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Immigration Quotas, Ellis Island and Other Events of 1923

The following information has been extracted from a variety of newspaper sources including The New York Times ; The London Times ; The Toronto Globe ; The Express, Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

     Index | March 02 - June 26 | July 01 - August 16 | August 17 - December 28

New York Times, July 1, 1923
Twelve Ships Make A Midnight Dash With 10,000 Aliens
Presidente Wilson, Italian, First In; Canada, French, Second; Polonia, Dane, Third
Race To Beat July Quota
Commissioner Curran Will Be Assisted in Handling Crush by Washington Officials
Many Will Be Deported
One Vessel Is Bringing More Greeks Than the Law Will Allow to Enter

Twelve steamships filled with immigrants eager to land in the United States are due to arrive in this port today and about 10,000 aliens hope that they will be in time for the July quota. To lessen the congestion at New York, the White Star liner Adriatic, the United States liner President Fillmore, the United American liner Mount Clay and the Anchor liner Columbia will land their immigrants at Boston today, and the Bergensfjord of the Norwegian-American Line lands her contingent today at Philadelphia. On these vessels and other ships due tomorrow and next day are about 5,000 more immigrants, or a total of 10,000 racing to beat the quota.

Punctually at midnight, Eastern Standard time, the nine passenger liners, Aquitania, France, Nieuw Amsterdam, Canada, Presidente Wilson, President Adams, Polonia, King Alexander and Washington, which had reached Gravesend Bay, started for Quarantine. Swarms of motor launches were cruising around the ships with friends of aliens who shouted greetings in every language from Arabic to Zulu. The small boats became so numerous that the police boats Manhattan and Blue Boy were sent from Pier A to keep them clear of the channel where the steamships had to pass through.

The Italian liner Presidente Wilson, from Trieste with 776 aliens, was the first of the fleet to cross the imaginary line at quarantine to gain admittance to the United States under the new quotas of the restricted immigration law. The French steamer Canada from Piraeus, Greece, with 949 aliens was second and the Danish steamship Polonia from Libau with 741 was third.

The Presidente Wilson was officially timed at two minutes after midnight, standard time, the Canada a minute later and the Polonia at 12:04 A.M.

Quotas of Two Continents Filled
Deputy Commissioner of Immigration Byron H. Uhl said that the Greek steamships would probably have enough aliens on board to exhaust the July quotas of two continents, Asia and Africa, and of five countries, Albania, Greece, Turkey, “other Asia” and Syria. There are about 10,000 aliens on the incoming vessels due today, of whom at least 2,000 are in the first or second cabins and will be passed and landed at piers in New York, Brooklyn and Hoboken.

Mr. Uhl said there were about 900 immigrants on Ellis Island yesterday for the week-end, and that the staff could take care of 2,000 more today. The staff of inspectors has been increased from seventy-nine to eighty-five, and a force of fourteen surgeons will go down the bay to board the ships in turn as they reach Quarantine. Those who are not taken to Ellis Island today will remain on their vessels until they are examined.

Additional mattresses of the best quality have been purchased during the last week and sent to Ellis Island for the use of the first and second class passengers who may be sent there. The surplus of steerage passengers will have to sleep on the soft side of the wooden benches in the main hall of the immigration building and in the detention rooms. The steamship lines will have to pay 50 cents a night for lodging and 29 cents per meal for their passengers during their stay on the island.

500 Dutch Farmers Coming
More liners will arrive tomorrow and Tuesday and will have to wait their turn until the vessels ahead of them have discharged their immigrants. The Cunarder Aquitania, due today, will sail again on Tuesday with a full complement of passengers for Cherbourg and Southampton, and will be obliged to transfer her immigrants to the Albania and Franconia of the same line, due tomorrow, if they are not landed at Ellis Island in time.

One of the best contingents of immigrants expected today is that of 500 Dutch farmers from Friesland, Holland, with their families. They are bound for the Middle West and are in the second cabin of the Holland-America liner Nieuw Amsterdam. Of the forty-three nationalities figuring the quota list only Iceland will not be represented today or tomorrow. The Greek quota for July will be most quickly exhausted as it allows only 659 for the month and there are nearly 1,700 Greeks on the King Alexander.

Henry H. Curran, the newly-appointed Commissioner of Immigration, who takes charge at Ellis Island today, announced yesterday that Assistant Secretary of Labor White, Assistant Commissioner General Wixon and Chief Inspector Sibray would arrive from Washington this morning to decide immediately on any cases of aliens who may appeal from the ruling of the local board of special inquiry. This action is taken to avoid congestion at the Island.

Representative John L. Cable of Ohio, member of the House Immigration Committee, arrived in New York yesterday to obtain first-hand facts to incorporate in a new immigration bill dealing _______ quotas. He said he would board some of the Italian steamships at Quarantine this morning and later would go to Ellis Island to observe the methods of handling new arrivals. The proposed bill, he said, would provide for additional inspectors and for alleviation of the present crowded conditions at Ellis Island in a general plan to expedite examination of aliens.

Commissioner Curran said that every effort would be made to provide for the comfort of the incoming aliens at Ellis Island, but that the facilities were sadly inadequate. Hundreds of the immigrants waiting on board the liners to know their fate were here last year and were sent back to their native lands because the quotas were full. After waiting for seven months they are taking another chance on entering the United States.

Twenty per cent of the quota from each country will be accepted during each of the first five months in the fiscal year commencing today. After that, if the annual quota has been filled, no more may enter until next July.

 
New York Times, July 1, 1923
Ship Gives Away Beer; Finds Limit To Thirst
Captain, Warned by Radio, Replies That 20 Barrels Will Have to Be Destroyed

The agent of the Cosulich Line sent a radio message on Thursday to Captain Roberto Stuperich, the master of the incoming liner President Wilson, informing him that he must dispose of all his beer before arriving here because the Prohibition officials would not permit malt liquors to be classified as medicinal supplies.

Yesterday he received the following radio message from the commander, which showed that the 1,006 passengers on board were having a good time and probably the hard-working crew were not suffering. It read:
Consumed all beer possible, giving it to passengers gratis, but even their capacity is limited. Will have to destroy twenty barrels or more before reaching the three-mile limit.
Captain Stuperich

Before the Cunarder Saxonia sailed yesterday for London the Customs officials seized and removed 305 bottles of spirits, 145 bottles of fine wine, and 1,501 bottles of ale and stout. The Lloyd Sabaudo liner Conte Verde left for Naples with wines intact as under the Italian dietary laws passengers as well as members of the crew must have a quart of red or white per day to keep them in good health.

The last liner under the British flag to leave New York with her wet stores untouched was the Lamport and Holt liner Vandyck, which left Buenos Aires before June 10. From now on the vessels of this line will call at Bermuda on the voyage north to land their liquors and pick them up again on the trip down to South America.

On the Cunarders Caronia and Saxonia and the White Star lines Olympic and Cedric the passengers seemed to be laden with packages which they carried carefully in their arms and would not entrust to the porters or to stewards. The contents were too precious, they said.

 
New York Times, July 1, 1923
Flock Toward Detroit
2,000 Emigrants Wait at Windsor or Are En Route to Enter Today

Special to The New York Times
Detroit, June 30.–More than 1,000 prospective immigrants are waiting at Windsor, Can., and another 1,000 are en route to the border city for the opening tomorrow of the United States immigration gates to new quotas. They will flock across the Detroit River on the first boat.

Immigration officials on this side of the river have turned away an average of fifty would-be immigrants a day for the last three or four weeks, it was reported today. Most of these have returned to Windsor to await the new fiscal year.

The emigrants at Windsor are practically all English, Irish, Scotch and Welsh. In the last ten days Alfred A. Winslow, American Consul at Windsor, has been called upon to answer more than 500 requests for information concerning immigration and to visa 100 passports.

Because July 1 falls on Sunday, the immigration office will be open from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. The crowd at Windsor, it was expected, would be increased by the arrival just before midnight tonight, of a Grand Trunk train from Montreal. On this train several special cars are filled with emigrants bound from Windsor and Port Huron.

 
New York Times, July 2, 1923
Immigration Record Broken As 11 Ships Race To Enter Port
2,074 Aliens Inspected–2,324 on List for Today–More Held on Vessels
Bricklayer’s Wage A Lure
First Italian Examined Says He Has a Brother Here Making $12 a Day
Cabin Total A New Mark
11,482 Arrivals in All Classes–5,551 Passed Through the Customs

Eleven passenger liners arrived here yesterday with 11,482 passengers of all classes and 4,100 in their crews, making a total of 15,582 persons who had to be passed by the public health surgeons and the immigration inspectors before the vessels could proceed to their piers. This was done without any confusion and very little delay. According to the new Commissioner of Immigration, Henry H. Curran, it was nearly double the number arriving on July 1 last year.

Within six hours the Ellis Island staff had inspected 2,074 immigrants, mostly Italians and Greeks, and were in readiness to handle 2,324 more today. By 5 o’clock tomorrow afternoon the immigration Officials in New York will have handled the largest number of aliens who have sought admission to the United States since the selective quota law was enacted in 1921.

Commissioner Curran was at the Barge Office at 5:30 A.M. yesterday and watched crowds waiting outside to greet their relatives and friends when they landed. One Italian had purchased sleeping car tickets to take his family to Chicago and was very much disappointed when informed by Inspector Dugan at the gate that the ship they were on would not land her immigrants until today.

Eighty Per Cent Will Be Admitted
The staff of the immigration depot, including eighty-five inspectors, was at work, and the Commissioner said that there was no congestion or delay. In his opinion, 80 per cent of the 2,074 who landed at the island would be passed and admitted to the country. There were 867 aliens already at Ellis Island, of whom 420 were waiting to be sent back to Europe. There were 1,750 beds ready last night, and no one, Mr. Curran said, would have to sleep on a bench. In the Jersey freight yards are 232 more beds which will be taken to the island today.

Immigration Commissioner General William W. Husband telephoned from Washington to Commissioner Curran at Ellis Island during the day for full details as to the number of steamships which had arrived, the number of immigrants they carried and what difficulties the local officials, inspectors and clerks had encountered in handling them.

Commissioner Curran was assisted yesterday by the veteran Deputy Commissioner Byron H. Uhl, who has been on the island more than a quarter of a century. Assistant Commissioner Harry R. Landis and Chief Superintendent Irving W. Wixon, who came on from Washington.

Italians Impress Congressman
Congressman John L. Cable of Ohio, who is a member of the Immigration Committee in the House of Representatives, spent the day at Ellis Island to get first-hand information on the subject. He was much impressed with the Italians who landed from the liner Presidente Wilson and commented on their good appearance. They appeared to have adopted American customs in dressing, the Congressman added, and were mostly single men between 25 and 30.

