Help support New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99...
The movement of populations from place to place is one of the earliest social phenomena history records. The earliest migration recorded in the Bible was when, after the confusion of tongues, men wandered over the face of the earth (Genesis 11:8) under conditions only vaguely known today. The Book of Exodus more clearly describes the withdrawal of the Hebrew tribes from the land and rule of ancient Egypt. A typical illustration of tribal migration was the separation of Abraham and Lot, when the latter gathered his substance and set his face towards Sodom, while Abraham took his way to the plains, founded a nation and went into history as the Father of the Mighty. Of the Greeks too, it may be said that the dominant fact of their leading epoch was the wandering of the race, until its narrow borders widened out into Magna Græcia. Throughout early Latin literature runs the same story of the migrations and conquests of the Latin race, reaching a climax in the colossal structure of the Roman Empire. Modern writers have discussed the fall of that structure and the building of that strange conglomerate of Asiatic and European, of Germanic and Romance elements, till a new, and greater, Europe arose from the old.
General movements of population are termed migrations. It is a general term indicating a permanent change of habitat, i.e. a more or less serious intent to take up permanent residence in the new country. The terms immigration and emigration denote respectively the entry into and the departure from any given country. Generally speaking, immigration presents more serious problems than emigration, though certain dangers do arise from an excess of emigration. Many problems grow out of immigration, and to these, legislators and rulers have turned their attention.
Migrations have taken place under a variety of conditions. In general they have been voluntary: peoples have come and gone of their own free will. But forced migrations have not been unknown in history, as when a conquering people has expelled, killed, or sold the conquered into slavery. The rule, however, has been to leave the population on the soil under conditions more or less severe. The latest principle, dominant among Western nations is to disturb the population as little as possible, either in their person or property. The right to exile a people has been abandoned, and the noted case when England transported the Acadians in 1755 marks the date when sentiment turned against it and practice rapidly followed; transferred to a new authority as the Filipinos were, the people do not migrate. Indeed, in the treaties transferring territory to new hands, the inhabitants are sometimes expressly guaranteed against expulsion, as in the Louisiana Purchase Treaty of 1803. Enforced migration has taken other forms. It has shown itself in the organization of criminal colonies, as seen in Tasmania. It has been practised by Russia in the attempt to settle Siberia. While compulsory migration has not played a great part, assisted migration has been a large factor in either inducing or directing the movement of population. Assistance may be given either by the land which gives or that which receives the emigrant. An illustration of the former is the aid given to emigrants from Prussia to Argentine and to the Kamerun region. In times of colonial expansion this method has been especially effective. Prospective colonists have been given bonuses in the form of tax-exemptions and liberal grants of land; the last mode is best illustrated in the grants in the London charter of 1609-12. Liberation from civil and criminal prosecution was also an effective means to induce migration; this was used in England when the jails were emptied, and debtors flocked to Georgia, and when the courts offered the choice of self-imposed exile to accused and condemned persons. Cases are not wanting where countries have attracted immigrants to themselves in various ways. Conspicuous as an example was the United States, where for decades "contract labour" supplied the market and made it possible for absolutely impecunious labourers to migrate to America. So extensive had this assistance become that Congress has for many years legislated with the view of preventing further aid of this kind.
Migration today differs in many important particulars from that of earlier times. Down to a quite recent date peoples moved as tribes, nations, or races, moving and settling en masse. Taking forceful possession of extended areas, they maintained their individuality either under colonial systems or as separate groups; they finally established nations. With these migrating groups went their own institutions, language, religion, industrial methods, and political and legal systems. Usually they moved into uninhabited or sparsely settled areas, where no question of amalgamation could arise. With certain exceptions, the Roman Empire being the most noted, migrations have entailed the settling of a highly cultured people among those of a lower culture. In all such cases of migration en masse the native habitat was forever abandoned, and the migrating tribes, thoroughly equipped, entered a new environment and yielded entirely to new influences. In these particulars different conditions now obtain: migration is effected by families and individuals. These go from dense and highly cultured populations where free opportunity is usually closed, taking few possessions with them; their language survives during their own generation, and in the succeeding one is exchanged for the language of the adopted country, though they usually retain their religion. They must fit into a new industrial system, however, unlike their own. As a rule, they renounce their natural political allegiance and assume a new political status, abandoning the relations attaching to their former status and assuming new political and contractual relations. Such migration means to the emigrants the death of a nation, so far as concerns them, while to their new country it brings a serious modification, the extent of which depends upon the relative virility of the newly added national element.
These characteristics of modern migrations have given rise to a threefold movement. In certain lands, as Germany, where migration to America means a loss to German citizenship, attempts have been made to colonize, and thus save the migrating persons to German citizenship and culture. Those nations, moreover, which they enter look with increasing caution and suspicion on the numbers and character of the incoming population. When once admitted, the problem presents itself of granting them citizenship. To what extent shall the immigrant assume the rights and duties of an acquired nationality? The problem of migration is thus inextricably bound up with a political one.
