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The CHAIRMAN. But you could not get this force at work inside of a month?
Mr. Watson. It might be possible, because we have the agencies already established.
The CHAIRMAN. If you were given $750,000 with which to establish this kind of a service, you could not possibly get it all established in a month?
Mr. Watsox. Not in a month-no—but we could make more progress than we could with a new activity, because we have most of these agencies already in existence.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you ample quarters for any force you may employ in Washington?
Mr. Watson. You mean under this item?
Mr. Watson. Not ample quarters, but we could provide space and get along
The CHAIRMAX. Did you not get more space in your building than was anticipated ?
Secretary Wilson. Yes; we got one more floor than we anticipated. The CHAIRMAN. Then you ought to have a lot more room.
Secretary Wilson. We have no more room than we should have, but we can place quite a number of people before we will be as badly crowded as we were in the other building,
The CHAIRMAN. So you would not need to spend any money for rent!
Secretary Wilson. Not immediately; we do not anticipate spending any money for rent immediately.
The CHAIRMAX. As a matter of fact, because of the conditions arising out of the war, could you not use a larger sum out of your immigration fund for this purpose!
Mr. Watson. We have just had to increase the immigration force rery materially because of the new law.
The CHAIRMAX. But you got a lot of additional employees because of the new immigration act which you do not need or can not use?
Secretary WILSON. I have not been able to find them, Mr. Chairman. We let a great many of our men go, those who resigned and those who were dismissed for a period. However, we have had a clamor from along the Mexican border and the Canadian border for an increased force. Then, when we undertake to cut down the force, sav, at Ellis Island or at Boston, we are met immediately with this statement, that while there are not as many immigrants coming in there are practically as many vessels coming in, and that those vessels have to be examined.
The CITAIRMAN. But you do not have as many immigrants?
Secretary Wilson. No; but you must have a force there in order to examine the vessels.
The CHAIRMAN. Does not the size of the force depend, to some extent, upon the number of immigrants?
Secretary Wilson. Yes; and we have not as large a force as we did have; we have cut it down quite considerably. As you recall, we voluntarily came up here and said, “ You can take $200,000 off”; and I thought I had nothing else to do but say that there were not as many people coming in as there used to be and that we can get
in a way:
along with fewer people and presto chango it would be done, but there are a great many objections, and some reasonable objections,
Mr. Watson. The history of immigration has always been that with a reduction in immigration there was a corresponding increase in the rigor of inspection. For instance, years ago at New York, the first-cabin passengers were not inspected at all, and it is only in recent years that that has been done.
The CHAIRMAN. The number of persons coming from Europe has very greatly decreased, necessarily?
Secretary Wilson. That is true.
The CHAIRMAN. In the first place, instead of trying to get rid of them, they endeavor to keep them there.
Secretary Wilson. It has very materially reduced; it has been reduced from about a million and a quarter to less than a quarter of a million. However, we are getting a little from Russia yet; we are getting scme from Mediterranean ports, and we are getting some from all along the western shores of Europe; we are also getting some from the Cape Verde Islands, and of those we got very few before.
IMPORTATION OF LABOR FROM MEXICO.
(See p. 200.)
The CHAIRMAN. In that connection, Mr. Secretary, if this bill gets into the House the action of the department in suspending the immigration law as far as it affects the bringing in of certain classes of labor from Mexico will no doubt be discussed, and I wish you would state what you have done or what the situation is.
Secretary Wilson. The law places in the hands of the SecretaryI do not recall the section now
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Will you put that provision in the record, please?
Secretary Wilson. Yes. It places in the hands of the Secretary the discretion to admit temporarily, under such regulations as he may prescribe, aliens who are seeking admission into the United States. It is possible that Congress did not intend that that discretion should be used in the manner in which it has been used, but the authority, in my judgment, is clear in the language of the act itself. We found this condition existing: That in Texas, in southern California, and in parts of Arizona they had been dependent, to a very great extent, for their seasonal labor, in carrying on farming operations, on labor from Mexico.
The CHAIRMAN. That came in temporarily and then went back?
Secretary Wilson. Yes. With the coming of the war there were large numbers of Mexicans who were residents of the United States and who had been permanently residents of the United States and who feared they would be drafted; therefore they returned to Mexico to avoid that draft and that intensified the labor situation along the border. Application was made to the department to find out whether or not there was some method by which relief could be obtained. The governor of the State of Texas was one of those who asked that some method of relief be devised. We utilized this section of the law, to which I have referred, and which places this discretion in the hands of the Secretary, to permit Mexicans to come in temporarily for agricultural purposes, in order to meet the emergency then existing. We felt this way in connection with it: That the question of balancing labor, the number that would go into one kind of employment and the number that would go into another kind of employment, would continue at all periods during the year except in seasonal occupations; that in agriculture, unless you got a man prepared in season, the seed sown in season, and the crop harvested in season, you lost it entirely, and that you could not wait for the slow processes of the readjustment of wages and conditions in order to get the labor supply, if you wanted to get the fullest possible results of your agriculture, and in order to meet that situation we exercised our discretion under that provision of the law to admit these people temporarily, under regulations that provided for their registration, a photograph being taken of them and held in duplicate, one held by the Immigration Service, in order that we could locate them, and with a provision
The CHAIRMAN (interposing). Is this the provision, Mr. Secretary:
Prorided further, That the Commissioner General of Immigration, with the approval of the Secretary of Labor, shall issue rules and prescribe conditions, including exaction of such bonds as may be necessary, to control and regulate the admission and return of otherwise inadmissible aliens applying for temporary admission.
Secretary Wilson. We utilize that proviso of law for the purpose of admitting temporarily men who are coming for agricultural purposes.
