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The subject of alien illiteracy and of organizing schools in connection with labor camps throughout New York State was taken up with the State Department of Education by the Bureau of Industries and Immigration in May, 1914. Plans were made by the former Department for the development and supervision of such schools by its Division of Vocational Schools and for the appointment in that division of an inspector of such schools. A civil service examination for such an inspector has lately been conducted, and thus the project is already well launched and at the end of another year will have been sufficiently tested to have developed the necessity for and feasibility of the entire project. During the camp season of 1914, lists of 445 inspected camps were forwarded to the Division of Vocational Training giving the following information: Kind of camp, principal nationalities of the laborers, the number of men employed, location, date of completion, nearest school.
CLASSES FOR ALIENS IN NEW YORK CITY The city of New York through the local educational department is doing much to abolish alien illiteracy through its night schools, but night schools will not meet this necessity as illustrated by the census figures on illiterates in this city. Abolition of illiteracy must be begun in the factory, the mill, and other industrial centres, during the day; the alien laborer cannot or will not attend night schools, and it is the unskilled laborer who must be reached. By rendering him literate a new world is unfolded to him. On him is bestowed that greatest of all gifts, the ability to help himself. The State owes this duty to him in return for his economic value to the State.
In consideration of the necessity for the abolition of alien illiteracy in New York City and State it would appear to be an urgent recommendation:
1. That every school in New York State remain open 12 months in the year.
2. That the ten month year, five day week and five hour day be abolished, and that vacations for the teaching staff be arranged to take place successively as in other departments.
3. That class periods be arranged in double sessions for all grades, thereby creating a double capacity for each school.
4. That compulsory school attendance for a minimum of 60 hours be made a mandatory requirement for every illiterate alien over 16 years of age acquiring a residence in the State of New York.
With appropriations unavailable for additional schools, the present buildings should be utilized to their utmost capacity. The popularity of vacation schools testifies to this necessity.
The State of New York can and should solve every important problem of the illiteracy menace. From the ranks of illiterates spring many of the criminal, degenerate and unemployable classes. Therefore it is imperative that we use our available resources to their utmost capacity. The open school for every work day in the year is as necessary as the open fire house, hospital or police station.
The organization of ungraded classes in public schools became a recognized necessity fourteen years ago. There are now 215 of these classes in New York City, but as yet no statistics have been compiled showing the percentage of children of foreign birth or parentage in these classes. Such statistics should be available. In one class with a registration of only 16, there are 4 children of foreign birth, 3 Italians and 1 English. In another four-fifths of the registration is alien or of alien parentage, and in the lower East Side schools those of alien extraction apparently predominate. From a eugenic point of view, these statistics might show a close relationship with those compiled by the department of charities, hospitals and correction.
UNEMPLOYMENT As the Legislature has enacted a law providing for the organization of a State Employment Bureau, the consideration of unemployment comes, strictly speaking, within the jurisdiction of that Bureau. Moreover this subject has been so exhaustively considered by Federal, State and municipal organizations that any discussion of it in this report could not propound information of either practical or statistical value. It would appear, however, that the problem is not one capable of immediate solution, any more than the situation has been one of immediate development.
Unemployment and the unemployable are so closely related that it would appear, in order to prescribe a remedy, that the underlying reason should of necessity be analyzed. The startling situation of to-day cannot be adjudged to be the result of any immediate causes. It cannot be traced to any such recent developments as the trusts, the rate decision, the tariff or the war. The diagnosis must reach before and beyond into the realms of the heredity of the bulk of our population and particularly of our foreign population.
With the unemployable we must necessarily link the public charge, and the study of immigration statistics from 1820 to 1914, inclusive, a period of 95 years, shows the number of feeble-minded, insane, epileptic, diseased and generally unfit who have been admitted to the United States, under bond and otherwise, to be the principal and contributory cause of the serious situation with which this State is confronted to-day.
DEPENDENT AND DEPORTABLE ALIENS Subdivision 4 of section 153 of the Labor Law directs that:
The Commissioner of Labor
secure information with respect to such aliens who shall be in prisons, almshouses and insane asylums of the state, and who shall be deportable under the laws of the United States, and co-operate with the federal authorities and with such officials of the state having jurisdiction over such criminals, paupers and insane aliens who shall be confined as aforesaid, so as to facilitate the deportation of such persons as shall come within the provisions of the aforesaid laws of the United States, relating to deportation,
Recent investigations and public reports have made it perfectly clear that the State of New York is carrying an enormous expense for the care of dependent or delinquent aliens in hospitals, insane asylums and prisons. The evidence of this may easily be found in the reports of the State Board of Charities, Hospital Commission, Superintendent of Prisons and Special Commission on Alien Insane (which reported in 1914) and of the Committee on Inquiry in the Department of Health, Charities and Bellevue and Allied Hospitals appointed by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment in New York City.