The first alien to be examined for the new fiscal year, which began yesterday, was Cesare Litterini, 18 years old, of Trento, Italy, who said he was a laborer and had a brother living in New York working as a bricklayer and earning $12 a day which, he admitted, was the lure that brought him to America. In Italy, he said, one had to work hard to get enough food to eat at the present time because everything was so dear through the drop in the currency.

When Congressman Cable had watched the aliens passing through the examination hall for some time he turned to Commissioner Curran and said:

“More Congressmen ought to see these immigrants land here and then they would have a better idea of what selective immigration means. I’ve always been interested in immigration from the viewpoint of absorbing them into our farm and industrial life, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen them come into the country.

Good Material Coming In
“These Italians are a fine lot. The Italian Government is the only European Government that has worked out a selective emigration program, and the result is that we are now receiving good material and men and women whom we can absorb.”

When he was asked how it would do to import all the pretty women from Italy to America, he replied, “Why, for the fiscal year of 1921, out of a net gain of 90,000 immigrants, 87,000 were women and girls. The men made money here and went back to Italy to spend it.”

“Ninety per cent of the people of America,” he continued, “are against lifting the barriers on immigration. That’s how I managed to get an additional appropriation of $300,000 reinstated in the immigration budget last year. Congress felt that it would take that much to enforce the law and it is willing to appropriate many times that much.

“The new law which will go before the next Congress, I am certain, will be based on the census of 1890,” Congressman Cable added that he had no religious prejudices and felt in immigration that the Jew, Gentile, Confucian and Moslem, are all entitled to consideration, but he believes the Jewish immigration, specially from Poland and Russia, is too large. After spending some hours on Ellis Island the Congressman went to the Italian liner Giulio Cesare which arrived yesterday morning from Naples with 1,356 immigrants on board and watched them playing on deck.

German Has American Wife
One passenger who said he was a German business man from Munich and had embarked at Trieste, told the Inspector that his wife, who was an American, was ill in her stateroom and could not come into the saloon to be examined. “How can she be an American and your wife if you are a German?” the Congressman asked.

“She is from California and we were married after September 22,” was the reply.

“Now the law is working right,” said Mr. Cable. “That’s what the law intends–that an American woman can retain her citizenship unless she wishes to renounce it.: It was not only his first visit to Ellis Island, he said, but his first visit to an ocean liner. [see the Prologue article "Women and Naturalization"]

The customs officials played a big part in yesterday’s program and according to Alexander McKeon, the Deputy Surveyor in charge, there were altogether 350 inspectors and other officials working on the piers and fifty appraisers. He said that the number of cabin passengers landed yesterday, 5,511, was the biggest on record at the Custom House and the next to it was 4,400 in September, 1913.

Thousands Greet Arrivals
Neither the customs or the immigration officials were certain whether they would be paid for the day’s work, but that did not interfere with their desire to complete the job on hand. The ships were landing in Hoboken and Brooklyn as well as New York, so that the customs officials had to be ferried across the river on fast motor launches to get the work done.

In addition to the throngs waiting all day outside the Barge Office at the Battery to see the immigrants land, there were thousands outside the piers to greet their relatives or friends who came in the cabin, and hundreds more hired launches and steamed around the sterns of the big liners, cheering their friends who were hanging over the rail and waving their handkerchiefs. On the pier at the foot of West Fifty-fifth Street, opposite the one where the Italian liner Giulio Cesare docked, there were at least a thousand Italians waving and shouting to the 1,070 immigrants on board, who will have to remain there until tomorrow.

Late last night Commissioner Curran said that out of the 2,074 immigrants examined that day at Ellis Island, 600 had been held over for further examination and the remainder had been admitted to the country. He added that he was very gratified for a handsome floral horseshoe which had been sent to him during the day by the patrolmen’s and firemen’s societies of New York City as a token of their regard for him. He had kept it in his office all day, he said, and then sent it to the hospital on the Island, where it was placed in the centre of the big ward.

The Washington First to Arrive
The Greek liner Washington was really the first to arrive at Quarantine after midnight, but the customs officials boarded the Danish liner Polonia first because her yellow flag was the first one to be lowered yesterday morning and there was no time for delay. After that they were all taken pretty well in the order in which the vessels anchored at the Quarantine station–Canada, King Alexander, President Wilson, Stockholm, Nieuw Amsterdam, France, President Adams, Aquitania.

The Eleventh ship was the Giulio Cesare, which did not arrive until the forenoon. The Aquitania sails for Southampton at 10 A.M. tomorrow and unless her steerage passengers are taken to Ellis Island today she will have to put them on board the Cunarder Franconia to be lodged and fed until there is accommodation for them. About 103 cabin passengers on the liner were detained for further examination and will have to go to Ellis Island with the other aliens in the steerage.

The aliens arriving yesterday came from all countries in the world, the immigration officials said, and the only quota that was definitely exhausted was the Greek, which was only 650 for the first month in the fiscal year. The Italian quota was not exhausted, and the British and German quotas both have plenty to spare.

The steamers arriving today with more aliens are the Ohio of the Royal Mail Line, the Cunarder Franconia, the Muenchen of the North German Lloyd, the Oscar II of the Scandinavian-American Line, the Drottningholm of the Swedish-American Line and the Dante Alighieri of the Transatlantic Line.

The official tabulation of the ships in order of their arrival at Quarantine and their departure is as follows:

No.

Name of Steamer

Standard Time

1st Class

2nd Class

3rd Class

Arrived

Time Out

1.

President Wilson

12:00 M.

7:34 A.M.

47

290

439

2.

Washington

12:00½ A.M.

7:53 A.M.

--

72

81

3.

Canada

12:02 A.M.

8:50 A.M.

68

207

707

4.

Polonia

12:02½ A.M.

8:55 A.M.

--

277

503

5.

King Alexander

12:02¾ A.M.

10:54 A.M.

8?

573

315

6.

New Amsterdam [sic]

12:03 A.M.

9:02 A.M.

110

561

425

7.

France

12:03½ A.M.

11:00 A.M.

112

425

423

8.

Stockholm

12:04 A.M.

10:46 A.M.

--

338

757

9.

President Adams

12:05 A.M.

10:45 A.M.

--

105

241

10.

Aquitania

12:06 A.M.

11:?? A.M.

426

788

160

11.

Giulio Cesare

2:13? A.M.

12:45? P.M.

115

286

1,070

 
New York Times, July 2, 1923
526 Czar Refugees Land
Last of White Army and Navy Arrives at San Francisco

Special to The New York Times
San Francisco, July 1.–A little bit of Russia drifted in through the Golden Gate this morning on the Army Transport Merritt, 526 men, women and children refugees, the last of the white army and white navy. For two years they have been seeking a home. For two years they have wandered from port to port, enduring hunger and disease and hardships innumerable, nowhere welcomed, nowhere aided until America took note of them and held out a helping hand.

Some of them wore the uniform of the armies of the Czar, of Denikin and of Wrangel. Some of them wore the clothes the American Red Cross gave them in Manila. Lieut. Gen. T. Kulskanen is in charge of the refugees. The Rev. Serge Denisoff is the chaplain. These and Prince Kangalov, a powerful figures in Czar’s régime, are the big men among these people. There are 254 single men, 70 married couples, 87 single women and 45 children. Five of the children have lost both father and mother.

 
New York Times, July 2, 1923
Character of Immigrants
Bosler Advocates Quality as Well as Quantity Restrictions

Quality restrictions as well as those on quantity of immigration must be made, said William D. Bosler, former Assistant District Attorney, in a speech yesterday afternoon at the West Side Y.M.C.A., referring to the ships with thousands of immigrants now in the harbor.

Political sophistry was the term Mr. Bosler used to describe the Constitutional maxim that “all men are created free and equal.” “Jefferson knew that it was sophistry,” said Mr. Bosler, “when there were thousands of shackled slaves sold on the blocks of the country. We know it is sophistry, even politically, when no Chinese or Japanese in our country is permitted to vote.”

The special importance of the problem at this particular time, according to Mr. Bosler, is that America must put her house in order with the purpose of keeping out of the next great conflict, which he predicted as coming within the next ten years between England and France for commercial supremacy.

 
New York Times, July 2, 1923
Ocean Travelers

Among the passengers arriving yesterday on the Cunarder Aquitania from Cherbourg and Southampton were E.S. Adkin, Mr. and Mrs. E. Brooks, J.T. Boyd, P.K. Bamber, A. Burell, S.W. Gebe, H. Cross, J.C. Conway, Mrs. Conway, Miss E.B. Dodsworth, Dr. L.F. Dodd, Colonel C.B. McCulloch, Dr. S. Rudinsky, P. Smith, Miss E. Smith, George Marion, Frederick Lonsdale, Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Kelly, D. O’Neill, S.J. Kaufman, and A.J. Johnson.

Mr. and Mrs. S. Van Camp, Miss Van Camp, Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Tod, L.S. Tainter, W. Terhune, Mrs. W. Thompson, Sir Charles Ross, Mr. and Mrs. Irving Rossi, Mr. and Mrs. Felix Warburg, Mr. and Mrs. G. Warburg, Mortimer L. Schiff, Frederick R. Sears Jr., Mrs. Alfred Kessler, Colonel Frederick Palmer, Mrs. E. Hollingsworth, Mr. and Mrs. N.H. Herbert, Mr. and Mrs. D.R. Calhoun, Mr. and Mrs. James F.A. Clark, Charles B. Dillingham, Mr. and Mrs. Allison Dodd and Mrs. William du Pont.

Passengers who arrived yesterday from Havre on the French liner France included Robert Appleton, T.F. Butta, Mrs. E.A. Eaton, Mrs. J.W. Lee, Mrs. W.E. Shepherd, Mrs. J.L. Thirndike, E.E. Halmet, Mr. and Mrs. S.H. Wallace, Mr. and Mrs. S. Myers, Miss Alice Servais, Mr. and Mrs. G.L. Browning, Miss Jane Carleton, Stanford Briggs, Mr. and Mrs. F.K. English, Mr. and Mrs. O.T. Frick, Miss O.B. Grant, Miss Alvar Harding, Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Kinney, Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Powes, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. Warden, E.H. Salisbury, Dr. and Mrs. Charles F. Weber, Mrs. J.W. Wilkinson, Mr. and Mrs. Percy Sandford and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Page Tibbitts.

 
New York Times, July 2, 1923
Aliens Rush Over Border
Arrive at Niagara Falls by Trains, Motor Cars and Boats

Niagara Falls, N.Y., July 1.–Practically every landing place for a small boat, as well as steamboat docks and bridge terminals between the mouth of Niagara River and this city, served as a receiving port today for new arrivals in this country. There was a general rush to get in as early as possible after the opening of the July quota. Some even tried to land in the night, but, were sent back and told to come over at 8 o’clock this morning, when the immigration office would open.