Jr. Cannon. That does not confine it to agricultural purposes ?
Secretary Wilsox. No. It places in the discretion of the Secretary what the conditions shall be. In exercising that discretion I came to the conclusion that in continuous occupations the readjustment would be going on continuously, in season and out of season, but that in agricultural pursuits unless you got the workman at the moment when the season was on it would be valueless and the readjustment could not go on continuously.
Mr. Caxxox. Under the law that gives you that power; you could Jet them in for any purpose whatever ?
Secretary Wilson. For any purpose within the discretion of the Secretary; temporarily and under such regulations as he may prescribe. I think that is all I care to say. What was in my mind tras helping out the situation with regard to agriculture, because that was seasonal and had to be cared for at the moment or it could not be cared for during the season.
Mr. Canxox. Do you use that discretion in mining and in the textile factories?
Secretary Wilson. No; not for anything except agricultural purposes. That has been one of the conditions laid down under which they could come in.
Nr. Cannon. The law does not say "For agricultural purposes”?
Secretary WILSON. No; but it says within the discretion of the Secretary.
Mr. CANNON. Precisely.
Secretary Wilson. The Secretary has used that discretion in that way; he has said that they may come in temporarily for agricultural purposes.
Mr. CANNON. What you claim under that law for agricultural purposes you could do for mining purposes or for textile purposes?
Secretary Wilson. Precisely; if it was in the discretion of the Secretary, why, he could do so.
The CHAIRMAN. Temporarily?
Secretary Wilson. They are to be returned at the discretion of the Secretary, but not longer than the conclusion of the war.
Mr. Caxxon. The conclusion of the war?
Mr. Cannon. Would it be temporary if the war lasted two or three years?
Secretary Wilson. They might still be admitted for agricultural purposes, unless the Secretary, in his discretion, in the meantime changed it.
Mr. Cannon. In the meantime they need not go back to Mexico. Secretary Wilson. No, sir.
INCREASED NUMBER OF DECLARATIONS, ETC.
The CHAIRMAN. The next item is “Naturalization Service," and the appropriation is $275,000 and you are asking for $150,000 additional
Mr. Crist. That estimate was made in April upon a carefully considered survey of the naturalization work. At that time we were in receipt of an appropriation of $275,000, of which $214,000 in round numbers was available for the naturalization field force, the naturalization examiners, and around $60,000 was expended for clerical assistance to naturalization clerks. That estimate was based upon an increase of over 100 per cent in the filing of naturalization papers all over the United States. The increase in money in percentage is far below the actual increase in the work.
The usual number of naturalization papers coming into the bureau during the past year has averaged each month about 17,000 in declarations of intention, and about 9,000 in petitions for naturalization. Commencing in February, the naturalization business increased so that there were in round numbers about 43,000 declarations taken out. In April about the same number. In May and June, we received over 30,000 declarations each month.
Mr. Byrns. An increase from what?
Mr. Crist. From about 17,000 a month. The total number of naturalization papers filed from February to May, inclusive, has been 251,000—that is, declarations of intention-while last year there were 207.000 filed during the whole year. There were 108,000 petitions filed last year, and from February to May, inclusive, four months, there were over 62,000 petitions filed. The increase in naturalization has been over 100 per cent and we ask for $150,000.
We made an estimate at that time of the needs of the examining force and found that we would need 32 additional members to the personnel of the field force. We came to that conclusion in this way: The clerks of the courts reported to us the immense increase in the volume of naturalization papers, the tremendous increase in the number of applicants. They are, have been, and are to-day, standing in line in the clerk's offices and outside of the clerk's offices, down on the street, every day. They have gone as early as 12 o'clock midnight and stood until 9 o'clock in the morning to be able to file
Mr. CANNON. Where is that, in New York?
Mr. Crist. That particular place is Philadelphia. It was not an uncommon thing to find them in line at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. We put on temporary help in the various clerks' offices, where they had exhausted the appropriation so far as being able to make them an allowance on an annual basis was concerned, and gave them temporary help to deal with the situation as best they could.
We have had requests for and allowed $59,812 to clerks of courts for approximately 52 clerks for this fiscal year. In no case have we made a greater allowance this year than we did last year.
ALLOTMENTS TO CLERKS OF COURTS.
The CHAIRMAN. Greater than the original allotment or greater than the total allotment?
Mr. CRIST. All of the allotments for this fiscal year have been based on the employment on June 30, 1917. In some cases that was a greater amount than was originally allotted them on July 1, 1916, because we increased throughout the year as much as we could in every instance.
The CHAIRMAN. In some cases it might have been less ?
Mr. CRIST. Not the amount actually allotted to them. This estimate was made when the appropriation was considered in connection with the demands upon it that had been necessitated by the increase in the work and the demands coming from the clerks of the courts and from the general public. I went over the estimate to see what would be the best plan, according to my judgment, to submit allotments for approval for this year. I thought the best thing to do would be to get the most efficient clerical force and use it as the basis. That resulted in a tentative proposition for a reduction in some places, but that was finally adjusted after the matter had been fully considered, so that the same amount of money was continued to them all during this fiscal year, I think, with two or three exceptions. There were some reductions. There were reductions in Chicago, in one court from $3,300 to $3,100 and in another court from $5,575 to $1,900. Those were the only reductions, I think.
The CHAIRMAN. How much of the $150,000 is asked for additional allowance of clerical hire for the clerks of the courts?
Mr. Crist. At the time that the estimate was made we were in receipt of requests from the clerks of the courts for—I do not know exactly the date that these came in, but at the end of June—we were in receipt from the clerks of the courts of requests aggregating $69,920 for additional clerks to those they were then employing. Of