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and relatives are anxiously awaiting her, be continued effectively by philanthropy and the government is not aware that alone. The maintenance of friendly visshe is lost. How long will it be before itors who can speak their language and both begin to look for her together? go to their homes in each of the great
At present nothing is done by the state cities is a tremendous expense — to say or federal government to meet this great nothing of the expense involved in giving defect. The states do not know who are them the immediate assistance they frecoming into them to live, or under what quently need. A part of this protection conditions. They make no effort to get should fall upon the railways. Matrons into touch with them or help them to at the stations and on the immigrant become citizens. What so simple as for trains, to protect and look after the comeach state to have its department or fort of women and children and to safebureau, and receive from the federal guard young girls, are an essential part government the names and addresses of of an adequate system of protection. all immigrants coming in, and to visit But what of the many thousands who them and make an effort to make them come to New York city? The real daninto citizens ? How else can the compul- ger begins when the girl lands at the sory education law be enforced, when Battery. The hangers-on there grab her there are hundreds of children coming in baggage and try to get her to go with who are never on the school roll and can- them. The missionaries sometimes have not be traced ? How else can the child- great difficulty in getting the girl to their labor laws be enforced, when children homes, as these hangers-on speak her lanslip from the station to the factory and guage and try to warn her against her are reported above the age which they new-found friends. If this fails, they may may look to be? The ship manifest, with follow her, get her address, and visit her the ages, would enlighten many duped later. The government has tried to break inspectors if the state had it from the up the robbery and graft which goes on federal ports. Such bureaus could also at the Battery, but it has no authority in coöperate with other states and notify the city, and thus far has not succeeded. them of removals.
There has been no body of information This defect in the protection of women showing what happens to the immigrant is so fraught with moral dangers that woman after she leaves Ellis Island for Commissioner Watchorn has given it spe- her destination in the city. Four things cial attention. Upon his recommendation the Inter-Municipal Research Committee an agent has been appointed at Ellis deemed it essential to learn: how and Island. A group of representative or- where she lives; whether she needs work, ganizations at various large distributing and how she obtains it; whether she is points have been interested by the Inter- illiterate, and what are her chances for Municipal Research Committee, and the learning English; and, lastly, her amuseexperiment is being tried of having friend- ments. ly visitors meet these young women on Through the coöperation of the Comarrival, or immediately afterward in their missioners of Immigration, the following homes, and help them to find work, good programme was followed in four cities: lodgings, night schools, or whatever they Lists of the arriving girls were obtained, most need, and to give them a fair chance. giving the nationality, age, date of arThe system of distribution and protection rival, and name and address of the of women in transit is being studied with person to whom they are released. No a view to recommending that a state and girls released to immigrant homes or national protective policy be adopted. charitable institutions were visited, but The great number of arriving immigrant only girls normally released to friends, girls makes it impossible that this should relatives, or strangers, and who had to
take the struggle for existence in the doubt that a system of protection and city.
assistance is needed for immigrant woEach girl was then visited at her home men, and that it should extend over the by a woman who spoke her language and first three years of their residence. was of her religion, and the following The
least this can include is: information was obtained: living con- (1) Housing. - These girls should be
ditions, including kind of house, num- furnished with information in their own ber of rooms, number in family, number language about housing, boarding-houses, of lodgers, cleanliness and sanitation, cost of living, transportation facilities, sleeping accommodations, rate of lodg- etc. As a result of the study above ing, kind of lodging; object in coming; detailed it has been possible to change whether ticket was purchased here and by many of them to better lodgings, for the whom; employment abroad and wages; same money they were formerly paying. present employment, including the kind, For instance, in four rooms, living with place, wages, hours; whether steady a family of five, were six boarders, four work, how obtained, and whether night of whom were men. Some of the girls had work is done; and a general statement of no prepared food whatever, eating cold conditions not included in the above. things they bought, when close by was a When the first visit to her home was countrywoman of theirs willing to cook made, if the girl was found to need help food for them if they lodged with her. of any kind one of two things was done. New York City is the most dangerous Preferably, wherever possible, the organ- city in the country in the matter of housization, institution, or person already do ing green immigrant women, for its vice ing such work was asked to help the girl is not chiefly in one section, as in Chiand to report results. Where there was cago, but nearly every street is honeyno such existing group or person, aid combed with it; and next to the rewas given directly, or new individuals spectable tenement or apartment may be were interested in being friendly to the found a den of immorality. The danger girl. At first it was intended merely to is a hundred-fold greater because the girl study conditions, but so many girls were thinks she is safe; in reality the need for found needing work, lodging, help, and protection in choosing her home is very protection, that the friendly work was great. undertaken in connection with it.