Automobiles, trolley cars, steam roads, excursion boats, ferries, skiffs and launches brought loads almost at daybreak, and scores crossed the bridges afoot, carrying their luggage. Of the newcomers it was announced that 300 had been admitted and 100 turned back, at least temporarily.

 
New York Times, July 2, 1923
Wet Canadian Ship Had Big American List
Nearly 200 Sailed for Southampton on Empress of France, Dodging Prohibition

Special Cable to The New York Times
London, July 1.–The London Times says that a remarkable feature of the passenger list of the Canadian Pacific steamer Empress of France, which arrived at Southampton Saturday night, was the large proportion of Americans who preferred to go to Europe via Canada. Of the 300 first-class passengers on the Empress of France no fewer than 120 have their homes in the United States, and a substantial number of these gave their home city as New York.

It is regarded as a striking commentary on the prohibition rule enforced on board the liners leaving the United States that so many passengers preferred a train journey of many hours to Quebec in order to board a Canadian liner to booking on a dry ship at New York.

In addition, nearly fifty Americans traveled second class on the Empress of France.

 
New York Times, July 2, 1923
3 More Ships Bring Liquor
Aquitania Cuts Its Seals to Relieve Thirsty Passengers

Three liners arrived here yesterday with liquor supplies which will be examined by the customs officials today under orders from Dr. E.K. Sprague, and any surplus over the proper medicinal supplies will be seized.

C.T. Spedding, the purser of the Cunarder Aquitania, from Cherbourg and Southampton, said that the passengers had ordered so small an amount of wines and spirits that their supply was exhausted in two days. There was then nothing else to be done, said the kindhearted purser, except to cut the cord on the reserve store of liquors, which was done. When the ship arrived yesterday there remained on board 121 gallons of wine, 5 gallons of liquors, 98 gallons of assorted spirits and 517 bottles of stout.

The wet stores on the French liner France, the officers said, were only sufficient for medical purposes on the voyage back to Havre.

The Swedish-American liner Stockholm, from Gothenburg, had 20 bottles of brandy, 25 bottles of whiskey, 1½ gallons of w___y, and 3 bottles of wine ___ ____.

 
New York Times, July 2, 1923
The Race For Ellis Island

[Editorial]
The race for Ellis Island having once more been run, the country has a new and striking proof of the necessity of changing the Immigration law so as to make possible a thorough check in Europe. The excess of immigrants over the allotted quotas for the month of June is not so great as during the early part of last year, but it shows just as clearly that there is something radically wrong, and that a remedy must be found for it. The obvious cruelty of permitting immigrants to cross the Atlantic, and then to send them back for no other reason than that their boat was slow, or that they sailed a few days too late, is so clear as to need no comment.

It is idle to say that there is no ready remedy for this condition. The numbers permitted to sail each month from each country are not so great as to make an accurate check impossible. It is little more than a problem in organization. There is no reason why closer co-operation between the immigration service and the Consuls abroad cannot accomplish the desired results. It does not even imply a great increase in the expenditure of administration. By a system of passport visa, it should be perfectly possible for the Consular Service to keep an accurate daily record of the number of immigrants intending to embark. If in each country the Consulate General at the capital should require daily reports from all the Consuls in the country as to the number of visas granted, and should report the total daily to the immigration Bureau in Washington, it would be perfectly simple to establish a system of control, that would make it almost impossible for an alien to sail and be rejected because he arrived after the quota was filled. By such centralization some of the hardships in the ports of embarkation could be avoided, and some of the objections of the Governments in control of these ports could be stilled.

The present law is a marked improvement on the one which preceded, but it still leaves much to be desired. Whatever the basis of the quotas to be admitted, so long as there is restriction it must be made humane. Fortunately both Chairman Johnson of the House Immigration Committee and Secretary Davis appreciate the importance of this and are anxious to establish control in Europe rather than at Ellis Island in so far as this will help to avoid unnecessary hardships. A new draft of an immigration restriction bill will be introduced in the coming Congress, which, it is expected, will cover this point and will also make more liberal provisions for the admission of relatives.

In discussing the immigration question a clear distinction should be made between such abuses of administration as are involved in the failure to control the quotas and the general principle of restriction. The temptation is, on learning of the maladministration of the law, to jump to the conclusion that the fault lies in the restriction principle, whereas it lies, instead, in the faulty application of this principle. All that can be asked is that the United States do all in its power to facilitate the journey of those who come to this country.

 
New York Times, July 3, 1923
Five Liners Arrive With Immigrants
Hundreds, Belated in Dash for Ellis Island, Reach Port Yesterday

Five liners arrived yesterday from Europe bringing several hundred more immigrants. The officials of the White Star liner Adriatic, from Liverpool and Queenstown, reported that they had brought 1,945 passengers, said to be the greatest number on any westbound vessel this year. Of these 1,318 were landed at Boston and the remainder came to New York.

Among the notables in the first cabin was Miss Netta Beatrice Westcott, the English actress, who was selected by the Talmadge sisters for the beauty of her profile and is on her way to Los angles to appear in moving pictures.

Irene Sheehy, 23 years old, a passenger in the steerage who was born at Waterbury, Conn., in 1900, was detained by the immigration officials because she had no passport. She presented her birth certificate which was signed by the Rev. Father William McGurk of the Immaculate Conception Church, Waterbury, and she told the officials she had been living in Ireland since she was 4 years old and had returned to live with her father at 154 Walton Street, Waterbury, Conn. It was the richness of Miss Sheehy’s brogue that caused the inspectors to detain her on the ship overnight for further examination.

Among the passengers on the Italian liner Dante Alighieri from Naples and Genoa was a Russian refugee, Ariadna Mikeshina, who composes symphonic poems and fantasies. Her mother and a sister are with her. The liner brought 700 passengers, of whom 116 were citizens. The others came from ten different countries.

The Cunarder Albania from London brought 254 passengers from Scotland and 120 from England. Several young Scotch mechanics said they were going to Canada.

The Mount Clinton of the United American Lines stopped at Boston on Sunday, where she landed 300 aliens, mostly Germans, and brought 156 aliens and 20 citizens to New York.

The new North German Lloyd liner Muenchen from Bremen arrived yesterday with 67 first, 332 second and 532 third class passengers and is the first German steamship to arrive since 1914 with three classes of passengers. August Rabien, chief steward of the Kronprinzessin Cecilie, who retired in 1910, is back again on the Muenchen after losing all his money in the war. Captain Frederick Rehin, the master of the new liner, said that he could have arrived on Sunday but was held back by the poor quality of the coal obtained in England. The Muenchen is 14,500 gross tonnage and has accommodation for 170 first, 353 second and 602 third class passengers, and will soon be followed by her sister ship the Stuttgart. She has an average speed of 15½ knots.

Among those in the first class was Baron Leopold von Plessen, Secretary of the German Embassy at Washington, with his sister, Henriette Plessen, who will spend three months in this country, she said.

 
New York Times, July 3, 1923
Aid For Russian Refugees
San Franciscans Offer Jobs to Penniless Passengers on the Merritt

Special to The New York Times
San Francisco, July 2.–What is to become of those Russian refugees so unfortunate as to be rejected by the immigration authorities here? The 526 men, women and children, who entered San Francisco yesterday on the transport Merritt were landed today at Angel Island. Scarcely one of them has a passport or papers of any description, and, with Russian rubles selling a million for a cent, the entire crowd could not buy a stick of gum.

The local authorities have appealed to the State Department for waivers to aid these people, but the refugees must observe every requirement of the immigration laws, must pass a rigid medical examination, undergo a civil test, and show they have jobs awaiting them to insure their becoming self-supporting.

It seems certain that many will not pass the tests. Some are weak, some covered with wounds, some apparently mentally numbered by the horrors through which they have passed.

The Russian Relief Society of San Francisco has promised to do all in its power to provide homes and jobs for these penniless ones. Other local societies have agreed to co-operate.

But the labor unions are protesting against the admission of any of them.

 
New York Times, July 3, 1923
Davis Will Study Immigrants Abroad
Labor Secretary to Investigate Conditions in Nine European Countries
Will Sail On Leviathan
Expects to Talk With British Authorities About Complaints of Ellis Island

Washington, July 2.–Labor Secretary Davis started tonight for New York and will sail on Wednesday for Europe on the Leviathan to make a study of immigration problems. He will visit Great Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Holland and Italy and will be gone until about Aug. 15.

Mr. Davis has a number of convictions about the immigration problem, one being that there should be an examination of all prospective immigrants at foreign ports before their departure for America. He also is opposed to a general lifting of the bars at this time and is prepared to oppose action by Congress which would abrogate the restrictions now imposed.

“The time has come,” Secretary Davis said today, “for the formulation of a truly American policy–not a foreign policy dictated by foreign steamship companies, but an American policy formulated by and in the interest of the United States. The time has come for us to say whom we shall take in, and the time has gone when they shall say whom they shall send to us.”

The Secretary added that he was not prejudiced against any race or any sect on account of religious views.

He expects to talk with the British authorities about the protests which have been made concerning alleged treatment of British subjects at Ellis Island. While in Great Britain the Secretary will visit Wales, his native country. He also hopes to see former Premier Lloyd George. Mrs. Davis will accompany him.

In commenting on the rush of immigrants to Ellis Island, Secretary Davis said he did not believe there were many immigrants here in excess of the quotas allowed from each company. [sic] Steamship companies which had brought more than the fixed quotas, he said, would be responsible for any violation of the law.

 
New York Times, July 3, 1923
Greeks Meet Grief At Ellis Island
Many Lack Money; Some Don’t Know Destination; “Picture Brides” Unclaimed
2,324 Aliens Examined
Since July 1 2,974 Immigrants Have Been Admitted–2,500 More Expected Today

The staff at Ellis Island, headed by Henry H. Curran, the new Commissioner of Immigration, began the work of handling 2,324 aliens from five steamships early yesterday morning and finished the examination and medical inspection before the depot closed for the day at 4:30 P.M. About 75 per cent of the total were admitted. The quotas for Africa and “Other Asia” were exhausted yesterday, and it was expected that the Turkish quota also would be filled by the landing of a number of Ottoman subjects at Providence from the Fabre liner Britannia yesterday. Mr. Curran said that of the 2,074 immigrants landed at Ellis Island on Sunday 1,556 slept there Sunday night, including the 827 detained for various reasons over the week-end.

The ships from which the immigrants were taken yesterday were the President Adams, with 241; Stockholm, 764; France, 393; King Alexander, 809; Washington, 36. All went well while the Italians and exiled Russians were being passed through in a steady stream, and Mr. Curran again expressed his approval of the physique and appearance of the young men and women in the throng.

