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else the hyphen may
returned to Europe after completing do, at least it is a thorn in the bed varied terms of labor, and of the seven that has aroused the country to a realiza- millions remaining, only two and a half tion of the imperative nature of the immi- millions have given formal evidence of . gration problem. In the activities of any desire for citizenship. hyphenated societies and a foreign-lan- Two thirds of the seven millions have guage press, expressed by seditious attacks never learned the English language with upon the Government and bold disrup- any degree of mastery, nor is the money tions of industry, there is plain evidence earned by this army of foreigners invested that the melting-pot has not been melting. in the United States or even deposited in The bland assumption that we are one American banks.
In some years
the country and one people has been given a amount sent abroad by aliens has reached rude shock by bitter statistics filled with the huge total of $300,000,000. proof that great masses of aliens have One third quitting the land that was failed to transfer their allegiance, a do- to have been their home, two thirds holdmestic peril 'that threatens the perma- ing aloof from citizenship and common innence of American institutions as gravelyterest, two thirds unable or unwilling to as any menace of foreign foe.
learn the tongue of their adopted counIn the last decade, 1905 to 1914 in- try, and the great majority rushing their clusive, over ten million immigrants en- savings back to Europe! No record of tered the United States with presumed failure was ever written so plainly. intent to make this their home and the At other times, when upheavals have land of their devotion. Three millions developed the lack of a process of quick
and wholesome assimilation, it has been Jersey, and Illinois. Ignorance and nethe habit to put entire blame upon the cessity drive them there, and ignorance ignorance, incapacity, and ingratitude of and necessity keep them there. Three the alien, holding steadfastly that all fault fourths of the immigrants in the United is to be found in the material that comes States have never been able to move away to the melting-pot, and none in the pot from the covert that first received them. itself. But is this true? Can it be said Rooted in the dead soil of isolation, povthat our treatment of the immigrant has erty, and illiteracy, there is no hope of been of a kind calculated to win his per- wholesome growth. manent allegiance or to convince him of Just as the Government does not opthe desirability of a complete Americani- erate any agency of distribution, so is there zation? In a day of crisis, is it wise to lack of the protective machinery that cling to old prejudices in the face of new might guard these bewildered strangers facts; in plainer words, to save our face from the exploitations of the fake employrather than to save American institutions? ment-bureau, the labor-agent, and the
At almost every port of entry the im- padrone. Such as escape the tenements, migration buildings are old and inade- the mill, or the mine, are huddled in requate, the equipment outgrown, and the mote construction-camps, where they live working staff so small that inspecting of- in filthy box-cars or vermin-ridden barficers have frequently been compelled to racks, removed from churches and schools labor thirty-six hours without a rest. As and without other recreation than the ina first experience in the land of promise, evitable saloon. aliens undergo detention in packed rooms Commissaries rob them, contractors and crowded hospitals, and wearisome de- cheat them, and even when they have suflays exhaust health, strength, spirit, and ficient courage to appeal to the law, atmoney.
torneys' fees and court costs prevent them Eliminating the Hebrews, fully sev- from prosecuting admittedly just claims. enty-five per cent of the immigrants come The records of the labor-bureaus in the from the agricultural districts of Europe, various States are thick with instances yet a scant ten per cent. ever reach the that prove it to be virtually a custom for land in America. The problem of em- a certain type of employer to take advanployment presses heavily upon these new tage of the ignorance and poverty of helparrivals, for eighty-three per cent. have less aliens. less than fifty dollars, and since the Gov- Much emphasis is laid upon the fact ernment possesses no machinery of distri- that the immigrants huddle in tenements, bution, the starvation-scared immigrants group by themselves in sordid colonies, make a rabbit rush for the nearest war- and live in a fashion repulsive to Ameriren the moment the gates are opened. can ideals. This is true enough. The While the rich acreage of the West lies investigations of the Immigration Comidle for lack of labor, hundreds of thou- mission brought out the fact that fully sands of farmers and farm-laborers are one half of the alien population use all of forced into the industrial centers of the their rooms as sleeping-rooms, and that East, adding to the congestion, dragging the number of persons to a room runs as down the standard of living, and demor- high as eight or ten. The slightest study, alizing the labor market generally.
