate knowledge of their places of residence here is given by the United States census returns. Immigrants at Ellis Island may give New York as their destination, yet after a short time go to Wisconsin, Texas or Louisiana. Others destined for the far west may never proceed farther than the Atlantic seaboard, but the United States census finds them in their permanent homes, wherever they may be, from Maine to California, from Alaska to Florida. This tendency of the foreign born to crowd our large cities is not of recent development. It has been the case ever since our cities attained great size. The percentage of foreign born in our country is not greater than it was thirty or forty years ago; in fact it can be said to be decreasing, as shown in the following tables:

Year. Total Foreign Population. Per cent, of Foreign Population.
1860 4,136,175 15.04
1870 5,567,229 14.44
1880 6,679,943 13.32
1890 9,249,547 14.77
1900 10,341,246 13.6 

Inclination for city life is not confined to any particular race, nor to the alien alone. All races contribute to our crowded cities, some of course more constantly than others, but the best and the worst are alike fully represented. The congestion in the cities is increased also by our own native born rural population, which furnishes an ever increasing quota to the army of city dwellers.

The great number of foreign born inmates of insane asylums throughout the country indicates that in the past too little restriction was placed on the mentally defective, and that the opportunity afforded by an inspection at the port of entrance was too scanty to be of much value. A man mentally oblique or subject to periods of insanity would, without doubt, pass the inspectors at the port of landing, if he was at that time rational and quiet. Epileptics, too, had an excellent chance of being admitted, their rejection depending on the remote possibility of their having a paroxysm while passing the inspectors. An anarchist in passing the officers would of course be docile and quiet, and his detection extremely difficult.

Mr. Goodwin Brown, attorney for the New York State Commission of Lunacy, stated before the Senate Committee on Immigration, Washington, 1902, that although only 25 per cent, of the population of the state of New York were foreign born, 50 per cent, of the inmates of the State Insane Asylum were foreigners. He also stated that this excess is not alone exhibited in New York statistics, but that an excess of 17 per cent, existed throughout the entire country of foreign born insane over the percentage of foreign born population. That these mentally defective persons were sent formerly in large numbers by persons living in Europe is scarcely open to question, but the period of government supervision of, and of power to deport, the landed alien, has been extended to two years (Act of 1903). Under this wise provision, an insane person of foreign birth, upon admission to an asylum, is investigated, and if landed within two years can be deported. The same clause covers the deportation of idiots and epileptics, so that we are now much better protected against these burdens than ever before. An additional protection is given by that part of Section 2, Law of 1903, which places in the excluded classes 'persons who have been insane within five years previous, and persons who have had two or more attacks of insanity at any time previously.'

Immigrants established years ago a reputation for bringing in epidemic diseases. They have played their part in the past in outbreaks of typhus, smallpox and cholera, but with the disappearance of the old immigrant sailing ships, the advent of the swift, clean ocean steamships and efficient modern methods of quarantine and prevention of disease, the immigrant to-day as a carrier of epidemic disease no longer causes us apprehension. The relation of the immigrant to the public health has already been discussed in an article in The Popular Science Monthly, and it is only necesary here to refer to diseases peculiar to, or prevalent among immigrants, as one of the social effects of immigration. Of these, trachoma, a contagious form of granular lids, is one of the most obstinate and destructive diseases of the eye. Oculists from all parts of the country claim that this disease was introduced by immigrants and disseminated by them, from foci of the disease, established in their tenements.

The disease is now epidemic in the poorer districts of many of our cities, but since 1897 has been one of the causes for exclusion of aliens. About the same time favus, a loathsome contagious disease of the scalp, was made a cause for exclusion. Favus is a typical immigrant disease and can not spread among persons of cleanly habits.

These two diseases, favus and trachoma, constitute 97 per cent, of the total cases of loathsome or dangerous contagious disease found in arriving aliens. After they were classed as causes for exclusion they were responsible for more determined effort to evade our laws than had ever before been exhibited. Various means of escaping inspection were resorted to, the placing of diseased steerage aliens in the cabin (cabin passengers were not inspected until 1898), the use of false naturalization papers, entrance by way of Canada or Mexico, were all employed as modes of entrance. One by one, these gateways have been closed, and with the increasing vigilance of trained medical officers at our ports and upon the Canadian and Mexican frontiers, we shall be amply protected in the future from this menace.

The ill effects of immigration upon politics are all traceable to the evils of criminal or careless naturalization. These evils are most in evidence in the large cities, but a recent investigation by the attorney general of the United States, shows that the loose administration of the naturalization laws extends to the smaller cities and rural communities as well. President Roosevelt in his message to the Fifty-eighth Congress, December, 1903, forcibly presented the picture of fraudulent naturalization and its baneful effect upon the moral health of the body politic.