It also seems to be very clear that this burden is largely the result of failure to properly exclude those defective aliens, or aliens likely to become a public charge, who are excludable under the immigration laws. To one phase of this matter this Bureau has given special attention this year and offers some direct evidence of the failure of exclusion provisions of the existing law. This has to do with the admission of excludable aliens under bond.
During the year 1912 there were admitted by the immigration officials to the United States, under bond, 914 aliens, of which 716 or 78.3 per cent were destined to the State of New York. In 1913, 678 were admitted, of which 381 or 56.2 per cent were destined to New York; and in 1914, 905, of which 595 or 65.7 per cent were released to destinations in New York State.
It has been estimated that probably not over 5 per cent of these bonds have ever been enforced, and were they enforcible, the damage to the future welfare of the State would still be incalculable. One paragraph of the statement prepared by the chairman of the Committee of the Conference on Dependent Aliens called by the New York City Chamberlain on August 11, 1914, reads as follows:
The Rules and Regulations provide for an evasion of the Immigration Law which expressly prohibits the entrance of certain undesirable persons into the United States. This evasion is accomplished by the making of bonds under the terms of which, limited indemnity may be exacted from persons giving bonds, should the excludable aliens become public charges after entrance is accomplished. Such bonds are seldom enforced, are usually worthless, and even if enforced, leave the excludable alien a burden on the commonwealth, or a social menace, which in the case of the mentally defective classes, cannot be estimated in terms of money.
Between July 1, 1914, and October 1, 1914, there were admitted to destinations in New York State under bond 190 aliens, of which 55 were on public charge bonds, 46 were on public charge and school bonds, 13 were feeble-minded, 1 was insane, 1 was imbecile, 66 under various bonds deportable within one year, and 8 under various bonds deportable within six months. An investigation conducted by this Bureau of these 190 cases developed the following facts: (1) that correct names are not given on bonds; (2) that the bonded alien is sent out of the State and city; (3) that correct addresses are not given; (4) that the persons to whom the aliens are consigned immediately move away, leaving no address and cannot be located; (5) that names are changed and the bonded aliens placed into institutions; (6) that the terms of bonds are violated ; and (7) that in one case the bonded alien was a cripple, unable to work, and the father of the family was also a cripple.
The cases of the above 15 feeble-minded, insane and imbecile aliens admitted under bond to this State were specially investigated by this Bureau and the reports thereon are as follows:
1. In case 98628/258 — Owen, Teresa, 40, f. Irish. P. C. bond. Insane. Has been released to her husband and is cohabiting with him, with what disastrous results to posterity and the economic future of the State of New York, no one can foretell. She is a menance to the welfare of the State and should be removed and segregated pending removal.
2. Case 98628/416 — Pesse Pitum, 9, f. Imbecile. P. C. bond guaranteeing departure within one year and to be placed in an institution prior thereto. Has not been placed in an institution as required by the terms of the bond. Terms of bond should be enforced.
3. Case 98626/700 — Reich, 6, m. Austro-Hebrew. Feeble-minded. P. C. bond to depart within one year. Father unemployed. Bond should not be renewed. Should be deported. Not receiving treatment.
4. Case 98626/724 — Brosonskas Franciezek, 45, m. and son, 5, m. Feebleminded. P. C. bond to depart within one year. Should not be renewed. Should be deported. Not receiving treatment.
5. Case 98626/918 — Castellino, Vittorio, 35, f. Feeble-minded. To depart within one year and in meantime to be placed in an institution. This woman has been released and at date of investigation, December 11, 1914, was cohabiting with her husband. The release of such a case cannot be too extravagantly condemned from a eugenic and economic point of view. This woman is considered a menace to the welfare of the State, and should be removed and segregated pending deportation. Terms of bond have been violated.
6. Case 98626/918 Moses Zalkowski, 56, m; Sore, f., and Sosie, 20, f. Feeble-minded. The feeble-minded immigrant has not been placed in an institution in violation of the terms of her bond. She is of marriageable age and therefore is a menace of the welfare of the State of New York and should be removed and segregated pending deportation. Bond should be forfeited.
7. Case 98628/276 — Peche Czernjawakaja, 16, f. Russian-Hebrew. Feebleminded. P. C. bond to depart within one year. Bond should be forfeited. Terms of bond have been violated, inasmuch as the immigrant has not been placed in an institution. She is of marriageable age and therefore a menace to the welfare of the State of New York. Should be removed and segregated pending deportation,
8. Case 98628/311 — Kozewska, Ester, 22, f. Feeble-minded. P. C. bond to depart within one year and to be treated in an institution meanwhile. Investigation disclosed that the immigrants had moved to an address unknown. This is a frequent practice among bonded immigrants and is a decided menace to the community. Bond should be forfeited in all such cases and warrants issued, but this procedure would not reduce the danger of the admission of a feeble-minded female of marriageable age to the community. Should be removed and segregated pending deportation.