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IMMIGRANT LODGING HOUSES Immigrant lodging houses in New York City are inspected once monthly under the provisions of section 156, subd. 4 of chapter 514 of the Laws of 1910, as amended. The definition in the statute of an immigrant lodging house is exceedingly broad, and could be applied to any first-class hotel equally as well as to a two or three room tenement apartment.
It is recommended that this entire section be further amended as per suggestions rendered by the Commissioner of Labor to the Factory Investigating Committee.
In New York there are at present 65 and in the Western District 41 licensed immigrant lodging houses.
IMMIGRANT HOMES In New York City there are 39 immigrant philanthropic societies, and in Brooklyn 4, with 2 institutions doing a guide service business. Monthly reports are required from all alien institutions showing the total number of inmates handled during the previous month.
The abnormal conditions existing at present present a high contrast to the figures submitted in normal times.
Employees in a few of these institutions have at times been found to be improper persons. An instance recently brought to the attention of this Bureau involves an employee of one of the most prominent of these societies, in the practice of shipping alien seamen and charging exorbitant fees and bonuses in connection therewith. This case has been submitted to the Federal authorities.
Immigrant societies having lodging accommodations for which they make a sustaining charge and who employ guides who charge a fee for services should be licensed. Many institutions so charging immigrants conduct a profitable business and are in no sense philanthropic.
The majority of these institutions are, however, truly philanthropic, the most conspicuous organization in size and scope being the Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society, probably the most highly organized charitable institution in the world. The Society for Italian Immigrants, the Austrian Society, the Hungarian Relief Society, the Home for Scandinavian Immigrants,
the Russian Society and the Travelers Aid Society are all doing important work in their various spheres.
COMPLAINTS In the matter of handling complaints presented to this Bureau the precedure involves interviewing the complainant by one of counsel, translation of complaint into English, and if an amicable settlement cannot be effected by the Bureau, the complainant is immediately referred to the department or agency having jurisdiction. All complaints referring to banks, frauds, interpreters, lawyers, notaries, steamship ticket agents, and white slavery, disclosing an element of fraud, are investigated and the result of the investigation submitted to the proper authorities. (See section 153, subd. 5, chapter 514 of the Laws of 1910.)
By arrangement with the Legal Aid Society, the Police Department and the Bureau of Licenses, duplicate complaint cards of cases referred are returned to this Bureau with the disposition of the case noted thereon, thus completing our records of final action by the Department having jurisdiction.
The classification and disposition of complaints on all subjects is as follows:
Subject of complaints
Disposition of case Accidents..
Refer to Workmen's Compensation Department, in New York
State, and to bonded attorney out of state. Aliens in prison...
Secure information with respect to such aliens who shall be in
prison, almshouses, and insane asylums of the State, and cooperate with proper authorities. (See Sec. 153, Subd. 4, Chapter 514 of the Laws of 1910.) Where aliens claim to have been
unjustly convicted refer these cases to Prison Association. Banks....
State Banking Department. (See Sec. 153, Subd. 4, Chap. 514
of the Laws of 1910.) Baggage..
Arrange with express companies for tracing system. Deportation.
Refer to State or Federal authorities having jurisdiction.
Refer to Legal Aid Society or Domestic Relations Court.
Refer to district attorney or Legal Aid Society.
Refer complaints to proper authorities.
Investigate and refer to proper authorities.
Refer to district attorney or bar association. Lost immigrants.
Trace or refer to Police Department.
Refer to district attorney or to Secretary to the Governor.
Refer to Legal Aid Society if amicable settlement cannot be
effected. White slavery.
Refer to proper authorities. Miscellaneous.
Refer to proper authorities.
All assignments and complaints covering the following subjects are investigated by the docks and ferries squad consisting of four specially trained investigators: Hotels and immigrant transfer houses, steamship and railroad tickets, baggage, money exchange, hackmen, porters and runners, shipping of coal passers, seamen, etc., telegraph agents.
INSPECTIONS Daily schedules of assignment and inspection work are prepared and daily reports rendered, so that any investigator can be practically located at all times.
Scope. The inspection work as organized for the Eastern district from New York north to the Canadian border and west to Syracuse includes: Bootblack parlors, docks and ferries, employment agencies, expressmen, Greek coffee houses, hackmen, immigrant homes, immigrant lodging places and hotels, labor camps, lawyers, notaries, philanthropies, porters and runners, real estate, railway stations, steamship lines, steamship ticket agents, transportation.