The federal grand jury, recently in session in New York in relation to the naturalization of aliens, adopted resolutions condemning the wholesale manufacture and sale of counterfeit and altered certificates of naturalization, and recommended new legislation to insure uniformity of practise in the various states, an engraved certificate and other precautions to prevent counterfeiting.

Mr. C. V. C. Van Deusen, special examiner in regard to naturalization, in his report to the attorney-general, November, 1903, says in part:

The evidence is overwhelming that the general administration of the naturalization laws has been contemptuous, perfunctory, indifferent, lax and unintelligent, and in many cases, especially in inferior state courts, corrupt.

I find that it is and has been for years past the practise of judges of state courts to hold evening sessions of court at the behest of political leaders for the sole purpose of naturalizing hundreds of aliens for political purposes with a full knowledge on the part of the judges that the aliens have been bribed to become citizens and voters by the payment of their naturalization fees by the political organizations.

In those states in which the naturalization fee is not fixed by statute, or where the fees are retained by the judge or clerk, the 'naturalization business' of political organizations is a matter of competitive bidding by local courts and is awarded to the lowest bidders.

In those states which prescribe by statute the naturalization fee, which must be accounted for by the clerk, it is the general practise of political organizations to select a specific court presided over by a judge of like political faith, to which the aliens, 'rounded up' by the district workers, are sent with official cards addressed to the clerk of the court requesting that final papers be issued to the bearer. These cards are afterwards redeemed by the political organization by the payment of the amount of the fees represented by them. In many cases clerks of courts demand advance payment of these fees from the political organization, having a due regard for the fact, based on previous experience, that it is often impossible to collect the money from the political committees after an election has passed.

In many cases clerks of courts remit the naturalization fees in cases of aliens sent by their political organizations as their contributions to the campaign fund, while exacting the last cent permitted by law from aliens not 'indorsed' by such organization.

In many instances the judge passing upon the qualifications of aliens for citizenship sent him by his political organization is a candidate for reelection, the result of the election being often decided by the vote of these aliens. Under these circumstances it is not strange to find that little or no attempt is made by such judge to ascertain the fitness of the alien for citizenship and that the number rejected is practically nil. It is a common thing for an alien rejected in one court to be admitted in another court on the same day. In one case I found that a judge had held an impromptu session of court late at night in a railroad station while waiting for a train for the purpose of conferring citizenship upon a number of aliens whose votes were needed at an election.

In another case a judge entered an order revoking certificates of citizenship granted to seven aliens by him, under the impression that they had been sent by his political organization, but who were afterwards repudiated by that organization.The order recited, as a reason for the revocation, the fact that the fees had not been paid. In many instances I found that it was common knowledge that clerks of courts had issued, in the aggregate, hundreds of certificates of citizenship to aliens who never appeared in court, and afterwards forged the court records to make it appear that they had been admitted in open court.

Other clerks have furnished certificates blank as to names of aliens, but bearing the seal of the court and official signatures to members of his political organization, who have filled in the names of aliens, the clerk subsequently entering them in the court records as having been admitted in open court.

Mr. Van Deusen in summing up the situation makes the following statement and prediction: "These evils and frauds have existed for years, exist to-day, and will continue to exist and multiply until radical and stringent changes are made in the naturalization laws, and a strict supervision of their administration imposed."

It is unfair to charge to the alien the political corruption, and cheapening of the rights of citizenship, resulting from this condition of fraudulent or careless naturalization. The fault is in our laws, and to an even greater extent in the lax administration of them.

The attorney general, in his report for 1903, outlines a plan for legislation which would undoubtedly prove effective in eradicating these evils. He presents the following recommendations:

1. The omission from the statutes as they now stand of the question of intent and guilty knowledge where an offender has in his possession a fraudulent certificate of naturalization unlawfully obtained in any manner whatever, or where a fraudulent certificate so held and obtained is used for any purpose

whatever. Such a change would permit prosecutions for the possession of a fraudulent certificate unlawfully obtained, or for the use of a fraudulent certificate irrespective of the intent of the oath of the applicant and witness on the certificate, which is to be regarded as presenting merely a question of fact.

2. That the law be amended so as to compel an alien at the time of applying for citizenship to present from the appropriate immigration authorities a certificate showing his age and the date of his arrival and containing also his physical description similar to that in a passport. This certificate should form a part of the court records, like his application for citizenship.

3. The petition and application and all certificates should be uniform throughout the United States, and the final certificate of citizenship issued by any court throughout the country should contain a physical description of the applicant and holder on the back thereof, for the purpose of identification and to avoid substitution.

4. The certificates should be printed in Washington under government direction, containing a watermark similar to United States obligations, and the unlawful possession of or counterfeiting of such certificates should be made an offense against the United States. The blank certificates should be distributed to the various courts on requisition, and each one should be properly numbered and recorded.