however, discloses the fact that this overIn one year, while six thousand peas- crowding is not due to inclination, but to ants were going to the fertile lands in economic necessity. Washington, Kansas, Oregon, Texas, The average annual earnings of a male South Dakota, Wyoming, Arizona, Idaho, alien total $385, quite obviously a sum and New Mexico, over two hundred thou- that does not permit the maintenance of a sand were herded into the mills and fac- family in a decent, sanitary environment. tories of New York, Pennsylvania, New Women, forced into industry to help the men, lend themselves even more readily get a position in the skilled trades, barred to exploitation, two thirds of them receiv- from the unions, subjected to injustice ing less than $300 a year. When wages and oppression, and forced into the moare pooled, the resulting $685 still falls notonous drudgeries that break body and short of the $900 that federal experts spirit. have fixed upon as the annual amount Every survey yet made of immigrant necessary for the support of a family. colonies proves that increased earning Since the wages of both man and woman power and the acquirement of English are are not sufficient to maintain an indepen- quickly followed by better homes, social dent, self-respecting form of family life, ambition, and a larger civic interest. The the children are put to work, and the Ford increase in wages, for instance, resleeping- and living-rooms of the house are sulted in an almost immediate improvepacked with boarders in order that the ment of living conditions, showing that family income may be brought up to an the aliens were not huddling in tenements existence level.
from choice. This low-wage scale is not so much due It is not only the case that America has to lack of industry and capacity as to the been guilty of many sins of omission in alien's ignorance of the English language, connection with the immigrant, but there and his consequent unfamiliarity with are also crimes of commission. The attiAmerican methods and institutions. Not
tude of the average native-born American only this, but there are many immigrants is one of superiority, contempt, and even who cannot read or write even in their hostility, making it difficult indeed for the own language. The census report for immigrant to free himself from isolation 1910 showed that in the preceding ten or to gain direct contact with American years 1,918,825 illiterates over the age life. In the textile towns of New Engof fourteen were admitted.
land, the factory districts of the Atlantic Owing to compulsory education laws, seaboard, and the various mining comthe question of illiteracy is not one of munities, the immigrants are forced into great importance in the second genera- colonies, and barred from participation in tion; but what of the adult alien without native affairs by a very definite wall of the education upon which he must depend dislike and contempt. Even the churches for protection and prosperity ? Little or make small effort to break down this barnothing is done for him, and as a result rier behind which the alien crouches, gazhe huddles with those of his own nation- ing sullenly at the land that has failed ality, remains the victim of padrones, and him in its promise of freedom and fraif he does become naturalized, it is at the ternity. instigation of some ward boss eager for In view of these indisputable facts, is the control of another vote.
it possible to insist that the failure of the Night schools, conducted by private or- American melting-pot is the fault of the ganizations, are not the answer. After alien entirely? If the hyphen persists as a day of drudgery, the mind of the immi- a menacing feature of American life, does grant reacts to the fatigue of the body, the blame lie at the door of those expecand as if this was not obstacle enough, tant thousands who come to the United these classes take no account of cultural, States in hope and faith or in the cruel racial, and class differences. Some of the neglects and exploitations that flow from aliens are bright, others stupid, some illit- the greeds and indifferences of the nativeerate and others highly educated in their born? own tongue, but all are bundled into one It is a problem that must be faced, nor group, with the result that the dull are is there any likelihood that it will become discouraged and the educated disgusted. less acute. The defeat of every attempt Without a knowledge of English the alien to establish a literacy test is proof concluis loath to leave his own people, unable to sive that the American people are opposed