King Alexander Brings Trouble
Then the Greeks landed from the King Alexander, and trouble started, as it usually does, said Deputy Commissioner Byron H. Uhl, when the sons of Hellas arrive. Some of them had no money, others had lost their railroad tickets and many did not know where they were going.

Among the Greek arrivals were several “picture brides” who are selected from their photographs by young Greeks in this country. In order to acquire the pale complexion and plump figure essential for the Greek beauty, most of the young women live on figs, Turkish delight and roseleaf jam for weeks before they start for New York, a diet which makes them ready victims of seasickness.

Several prospective bridegrooms were at the pier yesterday when the Greek liners docked and called out the names of their chosen ones. Apparently some of the young women did not measure up to their photographs, for they were left unclaimed at Ellis Island. Their eyes were filled with tears as they told their stories yesterday and they were set aside and telegrams sent to the men to make good. Altogether, Deputy Commissioner Uhl said, about 300 of the Greek immigrants were detained for further examination.

Soft Coal Smoke Envelope Island
While the immigrants were being examined the Commissioner sent one of the officials from the island in his motor launch to look for the 230 beds reported to have arrived at the freight yards in Jersey City. After a long search 120 of the beds were discovered and sent to Ellis Island for the extra number now sleeping at the immigration depot.

Mr. Curran called attention to the clouds of black smoke from the funnels of the tugboats which drifted into the buildings through the open windows where the immigrants were eating and the dormitories, where the babies were sleeping. He said that the towboat owners would be compelled to burn hard coal.

He received word from Washington yesterday forenoon that Assistant Secretary of Labor R.C. White was ill and could not go to New York to assist at Ellis Island in disposing of the appeal cases. It was said that Mr. White might be well enough to come to Ellis Island on Thursday. There are about 250 cases from last week, the Commissioner said, and 600 appeals have been filed by immigrants landed from the four steamships on Sunday. Secretary of Labor Davis will sail for England and France tomorrow on the Leviathan and his place will be taken at Washington by the First Assistant Secretary, J.C. Henning.

The immigrants on the Cunarder Aquitania were only 13 second and 123 third class and will be taken to Ellis Island at 7 o’clock this morning as the liner is scheduled to sail for Cherbourg and Southampton at 10 o’clock. The immigrants from the Giulio Cesare, Maracaibo and Muenchen also will be inspected at Ellis Island today.

Commissioner Curran said last night that in all 2,250 had been landed at the island yesterday and about 1,500 were found to be in a satisfactory physical and mental condition and admitted. A noticeable feature was the number of young mothers with babies in their arms. Among the British immigrants are a number of skilled mechanics from the shipyards on the Clyde who have come to America with their families because of the slump in the shipbuilding trade in their own country.

Among the 572 immigrants in the steerage of the new North German Lloyd liner Muenchen from Bremen who will go to the island today are about 300 German domestic servants, whose ages range from 21 to 30 and who appear the picture of health.

Owing to the fog off the coast yesterday some of the steamships were delayed and will not reach New York until today. A total of 1,530 arrived on four vessels, the Dante Alighieri, Muenchen, Mount Clinton and Adriatic. Altogether 2,974 immigrants have been permitted to enter the United States since the morning of July 1 up till the island closed last night. Twenty-five hundred more immigrants will be taken to the island today, the Commissioner said.

 
New York Times, July 3, 1923
Insulin Not Cure, He Says
Treatment Effiective Only While Taken, Asserts Dr. McCann

Baltimore, July 2.–Insulin is not a cure for diabetes but merely a treatment to relieve conditions in the body brought about by that disease, according to Dr. William S. McCann, associated in medicine at Hopkins, who has charge of administering the treatment....Neither Dr. Banting of Toronto, who is credited with the discovery of insulin, nor Professor Macleod and his associates at the University of Toronto, contend that insulin is a permanent cure, said Dr. McCann....

 

The Cunard Line ship Mauretania from Cherbourg, France and Southampton, England, arrived at New York July 6th 1923 and landed her passengers on July 7th. The table below is compiled as an example, from the BSI (Board of Special Inquiry) list.
Name Persons Exclusion Disposition Disposition
Date
No. of
Days
Admission or
Deportation
Alemary, Jose 1 excess of quota admitted? July 10 1923-07-10 3 Admitted
Angel Almela, Companj 1 excess of quota admitted? July 10 1923-07-10 3 Admitted
Frasquet, Fernando 1 excess of quota admitted? July 10 1923-07-10 3 Admitted
Parets, Oltea 2 excess of quota admitted? July 10 1923-07-10 3 Admitted
Schwartstein, Harry &c 8 excess of quota admitted July 11, one child paroled to parents July 11 1923-07-11 4 Admitted
Schwartzstein, Mordche &c 4 excess of quota admitted July 11, one child paroled to parents July 11 1923-07-11 4 Admitted
Fonda, Maria &c 3 excess of quota landed July 18 1923-07-18 11 Admitted
Meerdamady, Grace 1 excess of quota landed July 18 1923-07-18 11 Admitted
Cikovic, Maria & children 4 excess of quota paroled July 21 1923-07-21 14 Admitted
Tavitian, Maritza 1 Q E landed July 24 1923-07-24 17 Admitted
Avedikian, Servart 1 [Q E] paroled July 30 1923-07-30 23 Admitted
Tavitian, Lonarrouch 1 [Q E] landed July 30 1923-07-30 23 Admitted
Christeff, Ivan 1 excess of quota returned July 16 per Berengaria 1923-07-16 9 Deported
Panagoton, Dimitrios 1 excess of quota returned July 16 per Berengaria 1923-07-16 9 Deported
Partidos, Peter 1 excess of quota returned July 16 per Berengaria 1923-07-16 9 Deported
Vivian, Norman 1 excess of quota returned July 16 per Berengaria 1923-07-16 9 Deported
Ferlan, Luigi 1 excess of quota returned July 23 per Aquitania 1923-07-23 16 Deported
Khedry, Abbot 1 excess of quota returned July 23 per Aquitania 1923-07-23 16 Deported
Liaptcheff, Kosta 1 excess of quota returned July 23 per Aquitania 1923-07-23 16 Deported
Polich, Vincenzo 1 excess of quota returned July 23 per Aquitania 1923-07-23 16 Deported
Serdos, Pasquale 1 excess of quota returned July 23 per Aquitania 1923-07-23 16 Deported
Sirola, Vincenzo 1 excess of quota returned July 23 per Aquitania 1923-07-23 16 Deported
Vasileff, Eotim 1 excess of quota returned July 23 per Aquitania 1923-07-23 16 Deported
Bellikian, Marian & Esther 2 excess of quota landed or returned? drama? 1923-07-30 23

 
Toronto, Globe, July 7, 1923

Complaints of ill-treatment of British arrivals at Ellis Island are answered by saying that the law compels all nationalities to be treated alike. Quite right. There would be no complaint if all nationalities were treated alike and treated well. The New York Daily News says that immigration laws ____ need more humanizing.

 
New York Times, August 1, 1923
13,000 On Ten Ships Race To Quarantine
Half of Fleet of Liners Bringing Aliens Under August Quota Delayed by Fog
America First Over Line
Thousands of Immigrants Seek Admittance–Ellis Island Ready for Rush

Because of the dense fog off Nantucket Lightship which extended 100 miles to the eastward, the rush of liners bringing immigrants here for the August quota was confined to ten vessels, about ten others being delayed in reaching Gravesend Bay.

Promptly at 1 A.M., the ten liners started in the race for Quarantine. The first three to cross the imaginary line between Fort Wadsworth and Fort Hamilton were barely thirty seconds apart. They were checked off by the immigration officials at Quarantine in the following order: America, United States Lines, 1:02A.M.; Madonna, Fabre Line, 1:02:30; Lithuania, Baltic-America Line, 1:03 A.M.

The big White Star liner Majestic, with 2,341 passengers, was reported sixty-four miles east of Nantucket Lightship in a dense fog at 9 o’clock last night, and the Adriatic of the same line, with 1,533 passengers, was signaled off Nantucket Lightship at 8 A.M., also in a thick fog.

The first steamship to anchor in the bay was the Drottningholm of the Swedish-American Line, from Gothenburg, with 1,374 passengers. It was followed by the Argentina of the Cosulich Line, from Trieste, with 575 passengers, and the Baltic-American liner Lithuania from Libau, with 575 passengers.

Later in the afternoon the United States liner America steamed into the bay with 1,780, followed by the Madonna of the Fabre Line, from Marseilles, and the new Cunarder Franconia, from Liverpool, with 3,230 passengers, which was the largest number reported from any of the liners now on their way into New York.

From 11 o’clock to midnight four other liners reached the bay. The Anchor liner Columbia from Glasgow brought 1,421 passengers; the White Star Adriatic from Liverpool arrived with 1,438; the Norwegian-American liner Bergensfjord, with 1,176, and the Bremen of the North German Lloyd Line, with 845.

Six More Liners in Bay Today
Ten more steamships are expected to arrive today and wait until their turn comes to land their crowds of immigrants.

The America of the Italian General Navigation Company with 1,238 passengers from Naples and Genoa has been diverted, and the Lloyd Sabaudo liner Conte Verdi with 1,322 passengers from Naples will not arrive until this afternoon to lessen the congestion at the entrance to the harbor.

Commissioner Henry H. Curran at Ellis Island said that with so many steamships making for the Quarantine station directly after midnight there was some danger of collisions in the narrow channel, especially if there was a fog. The steamship managers did not share the Commissioner’s anxiety, and said that there had been many more ships there during the war, and at the beginning of the quota year, without anything serious occurring.

Commissioner Curran said he expects to have about 2,000 persons landed at Ellis Island today, and it is assumed that about 50 per cent of that number will be examined for entry. There are beds to accommodate 1,700 immigrants on the island, the Commissioner said, if there are more than that number detained they will have to sleep in blankets on the big wooden benches, he said.

Orders were issued yesterday to cancel all vacations, so that there will be a large force of doctors and inspectors to handle the immigrants.

Approximately 60,000 of the 71,561 immigrants allotted for the month of July were admitted to the United States. The Central European countries, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Denmark and France, were among the countries whose quotas were not exhausted.

Commissioner Curran repeated his criticisms of steamship companies and blamed them for the congestion. He said that he had requested them to direct as many vessels as possible from the port of New York during the first week in September in order to avoid confusion on arrival and hardships to the immigrants. Steamship officials notified the Commissioner yesterday that his request had been forwarded to the head offices of their companies.

One of the oldest Atlantic traffic managers in this port said that the principal lines in the Atlantic Conference in New York and Liverpool, had done all in their power to get all the companies to agree to stop booking immigrants at certain dates for the July, August and September quotas. The smaller lines from the Mediterranean and Baltic ports declined to agree, and said that they would continue booking as long as the immigrants lasted.