Distributing agencies for immigrants were formerly not inspected, and immigrant societies once yearly; at present the work of inspecting these two activities is correlated and inspections are made once monthly. Monthly reports of the number of immigrants handled by each are required.
Immigrant lodging places, hotels and transfer houses were formerly inspected once yearly. At present all within Greater New York and Buffalo and its suburbs are inspected once monthly, and in isolated sections at intervals. Monthly reports of all immigrants handled are required from all immigrant hotels and transfer houses.
All terminals are covered by daily inspections, and the importance of this work for the protection of arriving and departing immigrants cannot be exaggerated, as it is at these points that they are exploited by hackmen, runners, porters, expressmen, confidence men and other agents. The arrival and departure of every passenger steamer carrying aliens is covered, and investigators are governed in this matter by the New York Herald shipping chart and wireless service.
Coastwise Steamers.- Inspections are made of all steamers be longing to the following lines (coastwise steamers) in order to observe conditions of the rooms used exclusively by immigrants: Ward Line, Pier 13, East river; Savannah Line, Pier 35, North river; New York & Hudson Steamship Company, Pier 43, North river; Fall River Line, Pier 19, North river; Lamport & Holt Line, Pier 8, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Old Dominion Line, Pier 25, North river; Providence Line, Pier 14, North river, New York & Cuba Mail, Pier 16-18, East river. In some instances it is advisable that investigators, working in pairs, be assigned to make trips from point to point to observe the manner in which immigrant passengers are handled. Bureau cards are posted on docks and steamers.
Docks, Ferries and Terminals.— During the fiscal year this division made 543 inspections of which number 507 were made of docks and ferries, and 108 of railroad terminals. This work was regularly organized about March first. The inspection of docks and ferries consists of investigation on the arrival and departure of trans-Atlantic steamers, and inspection of ferries where a number of immigrants arriving on railroads and docks outside this State come into New York. The results of these inspections have been a number of successful prosecutions of exploitation practiced on immigrants by various expressmen, porters, and runners, licensed and unlicensed. The systems and number of exploitations have been greatly reduced through the evidence obtained by the Bureau which has resulted in numerous convictions. The following are typical cases :
On April 24th one complained that on April 23d he arrived on the S. S.
and at Ellis Island was taken in charge by a guide who conducted him to the home of his brotherin-law in
street. Shortly after his arrival, a man claiming to be an Ellis Island official called and informed him and his relatives that he was wanted at Ellis Island again to sign certain documents necessary for his final admission to the United States.
left the house accompanied by this man, and on the elevated station he was ordered to surrender his identification papers and money, whereupon he gave up his passport, letters and all the money he had in his possession, namely, $60, after which he was abandoned by his companion. Within three days one Frank J.
Castellane was arrested at the Battery, identified by a number of similar victims, and shortly afterwards was convicted in the Court of General Sessions and sentenced to a maximum of five years in States prison. In this case certain private organizations and the Police Department were unable to apprehend this swindler who had been operating for nearly two years. As far as it is known eighteen immigrants were his victims. On receipt of the complaint by this Bureau he was apprehended in about three days.
On April 15, a 17 year old inmigrant boy complained that he was defrauded of $30.25 by two unknown men on his arrival in New York on S. S. the previous day. He explained that he had arrived as a cabin passenger and outside the
Line dock he was met by two men wearing uniforms, caps, and badges, who placed him on a wagon, one obtaining from him $10 and the other $20.25 to buy as they informed him, a ticket to Madison Street, New York. He was placed on an elevated train
, near the dock, and there abandoned. Within two hours after the complaint was received by this department one of the men was arrested and later sentenced by the Court of Special Sessions to the reformatory. The other man did not appear again on the docks until three months later, when he was arrested and through the co-operation of the Commissioner of Licenses, the express owner employing the defendant was compelled to make full restitution to the immigrant.
In many cases investigated rapid results were obtained through the co-operation of the Commissioner of Licenses whose assistance has been invaluable. Where conditions required immediate improvement that department has always exercised its ample jurisdiction and this Bureau has always secured prompt action on complaints. Thus the number of porters operating at the barge office was greatly reduced, by order of the Commissioner of Licenses ; likewise the number of expressmen operating at the West 23d Street ferry. They are now limited to two men to each wagon, whereas formerly expressmen operating under pretentious trade names, whose sole outfit consisted of one horse-drawn wagon, po office and a telephone call in some nearby saloon, would employ as many as twenty men who received no salary, but worked on a commission basis.
These “ agents
agents” wear uniforms and gold braided caps and badges, upon which they rely to convince un