The question has often been asked, Up to the present time, this study has Would immigrant girls live in hotels and been carried on in the various cities clubs if provided ? The question can through the representative organizations safely be answered in the affirmative, of the Inter-Municipal Research Com- provided that religion and red tape are mittee and other coöperating organizac' omitted, and a woman who speaks their tions: as the Research Department of language and understands their customs, the Woman's Educational and Industrial needs, habits, and traditions, is at the Union in Boston, Research and Protective head of the house and surrounds it with Association in Philadelphia, Woman's the atmosphere they need. If a number Trade Union League in Chicago, and the of women could be engaged to go into the Council of Jewish Women, who have also immigrant neighborhoods and run small made similar studies in other cities not boarding houses, - not big institutions, included here. Six thousand five hun- but small homes, with the backing of dred and fifty girls have been visited, some one financially interested, it would in some cases many times, and the con- be a great thing for the girls and for ditions were learned as carefully as pos- the neighborhood. Few of their lodgings sible. The details of the study cannot have any place for recreation or receivbe given here, but it proves beyond all ing company, or are anything more than
mere places to eat and sleep. A number ably retarded by this short-sighted policy! of girls were interviewed with the idea of (3) Education. — The one great necesascertaining their attitude toward such sity and desire is to learn English. The boarding-houses. The following are typ- majority of those visited, though they ical answers.
had been here several months, had never Sales-girl, wages $6, lives with step- heard of evening classes. Where they mother who often refuses to cook for her. had heard of them they frequently had Her father would be glad to have her no one to show them the way to the make more room for them if the board school and were timid. Even when they was not over $2.50.
begin, the methods used are frequently Another, salary $6, is willing to pay so unsuited to their needs that they soon $3 for board; is boarding in crowded get discouraged or drop out. Some quarters. Would welcome a boarding schools assume that because they need house of this kind.
baby methods in English, they need it Another lodges with relatives, buys her in all else, — which is a great mistake. own food, which they cook. Tried board- By their lack of English they are haming, but food was poor, accommodations pered in getting better-paying work. bad, and service irregular. Costs her Oftentimes the families with whom $2.50 a week and would be glad to spend they live discourage it, saying, “Readmore but cannot find a place.
ing and writing are not needed to mar(2) Employment. — This is a matter ry on.” The settlements and philanof adjustment as well as of finding work. thropies cannot meet this need alone. During the investigation, it was possible The night schools have no truant officers to acquaint many girls with other lines for adults. How shall the immigrant of work and find them better-paying po- know her need and how to satisfy it and sitions. If the immigrant girl comes to how to demand adequate facilities ? Only a family that does sweat-shop work, she the citizens who see the future of the naturally falls into it, though she may state and country recognize the responsibe better fitted for other work. At least bility. Will they help meet it ? one-quarter of the girls visited never did (4) Recreation and Amusements. any work for
at home. Here they The immigrant girl does not in many undertake to do things they know little cases get any facilities for recreation, and about, and accept low wages because rarely such as she needs. She goes to the they do not know what it costs to live. dance-hall because it is often the only They work over-time; submit to illegal place of amusement within reach where and unfair docking of wages; are the she can find her own people and her own most pitiable victims of the "learner dances. She does not prefer them at the system,” whereby they are hired at a back of saloons. But she is not a reformer dollar or two a week while learning, and and she goes just because she finds are then discharged, and go to another them there. What else is she offered ? employer “who will learn them.” Some Playgrounds and parks there are indeed, spend their first year or two learning. but how is she to find them? If others They are in debt when they arrive, and tell her, she often lives too far away to go. they are among the worst violators of Have you ever heard the wonderment child-labor and compulsory-education and and joy in a green immigrant girl's voice, factory laws. Why? Because neither the who has been immersed daily for months state nor any one else thinks it worth in our tenement and industrial system, while to inform them of their rights, and when she sees Central Park? “Trees, because the people whom they know and here!” she exclaims, and with tears in with whom they live often do not know eyes and voice, “just like home!" It is them any better. Progress is immeasur- not more Coney Islands and “merry-go
rounds” that are needed, but time, larger than that of their own family and shorter hours, so that the girls can group, often too handicapped to help get into the country; and excursions to them. And so little is needed if it is the give them something of home; and native right thing! folk-dances in place of our meaningless It is not the intention to underpraise American dances. Even philanthropies any of the good work done by the splenprovide but little reasonable recreation, did organizations that are working in an and playgrounds and gymnasia are over- unselfish way. It is rather to emphasize taxed. It is one of the crying shames the need of state and federal protection, that we expect women, who come here and to urge the necessity for a system directly after enjoying the freedom of of protection which will get hold of the the soil or of the small villages, to be immigrant as soon as she arrives, and crowded into tenements, to work eight educate and advise and help her. The to fourteen hours daily, and for whom no protection of immigrant women is the adequate decent amusement places are business of a people, not of racial philanprovided, to stand the moral strain. With thropies; of a state, not of a corporation; what wisdom has Hull House installed and of mankind, not of a few individits own five-cent theatre and dances open uals. This appeal for a governmental to any one from the street! The only way system of protection is not for dependto lessen the attraction of the dance-hall is ents or for those needing charity — not to compete with it. How eagerly the girls for rescue work, for most immigrants do grasped the offer of the friendly visitors not need this upon arrival, but for the for a free concert! If they could only be a
average normal healthy immigrant who directed to what does really exist! but wants to work and to become a citizen. much of it is in English and seems so far Under a philanthropic system, immiaway to them. What seems such a small grants do not have equal opportunities. service of the friendly visitor sometimes Look at the splendid institutions for the changes a whole life. One difficulty is Jews. What have the Poles to compare to get support for such small service. In with it? Where is there an Educational this age every one wants to give or do Alliance which so fits the children of big things which do not always accom- other races to enter the public schools ? plish the purpose.