The agents of the United States Lines at Liverpool also declined to stop their third-class bookings unless they were guaranteed 600 immigrants for the Leviathan each westbound voyage, which, of course, could not be agreed to.

Commissioner Curran informed the steamship agents yesterday that beginning today they will have to take their deportees from Ellis Island and convey them under escort to the steamers on which they are to depart. Hitherto the immigration authorities have sent the deportees on Ellis Island barges or tugboats to the ships with uniformed guards who looked after them until the vessel sailed.

Under the new regulation the companies will have to be responsible for the removal of the deportees and supply the necessary boats and guards. An official from Ellis Island will visit each steamship just before sailing time and check the number of deportees. The fine for permitting a deportee to escape is $500.

The total number of passengers on the ten liners which reached Gravesend Bay up to midnight was 12,888, of whom 1,196 are American citizens.

 
New York Times, August 1, 1923
Controlling The Immigrant Rush

(Editorial)
In order to prevent the swamping of Ellis Island by the inrush of immigrants which begins this morning, Commissioner Curran has announced that he has devised a scheme whereby the steamships will keep them on board until place is made for them on the island. He further remarks that the Government sooner or later will have to control “the savage, cut-throat competition for immigration business” of the steamship companies, and charges that their present system of registration to exclude overcrowding “has failed miserably.”

Admittedly, the steamship companies have not been free from blame. In their rivalry to get the immigrant trade they have been more than ready to take vast numbers to arrive on the first day of the new quota period. Any company lax in this respect would lose its immigrant business. So long as the careless control of the numbers of prospective immigrants given visas by American consults continues, making it uncertain whether a ship will arrive before a quota is exhausted, it is not possible to expect a cessation of the race for Ellis Island. If there is danger of arriving too late, immigrants and steamship companies alike will make every effort to land at the earliest possible moment.

The companies should certainly be induced to co-operate with the immigration authorities. But, until a more careful check is made abroad, the companies alone cannot be blamed for present conditions. The administration of the law is, after all, the duty of the Government, and not of the steamship companies. Surely an adequate checking system can be devised whereby no passport visas would be given in excess of the month’s quotas. Closer co-operation between the Consular Service and the immigration authorities should make this simple. By daily reports to Washington it should be possible to make an absolute check. The present lack of co-operation between the State Department and the Department of Labor, both of which are concerned with the immigrants’ admission, is characterized by the National Industrial Conference Board in its recent report on the immigration problem as “the most fundamental administrative weakness” in the entire system.

There are other ways in which the Government can help. One is by providing a larger staff at Ellis Island during the rush periods. A recent observer reports that as many as eight persons a minute were examined medically by a single inspector. This is as unjust to the examiner as it is inadequate from the point of view of the nation. Another aid to simplification lies in changing the present law which admits 20 per cent of any yearly quota in one month to only 10 per cent, thus spreading the congestion of the first five months of the year over ten.

Commissioner Curran is doing what he can in the face of handicaps imposed by inadequate laws, insufficient funds and the rivalry of steamship companies. In the welter of criticism and suggestion, however, it is well to bear in mind that he is but the administrator of a law, and that he has not been granted adequate discretionary powers. His observations during the next few months will enable him to give constructive advice when it comes to the framing of new laws.

 
New York Times, August 2, 1923
15,000 Aliens Arrive On 16 Liners; Piers Jammed By Friends
First Lot Lands on Ellis Island at Noon, After Narrow Escape From Collision
To Examine 2,000 A Day
Eight Quotas Believed to Have Been Exhausted With the First Rush
1,082 Diverted To Boston
Majestic Will Take Steerage Passengers There Tomorrow–64 Portuguese Too Late

Sixteen liners arrived in this port yesterday, with 18,558 passengers in all three classes. It was estimated that of this number 3,500 were American citizens and that at least 15,000 were aliens seeking admission to this country.

Eleven hundred and seventy-five first-class and 5,939 second-class passengers were landed at the piers, and the task of questioning them on board the ships and examining their baggage ashore kept the forces of the immigration and customs departments working at top speed. For hours the passengers stood in long lines along the piers, waiting their turn to get inspectors, and the crush in the second-class dining saloons, where the passengers had to wait for inspection, was so great that many women fainted.

It was estimated that at least 25,000 persons were assembled at the various steamship piers in New York, Brooklyn and Hoboken to meet relatives and friends arriving from abroad. Owing to the congestion at the Quarantine station, steamship officials could not state definitely when the vessels would be released from Quarantine.

The big White Star liner Majestic, which had 2,428 passengers from Southampton and Cherbourg, did not reach her pier at the foot of West Eighteenth Street until after 4 o’clock. The vessel is going to be dry-docked in Boston and will take her 1,082 steerage passengers to that port tomorrow.

Exciting Race at Midnight
The America of the Italian General Navigation Company, with 1,238 passengers, had been ordered to proceed to Philadelphia to relieve the congestion here, but the Italian immigration officials at Ellis Island refused to confirm the instructions given by the agents of the company. They said the passengers wanted to be landed in New York, so instructions were sent to the liner to continue to this port.

According to the accounts of the captains of the ten steamships that were waiting at midnight to rush across the imaginary line between Fort Wadsworth and Fort Hamilton into Quarantine to land their passengers for the August quota, there was a great deal of excitement. Some of them said it was a wonder there were no collisions.

The captain of the United States liner America, which was first to reach Quarantine, said that it was the most exciting time he ever had at sea, and that he hoped he would not have to go through another such experience. The captain of the Cosulich liner Argentina, from Trieste, said he narrowly escaped a collision with the Ward liner Orizaba, from Havana.

The claim of the America that it was the first ship to reach Quarantine yesterday morning was disputed by the captain of the Orizaba, who says he won the race. The figures of the immigration officials at Quarantine, however, award it to the America as having passed in at 1:02 A.M.

The first batch of immigrants reached Ellis Island at noon from the Orizaba. There were 225, and they were followed a few minutes later by 1,663 immigrants from the United States liner America, and a third batch of 389 from the Anchor liner Columbia. That was all that Ellis Island could take care of for the day, Commissioner Curran said, explaining that he expects to be able to handle 2,000 a day.

The Commissioner said he believed eight of the quotas had been exhausted yesterday, but no official notice had been received from the Immigration Department in Washington. The Commissioner said that the thirty-four Finns who arrived on the Swedish-American liner Drottningholm had been transferred to that ship in mid-ocean from a liner that was taking them to Finland after failing to enter here under the July quota.

Thirty-five Nations Represented
The liners which arrived yesterday were the Majestic and Adriatic of the White Star; Franconia, Cunard; Columbia, Anchor Line; Rochambeau, French Line; Madonna, Fabre Line; Conte Verde, Lloyd Sabaudo Line; America, United States Line; America, Italian General Navigation Line; Argentina, Cosulich Line; Lituania, Baltic-American Line; Bremen, North German Lloyd; Vestris, Lamport and Holt; Orizaba, Ward Line; Bergensfjord, Norwegian-American; Drottningholm, Swedish-American Line.

Of the 1,082 steerage passengers on the Majestic who will go to Boston on the liner today 1,000 are Russian Poles.

Sixty-four Portuguese immigrants who arrived from South America on the Lamport and Holt Liner Vestris, were refused admission because the quota for Portugal had been filled by the immigrants who had reached Quarantine earlier yesterday on the Fabre liner Madonna, and the Cosulich liner Argentina. Appeals will be made to Washington, it was said, to permit them to land.

There were more than thirty-five nationalities represented by the immigrants who landed yesterday, and some of them spoke such strange tongues that no one so far has been found who can understand them.

Lines Favor Quota Rate Cut
P.A.S. Franklin, President of the International Mercantile Marine Company, gave out a statement yesterday at his office, 1 Broadway, in which he replied to criticisms made by Commissioner of Immigration Henry H. Curran of the action of steamship companies in bringing more immigrants to New York than Ellis Island could take care of. Mr. Franklin said that the Commissioner’s suggestion that Congress reduce the monthly quota from 20 per cent to 10 per cent, was in line with one he had made in December, 1919.

“There is no difference of opinion between Mr. Curran and the steamship companies,” Mr. Franklin said. “We desire to co-operate with him in urging that 10 per cent be admitted each month instead of twenty per cent.

“The steamship companies are making every effort not to exceed the quotas of immigrants allowed monthly under the law. We have no idea of assuming to direct the policy of the United States regarding immigration. All we can do is our best to regulate the movement of traffic as the law provides. The steamship companies have a registration system by which they control the number of immigrants coming from important countries, but it is impossible to exercise exact control over the quotas of certain smaller countries.

“We suggest that for the next immigration year the quotas be admitted at the rate of 10 per cent a month, instead of 20 per cent, as at present. This probably would not be as good for the steamship companies as the present system, in certain respects, but it would be the proper way to handle the business. It would avoid such jams as we have at New York today, when about 15,000 people, mostly aliens, are waiting to land.

 
New York Times, August 3, 1923
President’s Death Shocks Capital, Which Had Expected Recovery
News Telephoned to Executive Clerk From San Francisco
Effort Made to Reach Coolidge in Vermont–Only Two Members of Cabinet in Washington

Washington, Friday, Aug. 3.–News of the death of President Harding not only greatly shocked official and Washington but took the capital com- resident Washington, but took the capital completely by surprise.[sic]

It was the sixth time in the history of the nation that the city had been brought face to face with the death of a President...

 
New York Times, August 16, 1923
Geddes Recounts Ellis Island Evils, Suggests Remedies
Report to Curzon Lays Principal Stress on the Inadequacy of Housing Accommodations
Found Dirt and Confusion
But Admits That With Present Limitations Many Immigrant Hardships Are Inevitable
Appeal System ‘Diabolic’
Ambassador Gives Unpleasant Account of Medical Examinations With “Makeshift” Arrangements

London, Aug. 15 (Associated Press)–Specific recommendations for the improvement of conditions at Ellis Island, the principal gateway into America for European emigrants, are contained in a report to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon, from Sir Auckland Geddes, British Ambassador to the United States, made public here today.

The report, drafted by the Ambassador after a visit to the island last December, was issued in the form of a White Parliamentary Paper. The general criticism is that the Ellis Island plant is too small, that what additional space is available is useless because it is unventilated, and that the buildings are generally in a poor state of repair.

The Ambassador says that if he were asked to advise the responsible authorities he would make twelve recommendations. The most important of these would be:

Thoroughgoing repairs of existing buildings, affording better detention quarters, and better facilities for medical examinations.

The building of a new station for immigrants requiring kosher food, or the retention of Ellis Island as such a station, the rest of the immigrants being accommodated elsewhere.