5. The power of issuing certificates of naturalization should be withdrawn by congress from the various state courts and should be restricted to United States courts.

6. All administrative matters relating to naturalization should be committed to one central government bureau.

7. It should be made a crime against the United States to sell or transfer declarations of intention, and it should be provided that after sufficient proof has been submitted to a court, establishing the fact that a certificate is fraudulent in any respect, said certificate shall be canceled of record.

These legislative suggestions of the attorney-general are as comprehensive as they are timely, and will probably be accepted by Congress as a basis for curative legislation. The card index system now employed by our immigration officials, for recording the name and date of arrival of each and every alien, could be elaborated so as to contain a physical description as well. This would prove valuable as a means of identification as outlined in the second suggestion of the attorney-general.

 

Economic Effects of Immigration.

The economic effects of immigration can not be accurately judged by the total number of immigrants landed each year at our ports. Hundreds of thousands go back to Europe each year, and a very large proportion of those traveling in the steerage to Europe are returning aliens. In spite of our immense total of yearly steerage arrivals, the percentage of foreign born in the United States is not increasing and is slightly less than it was ten years ago. Therefore in considering the effect of numbers, our judgment should be based upon census reports of the foreign born population. In regard to occupation and geographical distribution, we must also judge the alien after he is established here, rather than by the statement he makes to the immigration officials upon arrival. During years of industrial depression, the number of aliens returning to Europe is much increased, and while no claim is made that these birds of passage are desirable immigrants, it must be admitted that they do not add to our burdens in times of trouble by swelling the army of the unemployed. On the other hand, we have to consider the excess of males of competitive age (15 to 45) among immigrants, and their unequal distribution. Their geographical distribution is such that 86 per cent, are settled in the states east of the Mississippi and north of the Ohio rivers. Their distribution by trades or occupations is also unequal, as shown by the relatively small number engaged in tilling the soil, compared with the enormous number engaged in mining and sweat shop occupations.

One of the chief offenses charged to the immigrant is reduction of our wage standards. There are other factors more potent in depressing wages than immigration, some of which are not connected with it in any way; others are associated with it so intimately that it is difficult to separate them from it. These factors are obscured in the minds of many by the fact of our increasing immigration, and some are prone to charge the sum of their effects to immigration alone.

Cycles of business depression seem to reach us almost periodically, as they do every other country. These are hard to explain and can not be ascribed to any one particular cause.

Immigration falls off very noticeably during these periods, and, in addition, the stream of aliens leaving our ports for Europe is vastly increased. During such periods of industrial depression the wages of the toiler are necessarily reduced. It is not an oversupply of immigrant labor which is responsible for the stagnation, but an unwillingness on the part of the capitalist to invest money in enterprises whose success is doubtful, owing to commercial uncertainty. It is not a lessening of demand, owing to over supply, but often a complete absence of demand for labor, with abandonment of all attempts at production, due to lack of confidence in financial conditions.

The influence of improved machinery upon wage depression can not be over estimated, although its introduction is closely associated with immigration. Improved machinery would probably have been introduced and would have had its effect upon wages in the entire absence of immigration. The use of improved machinery made possible the employment of thousands of unskilled laborers under the direction of a few skilled workers, where formerly the work was done entirely by skilled laborers or mechanics. Its use immensely increased the power of production, and created a new demand for unskilled labor. The effect of machinery has been felt upon wages in the textile trades, woodworking, steel and iron industries, soft coal mining and other occupations. The advent of improved machinery was inevitable, and no labor organization, however strong, could indefinitely clog the wheels of progress by postponing its employment. The immigrant is not responsible for its introduction, for it has been introduced in countries with no immigration problem. He simply took advantage of the demand for labor thus created and played no small part in the wonderful growth of our mining and manufacturing industries. His coming no doubt facilitated the introduction of improved machinery, and it is probable that without this unskilled labor our present position as a producing power would not have been reached for many years to come. The employment of women and children in textile, leather and tobacco trades has demoralized the rate of compensation for male workers in those occupations. Many immigrant women and children take advantage of this practise, but it existed before the immigrants were employed in this way, and to-day thousands of native women and children are employed in factories and mills, especially in the south. The practise is here to stay, and beyond the limitation by law of the age of child workers, can not be stopped. The immigrant's wife and children are not responsible for it, but by means of it increase the family earnings and raise their standard of living.

A depressing influence upon wages is exerted by the competition of the rural factory or shop. The manufacturer in the rural community often receives a bonus, exemption from taxes, free water or other inducements from the municipality. He finds abundance of cheap labor, men, women and children, who can afford to work below the wage scale of the city, because of the lower cost of living. He is thus enabled to place his products upon the market at a cost much below that of the city-made product, and to compete with him the city manufacturer is forced to reduce his wage scale. This competition of the rural shop or factory is felt in tobacco, cotton, silk, leather and many other industries. Many of the industries of the south are of a similar competing character. The wages paid, the standard of living and cost of necessaries are all much below those of the North. This cheap native labor of the south is felt most as a competing factor by the textile industries of New England, who are forced to secure cheap labor for their own salvation.