What government other than the Italian But even when immigrant girls are gives sums for schools in labor camps ? well housed and cared for on arrival Do not the Hungarians need it? Neither it may all change to-morrow. The people is the work uniform. The educational to whom they come may not be well es- facilities in New York may be good, for tablished, or capable of sound advice, or money can be more easily obtained; but able to help them. A young girl came is it true of the immigrant in Buffalo, or to an aunt who was her only relative. A of those out at work on the road ? No! few weeks after, the aunt was taken to If immigrants are to have equal opporthe hospital, and, when the friendly tunities and facilities and become equally visitor found her, the girl was entirely good citizens, our states must awaken alone and unknown. The relative may to their responsibility and provide prodie, the job may be lost, the family be tection equally for all. evicted, or the girl may be ill. In the It is good to know that the past year study above outlined a central bureau has been one of the most hopeful the was established and many girls who were immigrants have ever seen, in this inall right when first visited came to it creasing sense of protection. later when in trouble. They had made The new immigration law provides an intelligent, powerful, friendly con- that any person who “shall directly or nection, which brought them into a life indirectly import or attempt to import
into the United States any alien woman municipalities, and the conditions under or girl for purposes of prostitution or its inadequate enforcement furnish a any other immoral purpose, or whoever most striking comment upon the need of shall hold or attempt to hold any alien state and national protection. woman or girl for any such purpose, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania lead in pursuance of any such illegal importa
such illegal importa- the educational line. Governor Stokes of tion, or whoever shall keep, maintain, the former state appointed an immigracontrol, support in any house or other tion commission that obtained the pasplace, for the purposes of prostitution or sage of a law providing for night schools for any other immoral purpose, any
alien for adult foreigners, and Pennsylvania woman or girl within three years after passed a law empowering local boards of she shall have entered the United States, education to establish schools in labor shall be guilty of a felony and be im- camps for foreigners. prisoned not more than five years, and New York passed a banking and pay a fine of not more than $5000.” steamship-ticket law, previously referred
Unfortunately the government does to; a midwives bill putting all midwives not realize the power of the strongly in- under control of the Board of Health, trenched syndicate, with its many agents thus protecting the health of immigrant abroad and distributed in the various women and children. An investigation by cities, with large financial backing, which the Association of Neighborhood Workimports immigrant girls and sells them ers showed that ninety-five per cent of from city to city, and has not provided these midwives were foreigners. New adequate machinery to reach this all- York also passed the Cobb marriage bill, powerful combine.
aimed at fake marriages practiced among The new immigration law has also immigrant women for the purpose of provided for a bureau of information getting them into lives of shame. New which it is hoped will consider the sub- York also increased the appropriation ject of the education and labor of wo- for distributing immigrants in the state men. It has also created a commission' through the Department of Agriculture. which there is reason to hope will con- This is only a part of the record of duct investigations with a view to the 1907. These new laws are typical of the further protection of women, and will signs of the times, and lead us to hope perhaps recommend some such national that this year may see further legislation system of protection as has been outlined for the protection of immigrants. and is now being tried by a group of
Back of all of this legislation for prophilanthropies.
tection are groups of citizens and indiThrough the efforts of the Inter-Mu- viduals who have gathered the facts and nicipal Research Committee and Federa- created a public sentiment for the protion of Women's Clubs, New Jersey has tection of immigrants. This legislation a new employment-agency law protect- marks but the beginning. To those who ing contract laborers and immigrant wo- think that much has been accomplished, men, and the Research and Protective the following suggestions for further Association of Philadelphia has obtained work show the field more clearly. a new employment-agency law for Penn- There is a crying need for the publicasylvania, with the same features. How tion in the simplest terms of the laws and soon will the United States consider it ordinances vitally affecting daily living worth while to prevent inter-state abuses as labor laws, tenement-house reguin the finding of employment and inter- lations, fire regulations, health laws, etc. state traffic in women, by passing a fed- Ask an immigrant what she wants to eral law ? New York has tried an em- read and she invariably replies, "Someployment-agency law enforced by the thing about America in my language."