The providing of a new station for criminal deportees.

The authorization of American Consuls to refuse visas to would-be immigrants who would obviously be rejected at Ellis Island, and the conclusion of arrangements for final American approval or disapproval of prospective immigrants in their home lands.

Ambassador Saw Many Dirty Corners
“Greasy dirt,” weeks, and perhaps months, old–was seen by the Ambassador in many corners, with the result that the place was “pervaded by a flat, stale smell * * * quite distinct from the pungent odor of unwashed humanity.”

Sir Auckland thinks that staff got used to this odor, but he says for himself that “it took me thirty-six hours to get rid of the aroma, which flavored everything I ate or drank.”

He says the sleeping accommodations are often unpleasant, but he found the food good and well cooked, although the place could not be kept clean owing to the “table manners” of some of the guests. He thinks detention on the island must be a hateful experience for all persons of any sensibility. The medical and board rooms he terms unsuitable and inadequate. All the arrangements for handling admitted immigrants, however, are efficient and reflect high credit upon those concerned.

Sir Auckland thinks that “the very heart of the tragedy of Ellis Island” concerns those temporarily detained, but says this is nobody’s fault and cannot be avoided unless a plan be put into effect whereby the immigrants can finally be approved for admission into the United States before they leave their own land.

“As a matter of fact,” he asserts, “what Ellis Island needs, in my judgment, is to be relieved of the presence of about one-half of the people who are poured into it.”

Text Of The Report
Following is the text of Sir Auckland Geddes’s report:
Dispatch From H.M. Ambassador At Washington Reporting On Conditions At Ellis Island Immigration Station.
Sir A. Geddes to the Marquess Curzon of Kedleston. (Received Jan. 29.)
My Lord–I have the honor to inform you that on the 18th December I received a courteous invitation from Mr. Davis, the Secretary of Labor, to visit Ellis Island. I accepted this invitation, and on the 28th December, 1922, I visited the island and inspected the institutions there.

Ellis Island consists of three islands. The buildings of the immigration station are on one island, the general hospital on another and the isolation hospital on the third.

I saw the immigration station thoroughly, and enough of the general hospital to arrive at a fair idea of its state of efficiency. I had time to glance at the isolation hospital. I propose to give my impression of these establishments in order.

1. The Immigration Station
Administration Officer–Mr. Robert E. Tod, Commissioner of Immigration, Port of New York.*
[*Mr. Tod has resigned since the date of this dispatch.]
(a) Staff–Mr. Tod is a gentleman of independent means who, some fourteen months ago, accepted office as Commissioner of Immigration at the Port of New York. He is a sypathetic,[sic] kindly, energetic and efficient man, who holds office for patriotic reasons. Any country might be proud to point to him as one of its officials. Mr. Tod has spared neither time, thought nor pocket in his efforts to make Ellis Island humanely efficient.

(b) Buildings–I was not favorably impressed by the plan of the buildings of the immigration station. On this subject, after only one visit, I am little inclined to express a definite opinion. It appeared to me, however, that much space on the ground floor that would be invaluable if available was practically useless because of insufficient provision for ventilation. Some of the rooms in use as waiting rooms for those who had to appear before boards are inconvenient of access. Similarly, some of the sleeping rooms impressed me as unsuitable to house the numbers that in rush times spend the nights in them.

The lavatories open directly out of the sleeping and living rooms. This seems to me to be an inevitably unpleasant arrangement, especially in view of the fact that many, perhaps a majority, of the immigrants are unfamiliar with the pattern of conveniences in use in North America. (Here are described extraordinary mistakes made by some immigrants in the use of these conveniences).

The rooms provided for the medical boards are unsuitable and inadequate. No effort has been made to adapt them through structural alteration to their present purpose.

“Cages” Suggest Imprisonment
While it is obviously necessary that the drifting crowd of immigrants who have to be handled in the building be prevented from straying and getting lost, I can quite understand that persons of some refinement and intelligence sent to Ellis Island resent the locked doors and wire “cages.” These are much in evidence, and inevitably suggest imprisonment. I am satisfied, though, that the work of the immigration station could not be done without them. To unlock the doors and leave them open and to remove the “cages,” would produce chaos worse confounded.

Something is now being done to renovate the paint-work and to effect minor repairs. This has been too long delayed, and the buildings have been allowed to fall into a bad state. The roof in parts requires attention. This it is to receive. There can, however, be no doubt that the amount of money expended on upkeep has for years been insufficient, even to maintain the property.

My general criticism of the buildings is that they are too small. Further, the immigration laws have been altered since they were built, and, however suitable they may have been at the time of their erection, they do not quite meet the present requirements. The attempt has been made through makeshift arrangements to adapt them to their modified purpose. I understand that the superintending architect of the United States Government is now considering how they can be better adapted. I have no doubt that further improvement is possible. It is difficult to see, however, how any one can rearrange the buildings and grounds to make them really suitable. The ideal “Ellis Island” would have, I imagine, ground around it so that those whose sojourn there could not be brief would have space to move about and to get away from what must often be a nauseating contact with their companions in detention.

(c) Conditions Of The Buildings–Cleanliness must in the circumstances be difficult to achieve. Many of the immigrants are innocent of the most rudimentary understanding of the meaning of the word “clean.” I feel sure that a great effort is made to overcome the difficulties this produces. Still, I noticed in many corners impacted greasy dirt that it was possible to say with certainty had been there for many days, if not weeks or months. The impression that I received was that the cleaning is done with long-handled brushes and mops with, at times, aid from a cold water hose. Nothing but hot water, strong soda and soap freely and frequently applied with a scrubbing brush will serve if real cleanliness is to be obtained. As a result of the presence of chronic dirt, the buildings are pervaded by a flat, stale smell. This is quite distinct from the pungent odor of unwashed humanity. Both are to be met at Ellis Island. Indeed, the compound smell of old dirt and new immigrants is so nearly universal there that I should not be surprised if it were no longer noticed by the members of the staff. After leaving the island it took thirty-six hours to get rid of the aroma which flavored everything I ate or drank.

(d) Arrangements For Immigrants Detained On The Island–Sleeping accommodation for immigrants and detained persons is provided chiefly in two-tiered bunks. These, in most of the sleeping rooms, are arranged in wire cages, the alleyways being roofed over with stout wire net.

I am sure that it is necessary to encage the bunks to prevent thefts and even more unpleasant outrages. Yet I can understand a certain reaction of annoyed surprise on the part of those whose early experiences were of decent surroundings on being told to go to bed in a cage, even though the cage is necessary and provided for their protection.

The actual surface upon which the immigrant reclines is either woven wire or canvas, supported on metal laths. The canvases that I examined had not been long in use, not more than a few months, but Mr. Tod said that they were not regularly changed or cleaned.

Terrors of Two-Tiered Berths
I cannot help thinking that it must be very unpleasant to sleep in the lower of these two-tiered berths when ill-luck places a brutalized sort of creature in the berth above. The Secretary of Labor informed me that cases have been known * * * (Sir Auckland here mentions instances of uncleanliness on the part of ignorant occupants of the upper berths.) * * * In any such instance, it seems to me the immigrant in the lower berth has grounds for complaint against the officials who put him there. I cannot believe that instances of this hardship are numerous on a percentage basis.

Five blankets are issued to each immigrant every night. Of these, two are intended to be spread on the wire or canvas and three to be used for cover. These blankets are of satisfactory quality and are sterilized as often as possible. Unfortunately, the sterilization plant cannot deal with all the used blankets every day. As a result, some of the blankets may be used by more than one immigrant between sterilizations. It is not difficult to believe that this may at times produce hardship for the later users.

A cake of soap and two paper towels are also issued each evening to each immigrant detained overnight. The washing accommodation is good, though of course there is no privacy. I have heard this complained of. Such a complaint is merely factious. Similarly, some people do not like paper towels. Personally, I prefer them to cotton or linen towels in public wash places.

(e) Food And Feeding–The food is of good quality and well cooked. The dining room is the cleanest room in the building when meals begin. It is impossible, however, for any staff to keep it clean during meals, owing to what may be incorrectly described as the “table manners” of the guests, who, incidentally, use the floor as a universal slop bowl and refuse can.

The dining tables are covered for each meal with clean paper “cloths.” The tableware is white glazed, thick, but not too thick, and strong. It seemed to me admirably suited to its purpose.

There are special arrangements for the feeding of immigrants of the Jewish faith which, so far as I am able to judge, are satisfactory. I have heard of no complaints with regard to them.

Generally, I thought the arrangements for feeding the best that could reasonably be expected to be made for the present sort of immigrant in the existing building. I attach a copy of the bill of fare of the 28th December, 1922. I personally saw the dinner served. It was excfellent.

The kitchen seemed to me to be well equipped and efficiently managed.

That is all, I think, that need be said at this time about the staff and the buildings of the immigration station and the arrangemetns to board and lodge those detained at the station, except this:

Ellis Island is a Government institution, and, like all Government institutions, in all countries, it is almost aggressively institutional. It is impossible for any one on the island, whether on the staff, an immigrant, a “deportee,” or even a visitor, to escape from the pervasive sense of “institutionalism.”

All Immigrants Are Frightened
The essential problem of Ellis Island is not, however, its institutionalism, or its arrangements for boarding and lodging immigrants, or its buildings, or even its staff. It is the immigrants and would-be immigrants who create it. If they were all accustomed to the same standards of personal cleanliness and consideration for their fellows, Ellis Island would know few real difficulties, but they are not. Those who pass through the immigration station range from the highly educated and gently nurtured, now fallen into straitened circumstances, to the utterly brutalized victim of poverty and oppression in some scarce civilized land. They speak many tongues and dialects. They all, lady, prostitute, mechanic, rabbi and what-not, are frightened, nervous, shy and strange to their surroundings. They are quite ignorant, too, of what is expected of them and have no conception of what is going to happen next, or why anything happens. Anxious and worried old men and women, young men, girls and little children drift about rooms into which they have been put, or crowd round doors which they think may open. The units in this heterogeneous mass of humanity obviously dislike some of their contacts with one another and yet like sheep follow where any leads. Like sheep, too, they have to be herded and, by hurdles, kept from straying.

It really is remarkable to see how well the miserable mobs of nervous human beings, with all their worldly goods, are manoeuvred through the legally necessary examinations and are dispatched to their destinations. The officials certainly deserve credit for with they do achieve. Still, detention on Ellis Island must be a hateful experience for all of any sensibility who pass its portals.

When a barge load of immigrants arrives at the island wharf, the crowded people pass on shore and are quickly scrutinized for signs of infectious disease. If a child has developed measles, let us say, he is picked out for treatment in the isolation hospital. The mother passes on with the crowd. Her feelings may be imagined.