The difficulty of maintaining efficient labor organization is the cause ascribed by many labor leaders for wage depression. In this difficulty the immigrant has played an important part. The failure of the strike of 1875 in the coal mines, and of the great Homestead strike in the steel and iron industry, is explained by the introduction of alien labor. After years of effort the aliens in the mining fields have been organized successfully and are now, for their own betterment, heart and soul in the movement for living wages. The cheap native labor in the soft coal mines has caused the organizer much more trouble than the alien laborers.

Most of the skilled trades are able to maintain their unions and their wage-standards in spite of foreign immigration. In some occupations, however, the stream of skilled alien addition is so great and so constant, that disorganization and confusion result in the trade, and wages drop to a minimum. In this confusion and disorganization caused by the influx of foreign skilled labor, the clothing trade suffered more than any other industry. So constant has been the stream of foreign tailors to this country that they have now almost monopolized this occupation. The wage scale has descended to a point where the American can no longer compete, and he has been finally forced out of the business as a workman. A revolution has taken place in the manufacture of clothing. The wholesale manufacture of ready-made clothing has superseded the output of the individual tailor shops. Under the present system of wholesale manufacture of ready-made clothing, the work is subdivided into many branches. Formerly a tailor made and completed the garment himself, by reason of skill which it took four or five years to acquire; now the garment passes through the hands of a dozen or more workers, who are each skilled in some particular branch of the industry. Their skill is acquired in a few months, and they can only do certain kinds of work. This subdivision of labor makes it possible to train and employ almost at once the thousands of new arrivals, and out of the employment of these new arrivals and the conditions resulting from their ever increasing competition arise the sweat shop and its evils. The sweating system produces a condition of affairs in which the operative performs the maximum amount of work for the maximum wage, the length of his working day only limited by his endurance, and, even when he extends himself to the limit, in many cases he can earn scarcely enough to keep him from starvation. This work in addition is performed under the most unsanitary conditions, often in the foul vitiated atmosphere of tenement rooms which are used alike for working, eating and sleeping.

Effective organization is difficult, well-nigh impossible among these clothing workers because of the influx of new arrivals and the employment of women and children in the so-called home work. Legislation has done much to ameliorate sweat shop evils. The workshop in the home is seen much less frequently than formerly, and is fast disappearing. A certain amount of work upon clothing will inevitably be done at home, called 'finishing,' by women who are not entirely dependent upon it, but who increase the aggregate earnings of the family in this way. Much of the work in the clothing trade is now done in shops, especially fitted for the purpose. These shops are more amenable to inspection under our factory laws, and a great deal has been done by state inspectors in this direction.

Another institution charged to immigration, of which we hear almost as much as we do of the sweat shops, is the so-called 'padrone system' The padrone system is simply the extortion practised by unlicensed Italian employment agents, who, by their knowledge of our language, are in a position to oppress their credulous, ignorant fellow countrymen in a variety of ways. The worst features of the system have been eliminated through the enforcement of our laws, and the remnant of the system would disappear if the Italian immigrants could be distributed to the rural districts, instead of being at the mercy of padroni in the crowded Italian quarters of our cities.

It will be seen that the competition of the newly arrived unskilled laborer with native Americans is indirect. He competes directly only with other alien laborers, who are already settled in the country. On the other hand, the alien skilled laborer competes directly with native Americans. In some trades the foreign arrivals who are skilled come singly or in small groups, and can be taken into the labor organizations without trouble and no reduction in wages results, but when the stream of skilled arrivals of any particular trade is of large size and constant, organization is impracticable. The new arrivals have to meet in turn the competition of the thousands of the same caliber and often of the same race, who follow close on their heels; demoralization results and wage reduction is inevitable.

The establishment here of foreign standards of living is unquestionably detrimental. The immigrant is tempted by the wages paid laborers here, which are four or five times greater than those paid laborers in Europe; but when he lands here he finds that not only is the class of food which he used in Europe more costly, but that he must increase his dietary to enable him to perform the work required of him. To withstand the strenuous effort, and the output of energy essential to American industrial life, the alien requires meat and other nutritives, in addition to the fruit and vegetables which sufficed for him at home. If he does not thus fortify himself for the struggle he will break down under the strain. The standard of living among immigrants is of course below American standards, but it is being constantly elevated, with a rapidity, among our alien population as a whole, in inverse ratio to the increase of yearly arrivals. Among individual families the elevation of the standard of living keeps pace with their Americanization and their success in life. The immigrant's daily contact with Americans, coupled with the ideas absorbed by his children in American schools, is a potent factor in raising this standard.