The crowd files into the waiting rooms. These are caged with heavy wire net. It is necessary that they should be to prevent individuals straying. Still, the mental effect cannot be added happiness. From the waiting room the men and women are called out in batches, male and female, for examination by the medical officers. It is obviously impossible precisely to synchronize the calling out of the males and females of the same party. Not understanding what is happening, strange and nervous, some of the wretched immigrants believe that they are being separated from their friends forever. The Commissioner of Immigration told me that this calling of a man into one room and his wife into another, even though, they are only to be separated for a few minutes, leads in some cases to pathetic scenes.

Makeshift Medical Examinations
However, they are at length shepherded to the appropriate room. There an unpleasant experience awaits them. The rooms were not designed to provide facilities for the sort of medical examination now required by law. The arrangements are makeshift. During the years that I was Director of Recruiting and Minister of National Service I saw many medical boards in Great Britain. Until the whole recruiting medical service had been reformed by Sir James Galloway, many of them were very far from perfect. Still, no recruiting medical board that I saw was quite so badly accommodated as the medical inspection board I saw at work at Ellis Island. No separate dressing rooms or cubicles are provided. The men strip to their trousers in a crowd jammed between coatracks. They have to pile their things on the racks higgledly-piggledy–the clean clothes of the washed on the foul clothes of the unwashed. Personally, I thought it disgusting for the washed.

There were five doctors at work when I saw the board. Their duty is to ascertain whether or not each man is free from certain scheduled diseases and transient infections. If the existence of a scheduled malady is suspected, the individual concerned is sent to a hospital for diagnosis. No attempt at final diagnosis is made by the board. This is the deliberate policy, and I am sure it is perfectly sound and fair to the immigrants. The inspections that I saw were, from the professional point of view, considering their purpose, thorough and effective; from the point of view of a sensitive immigrant, distinctly unpleasant, I would imagine. * * *

The examinations of the heart and lungs, &c., of the male immigrants seemed to be effectively and expertly made.

The examination of the female immigrants is made by women doctors. The arrangements for undressing are similar to those for the men. * * *

I saw no mental tests performed, but I saw the rooms in which these examinations are made. Their equipment seemed to me effective and adequate.

From the medical inspection rooms the immigrants who are not put back for further examination proceed to a great central hall. Here, if everything has gone well, the family parties are reunited. Most efficiently the people are organized into groups corresponding to the ship’s lists, and pass before the inspectors, who test their capacity to read and see that there is no reason to doubt their eligibility to land. Those that are granted entry, the vast majority of all immigrants, are now done with Ellis Island and at once get away to New York, or, if they are going West, pass to the railway booking hall, where they exchange their vouchers for rail tickets, are told when they will start and how they will be taken to the railway station. Their baggage is skillfully and expeditiously handled. They can purchase at surprisingly low cost most excellent food for the journey and then they, too, get away, done with Ellis Island forever. All the arrangements for handling admitted immigrants are efficient and reflect high credit on those concerned. They are, in fact, a very good example of American business administration.

Cases Of Temporary Detention
Apart from the admitted immigrants, there are first the temporarily detained, i.e., those who are admitted, but who for some reason cannot leave the island at once. Possibly they are waiting for money from friends to complete their journeys, perhaps to California. Possibly they are waiting for an hour or two till friends arrive to pilot them to their new homes. Possibly all members of a family but one have been readily passed in, and that one may have had to go to the hospital for diagnosis. Pulmonary tuberculosis may be suspected or mental deficiency, or there may be a suspicion of contract labor attaching to one of the party, or illiteracy.

I feel profoundly sorry for some of the temporarily detained–a mother waiting for a delayed child, or a father with his children anxiously watching for his wife to come to him. The very heart of the tragedy of Ellis Island is in the room of the temporarily detained. It is no one’s fault and cannot be avoided, unless immigrants to the United States are to be finally approved for admission in their own land before they set out upon their journey.

Large numbers of the immigrants have to go before a board to determine whether or not they may be admitted. I saw five or six of these boards at work. The proceedings were decorous and seemly; the arrangements for witnesses who come to speak for or against the admission of an immigrant are good. Every immigrant rejected by a board is told of his right to appeal to the Secretary of Labor in Washington.

This arrangement, the theory of which is probably right, is in practice nothing short of diabolic. For days some wretched creature is kept in suspense. The appeal board at Washington, which advises the Secretary of Labor, works on paper records, tempered, I have heard it said, by political pressure. The Secretary of Labor may be busy overwhelmed, perhaps, with work in connection with some labor dispute, or anything. Days slip by, into weeks sometimes, before a decision is reached. When the doubt affects one member of a family, perhaps a child, the mental anguish must be excruciating. The system is to blame. In my judgment there can be no question that power to decide should be delegated by law to some one on the spot with the facts and the people before him. If the United States Government will expedite the decision of appeals so that the results can be announced within twenty-four hours of the completed collection of the facts, the anguish of Ellis Island will be appreciably reduced.

“Americanization” Addresses
In addition to immigrants, Ellis Island has to receive stowaways and men and women ordered to be deported. The conditions under which these unhappy creatures and those refused admittance for being in excess of quota spend their time on Ellis Island are perhaps as satisfactory as the building will permit. Personally, I should prefer imprisonment in Sing Sing to incarceration on Ellis Island awaiting deportation. To add to the mental torments of those sentenced to deportation, well-meaning, kindly people, with heads softer even than their hearts, seek to entertain them with what are called “Americanization” addresses and cinematograph films. The purpose of these is to tell immigrants how great a country America is and to make them good citizens. A Red under sentence of deportation has possibly views of his own on the subject of the United States. So, too, possibly have those who are to be deported because they are in excess of their national quota.

As a matter of fact, what Ellis Island needs, in my judgment, is to be relieved of the presence of about one-half of the people who are poured into it. If a deportation station were established somewhere else with suitable buildings and reasonably extensive grounds, much would be gained, but there certainly ought to be increased accommodation for immigrants. Before seeing Ellis Island I had imagined that segregation by nationalities might be possible. I am now satisfied that it is not. The flow of immigrants from each nation is too irregular to permit of any satisfactory system of national segregation being devised, and yet some division of the immigrant stream seems to me essential if Ellis Island is not to be abandoned and a new and larger station built elsewhere. After considering the matter with some care, I have come to think that it might be feasible to divide the stream into its Jewish and non-Jewish parts. Persons of the Jewish faith require special food and special utensils, and their being mixed with Christians on the island undoubtedly creates considerable administrative difficulty.

Whether the Jews should be sent to Ellis Island or to a new station seems to me to be a matter of no importance. The fact is that Ellis Island is too small to accommodate in comfort the numbers of immigrants that come to the port of New York. It is also a fact that to divide the stream by nationalities would introduce more administrative difficulties and, I believe, more real discomfort than it would cure. To divide the stream on the basis of it food requirements seems to be administratively feasible. In the dining rooms that division has to be made in any event. I am well aware that all proposals to separate human beings on a basis of religious belief are certain to meet with opposition, and that failures to meet special religious requirements, as in the case of food, are equally certain to meet with opposition.

I believe that the choice of the United States Government is by circumstances limited to three possibilities: (1) To continue Ellis Island as at present, with such minor improvements as are possible; (2) to build a relief station and to supply at it, or at Ellis Island, but not at both, food prepared in accordance with the Jewish ritual and to send all immigrant Jews to that station and all non-Jewish to the other; or (3) to abandon Ellis Island and build a completely new station somewhere else in New York Harbor or on its shores.

Undoubtedly, to improve Ellis Island is for the United States Government to follow the line of least resistance.

I have not so far spoken of the so-called first and second class accommodation on the island. Possibly the best comment on this was made by Mr. Tod when he said: “I am trying to get all the fittings replaced and the rooms painted.” There can be no doubt that he accurately appreciates what these rooms need if they are to remain in their present sites in the existing buildings. Rooms lighted by skylights and ventilated from a hall are, however, not really pleasant, especially when the hall itself is in need of ventilation.

II–The Hospital
(Medical Superintendent: Dr. Billings.)
The hospital and medical service are not, I understand, under the Department of Labor, but under the Secretary of the Treasury. This administrative provision seems to create less difficulty than might have been expected. The reason for this lies largely, if not entirely, in the personalities of Mr. Tod and Dr. Billings. The principal medical officer seemed to me to be an admirable official as well as a competent and enthusiastic practitioner of the art of medicine.

His hospital arrangements are good. It is true that the buildings are in need and the technical equipment, though not bad, might be improved.

It is difficult to judge in such a matter, but my impression is that the nursing and ward maid (or ward orderly) staff, might be strengthened with advantage.

The hospital has to deal with every sort of disorder, ranging from slight injury to obscure tropical diseases. It is at once a maternity home and an asylum for the insane. On the occasion of my visit there was at least one patient there, a young woman, who had spent ten months in the psychopathic ward. This real hardship to the patient was caused by her friends maintaining a legal fight to secure her admission. That she was mentally deranged was painfully obvious. Yet there she had remained for ten months in an environment not unsuitable for an insane person detained for a few days, but wholly unsuitable for long-continued residence with a view to cure or recovery.

On the whole, I thought the hospital arrangements good. I inspected the laundry, which I found to be efficient.

III–The Isolation Hospital
I had time merely to glance at the hospital for persons suffering from infectious diseases.

The general layout is good and the kitchen is excellently arranged and equipped. The quality of the food is good. The wards seemed comfortable and decently kept.

Here, as elsewhere, more money for maintenance to the structure is obviously necessary.

The pathological laboratory for the whole medical service on the island is situated at the end of the isolation hospital. I judge it to be efficient and reasonably adequate. It, like every other department on the island, needs more money to spend on upkeep.

After seeing Ellis Island and studying its problems, I believe that it is true to say that it is impossible to administer any immigration station under existing United States laws without hardship and tragedy. If a system could be devised which would prohibit persons desiring to come to the United States from sailing from Europe or elsewhere without the certainty of admission to the United States, the problem would be almost entirely solved.

At present United States Consuls, when granting a visa to passports to the United States, may mark the visa with the number of the regulation which they believe that individuals entering the United States would violate. Not only so, United States Consuls abroad send communications through the mails to the Commissioners of Immigration saying that they have issued passports to such-and-such persons who are sailing on a particular boat on a specified day, and that in the judgment of the United States Consul they should not be allowed to land. I feel quite sure that this does not unfairly bias the judgment of the immigration authority, but if an individual is clearly not eligible to enter the United States it would, in my judgment, be kinder to prevent him sailing from Europe or elsewhere than to let him reach Ellis Island and there turn him back.

Ambassador’s Twelve Suggestions
It is clearly a difficult problem that presents itself for solution. If I were asked to advise the responsible authorities, I should recommend twelve things:

1. Put the existing buildings into a thorough state of repair and alter the latrine arrangements.

2. Arrange for these buildings to be maintained structurally and to be kept thoroughtly clean.

3. Arrange through structural alteration for proper medical examination rooms.

4. At least refurnish, but if possible replace, the present first and second class rooms by rooms with windows looking to the outside, as the third-class rooms have.

5. If possible, through structural alteration, improve the ventilation of the downstairs rooms so that they can be freely used in the work of handling the crowds of immigrants.

6. Do everything to expedite the handling of the immigrants, especially in the matter of appeals.

7. Provide a new station for criminal deportees (prostitutes, Reds, &c.).

8. Provide a new station for those requiring kosher food (or alternatively, let Ellis Island be the kosher station and provide a new station for the rest).

9. Authorize United States Consuls to refuse visas to the passports of those obviously prevented by law from entering the United States.

10. Arrange, if possible, for all immigrants to be finally approved or disapproved in their home lands.

11. Abandon the quaint custom of delivering lectures on Americanization to criminal and other deportees. Strangely, this well-meant activity seems to be more annoying to its victims than any other single detail in the life of Ellis Island.

12. Brighten up the hospital interiors with fresh paint and keep them even still more scrupuiously clean.

In conclusion, I noticed a desire upon the part of officials to say that Ellis Island is as good as any immigration station in any land. It may be. Still, it is quite certain that no other mation’s principal immigration station has the same problem to solve, for the reason that the laws of the United States are not the same as those of any other nation. I have, &c., A.C. Geddes
P.S.–I have handed copies of this dispatch to the Secretary of Labor, Mr. Davis, and to the Commissioner of Immigration at the Port of New York, Mr. Tod.____A.C.G.
Enclosure

Immigrant Dining Room
Bill of Fare for Thursday, Dec. 28, 1922.
Breakfast
Boiled eggs
Coffee
Bread and butter
Milk severed to all women and children
Dinner
Beef broth with barley
Boiled beef, vegetables, boiled potatoes
sour pickles
Tapioca pudding
Coffee
Bread and butter
Milk served to all women and children
Supper
Corned beef hash with green peppers
Blackberry jelly
Tea or coffee
Bread and butter
Milk served to all women and children.

For all women and children milk and biscuits are served in the detention quarters between regular meal hours, and are distributed at bedtime.


Davis Won’t Be Quoted
But Secretary of Labor Is Known To Favor Some Of Geddes’s Proposals
Washington, Aug. 15.–Secretary Davis and other Administration officials concerned in the immigration problem refrained tonight from comment on the dispatch of Sir Auckland Geddes, British Ambassador at Washington, reporting to the British Government on conditions at the Ellis Island immigration station as he found them when he went there on an inspection tour Dec. 28, 1922.

Mr. Davis, who has just returned form an inspection tour of Europe, said that he might issue a statement based on the Geddes report. Two of the important recommendations made by the Ambassador are that American Consuls abroad be authorized to refuse visas to the passports of those obviously prevented by law from entering the United States, and that arrangements be made for all immigrants to be finally approved or disapproved in their home lands.

A step in this direction is being taken, Secretary Davis believing that a plan should be adopted for improving the situation by setting up “controls” in foreign countries of immigration to the United States. The plan contemplates that by closer inspection abroad most of these not eligible for admission under American laws may be held back on the other side instead of being allowed to come to the United States and refused admission.


Curran Defers Comment
Commissioner Will Wait Until He Has Read Geddes Report In Full
Henry H. Curran, Immigration Commissioner, yesterday received with interest the news that Ambassador Geddes had submitted a report to his Government criticising housing conditions at Ellis Island, buy refused comment until he had read the report in full.

Conditions at Ellis Island have come in for serious criticism on several occasions, particularly in recent months, since the monthly immigrant races, inspired by the immigration quota law, began causing acute congestion at the immigrants’ gateway to America. Answering these criticisms, Mr. Curran, and his predecessor, Robert Tod, admitted that the buildings on the island were not all that they should be, but laid the blame for most of the crowding and hardships suffered by immigrants on foreign Governments and steamship companies, which it was asserted, made no effort to regulate the flow of aliens in accordance with the quota law.

James J. Davis, the Secretary of Labor, who returned from an immigration survey in Europe on Monday, announced that he would seek legislation permitting American Consuls abroad to control not only the flow but the quality of immigrants by a selective system at ports of embarkation.

 
New York Times, August 16, 1923
The “Tragedy” Of Ellis Island

(Editorial)
Despite the use of such an unfortunate phrase as the “tragedy” of Ellis Island, and despite the somewhat doubtful propriety of a foreign Ambassador suggesting remedies for a matter of purely internal American administration, the report of Sir Auckland Geddes about Ellis Island gives a fair description of conditions as he found them last December. He admits that most of the troubles come from the immigrants themselves, but rightly points out that the planning of the station leaves much to be desired, and that the ventilation and sleeping cages could be improved. He was struck, as are many visitors, by the dirt and smell; and while he recognized that the authorities are constantly battling against both in the face of the overwhelming odds imposed by the immigrants themselves, whose notions of order and cleanliness are not high, he expresses the opinion that greater use of hot water and strong cleansers would be a help. Persons familiar with the “policing” of military barracks would doubtless agree with the Ambassador on this point.

Nowhere does he make it plain that the purpose of the authorities is to keep the immigrants on the island as short a time as possible, and that those only are detained overnight whose cases are under special examination. Inasmuch as these form only a small percentage, most of those who go through the island never even come in contact with many of the appointments which have been most sharply criticised. So, alas, by his criticism of the process of stripping and examining special individuals suspected of physical defects, the Ambassador implies that the medical examinations as a whole are badly conducted. Such an implication, besides being unjust, does little when published in a White Book of the British Government to allay the nervousness often bordering on panic which the Ambassador noted among many of the immigrants. Coming on top of the propaganda which has been freely circulated in London, painting Ellis Island as a modern “Black Hole of Calcutta,” with the apparent purpose of discouraging British subjects from sailing to America, it is of dubious effect.

Sir Auckland, like many American investigators, is struck with the necessity of more complete regulation abroad. The recent European tour of Secretary Davis with the avowed object of looking into methods of checking immigrantion at the source may produce constructive suggestions. There is also merit in the Ambassador’s opinion, long shared by American authorities, that the final board of appeal for detained cases should sit at Ellis Island instead of in Washington. His suggestion that there be a special immigration station for Jews is, however, utterly out of keeping with American sentiment.

There is little new or startling in the Ambassador’s report. “It really is remarkable,” he writes, “to see how well the miserable mobs of nervous human beings, with all their worldly goods, are manoeuvred through the legally necessary examinations and are dispatched to their destination. The officials certainly deserve credit for what they do achieve. Still, detention on Ellis Island must be a hateful experience for all of any sensibility who pass its portals.” Although the proportion of detained, as already indicated, is small, improvements can and should be made. They have long been advocated, but they require money, and money for such purposes is not readily granted by Congress.

 
Toronto, Globe, August 16, 1923
Geddes Makes proposals To Improve Ellis Island

(Associated Press Cable)
London, Aug. 15.–Sir Auckland Geddes, British Ambassador to the United States, in a report on the condition of Ellis Island, makes a dozen recommendations regarding needed improvements, principally structural alterations for sanitary improvement, lighting, ventilation and the like, and better medical examining rooms.

The Ambassador’s report, submitted to Lord Curzon, the Foreign Secretary, made public today, also recommends the building of new stations for criminals awaiting deportation and those requiring Kosher food.

 
London, Times, August 16, 1923, page 7
Conditions At Ellis Island
Sir A. Geddes’s Report

Sir Auckland Geddes, British Ambassador in Washington, at the invitation of the United States Secretary of Labour, a Cabinet Minister, visited the Ellis Island Immigration Station at New York on December 28, 1922. His report to Lord Curzon on the system of dealing with immigrants, which was communicated in January to the Secretary of Labour and the Commissioner of Immigration at the Port of New York, has now been published as a White Paper. (Cmd. 1940, price 3d.)

The Ambassador considered that the plan of the buildings used for the immigration station was unsuitable, and comments in his Report on the inadequate accommodation and certain faults in the ventilation system and sanitary arrangements. He observed that there was “in many corners impacted greasy dirt that it was possible to say with certainty had been there for many days, if not weeks or months,” and remarked that “as a result of the presence of chronic dirt, the buildings are pervaded by a flat, stale smell” which “is quite distinct from the pungent odour of unwashed humanity.” The Ambassador found that “the compound smell of old dirt and new immigrants” was nearly universal. He explains, however, that the difficulties in the way of keeping the place clean are almost insuperable owing to the fact that “many of the immigrants are innocent of the most rudimentary understanding of the meaning of the word ‘clean,’ and use the floor of the dining-room ‘as a universal slop-bowl and refuse can,’ to say nothing of giving evidence of repulsive personal habits at other times.”

The chief problem of Ellis Island is, in Sir Auckland Geddes’s opinion, created by the immigrants themselves, who “range from the highly educated and gently nurtured” to the “utterly brutalized victim of poverty and oppression in some scarce civilized land.” Yet owing to the arrangements of the place the washed are kept in close contact with the unwashed and may have to sleep in blankets which have not been sterilized since their use by a person of unclean habits, or be examined medically (after undressing in a crowd and piling their clothes on “racks–higgledy-piggledy–the clean clothes of the washed on the foul clothes of the unwashed”) by an officer who has no time to cleanse his indiarubber gloves after examining the man before, who may be diseased or otherwise personally most unpleasant. It is pointed out that the rooms set aside for this medical examination were not designed to provide facilities for the examination now required by the law.

The Ambassador also noted that the system of pens, locked doors, and cages for sleeping in, while highly necessary in view of the habits and behaviour of the unwashed immigrants, was distasteful to the washed. On the other hand, the hospital arrangements were good, the supply of food appeared to be ample, and special arrangements were in force to enable Jewish immigrants to comply with the dietary imposed by their religion, and the Ambassador found that “all the arrangements for handling admitted immigrants are efficient and reflect high credit on those concerned. They are, in fact, a very good example of American business administration.”

The Report concluded with a number of suggestions, which, if adopted, would ameliorate the lot of the immigrant while awaiting admission, and would mitigate the results of the present system of appeal in certain cases to Washington, “the theory of which is probably right,” although in practice it is “nothing short of diabolic.” Among the points of procedure in which the Ambassador suggests that improvement is possible is the practice of United States Consuls in writing to advise the immigration authorities to exclude an applicant to whom they have just had to grant a visa, and “the quaint custom of delivering lectures on Americanization to criminal and other deportees” who, however undesirable they may be, have to share Ellis Island with honest folk on their way to become useful United States citizens.

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