The primary cause of the migration of peoples is the need for larger food supplies. From the time when nomadic peoples were constantly migrating down to the present westward movements, one principle has been uniformly followed — they have gone from areas of low, to areas of high food-supply. This has been a constant impelling and expelling power. In the last analysis, migration results when the forces of increasing population and decreasing food supply are not in equilibrium, and it tends to equilibration of forces among societies of men: equilibration of food in relation to population; equilibration of rights as related to authority; equilibration of industrial energy as between labour and capital. These express in the most general terms the meaning of migration. First came the tribal migrations, such as the exodus of Lot and Abraham towards Zoar and their subsequent separation in search of richer pastures. The nomad tribes on the steppes of Asia take up the journey to the waterways to find richer pastures for their herds. The migration of Germans, Slavs, and similar nations came later, and, pushed on by the same inexorable necessity, they moved south from the Caspian and Baltic regions, overrunning Rome, and taking possession of Gaul and Britain. With the industrial changes in England, when the modern age dawned, lessening supplies of food pushed men beyond the sea. In more modern times the hunger-stricken peoples of European lands have come to the new parts of the world, to America, North and South; to Australia and South Africa; from Russia they have pushed into Asia, while Japan lays hold of outlying islands where congested population may find room for expansion. Moreover, there are secondary causes which play back and forth with varying degrees of force and effectiveness. These causes operate temporarily though powerfully. They usually act reciprocally in the different countries, and, like the sun and moon affecting the tides, now oppose each other, now act in conjunction.
At the close of the eighteenth century a change in the attitude of the principal governments resulted in greater freedom for those who wished to migrate. During the first half of the nineteenth century the laws limiting or prohibiting emigration were gradually modified or repealed. At this time most countries, especially those of the Western world, favoured immigration, and few limitations existed checking the flow of population; free action was thus secured to social, political, and economic causes. The variations in the flow of immigrants to the United States illustrate with special clearness the operation of these causes. From 1820 to 1833 the number of immigrants gradually increased, but as hard times began here, culminating in the panic of 1837, immigration fell off. More marked still were the effects of economic conditions from 1846 till 1857. During this period unusual activity showed itself in the United States. Under the influence of Clay's tariff measures, manufactures had grown, creating an enlarged demand for labour, which was not forthcoming from the native population. The opening of Western lands absorbed much of the labour that otherwise would have gone into industry, and also drew on foreign sources for increased supply. The greatest impulse, however, was given by the discovery of gold in California in 1848. Not only was there a great demand for labour on the Pacific Coast; the effects of the discovery of gold were more far-reaching. Prices were high, money plentiful, business, so sensitive to these influences, was greatly stimulated, and a heavy demand for labour was created. By an interesting coincidence European economic conditions also favoured a heavy migration. With bad crops and sunless summers throughout Europe, the climax was reached in the potato famine of 1847 in Ireland. This destructive calamity occasioned a heavy migration from Ireland to the United States, where abundant and increasing opportunity was to be found. At the same time certain political causes operated in Europe. Notable among these causes was the overthrow of the attempted revolutions in the German states, especially Prussia; large numbers of the Liberal Party left Germany. The results of the Crimean War are less easily measured, though it probably sent a certain number to our shores. The operation of these causes may be read clearly in the following statistics: in 1844, 78,615 persons came to our shores; in 1845, 114,371; in 1846, 154,416; in 1847, 234,968; in 1848, 226,527; in 1854 the high-water mark was reached when 427,833 immigrants landed here.
Equally forceful were the causes of immigration which manifested themselves at the close of the Civil War. Checked by the war, industry advanced by leaps and bounds at its conclusion, and men and capital were in abnormal demand. Immigration increased from 72,183 in 1862, when the national disaster was at its worst, to 459,403 in. 1873. During the misfortunes following the panic of 1873 the number fell (in 1878) to 138,469. In the eighties bad economic conditions again somewhat influenced migration to the United States, when it fell from 788,992 in 1882 to 334,203 in 1886. The panic of 1907 and the subsequent hard times are clearly recorded in the attenuated immigration to this country in 1908; whereas in 1907 it had received nearly a million and a quarter, in 1908 and 1909 the figures amounted to only three quarters of a million.
Among the motives other than economic which prompt emigration is the desire to escape military service. This has been especially operative in such military countries as Germany. This cause is much more powerful during, or just after, a war. In 1872-73 there were 10,000 processes for desertion on this account alone and in great part due to emigration. Again migration because of religious persecution has been historically of great importance. In past centuries thousands went from the Continent to England, from Ireland and England to the Continent and to the New World, that they might enjoy freedom of worship. In recent years these influences have been most powerful in Russia and Turkey, whence persecutions affecting the Jews and the Greek Christians have sent large numbers of refugees, especially of the former class, to the United States. Another cause, difficult to measure, but of great influence, is the solicitation of relatives and friends. Once in the new country, in many instances relatives plan to bring those left behind, secure places for them, aid them in coming, and in general form a centre of attraction in the new land, drawing powerfully on those beyond the sea. Along with this is the fear, periodically recurring with the agitation for restriction, that further immigration may be cut off, and at such times considerable increase is seen. This was particularly noticeable before the American legislation of 1903.
A phase of this subject which cannot be overlooked and which is of increasing importance in the United States is the commercial. On the one hand is an employing class, eager for cheap foreign labour; on the other hand are various agencies whose business is the transportation of goods and people. As the main profits of, say, the steamship companies come from the immigrants who travel in the steerage, the reasoning is clear to the line of action which they follow. Everywhere, in lands where migration originates, is the ubiquitous immigration agent. His business is to induce people to migrate. Exaggerated reports, sometimes amounting to actual misrepresentation, are too often resorted to. On this legislation has had its important bearing. The greatest influence exerted by the employing class is by means of contract labour. At first generally desirable, when labour was scarce, this has since become most unpopular, and through law and adverse popular opinion is now of comparatively little importance.
The many varied problems of immigration are best illustrated by its history in the United States. Perhaps no more composite nation has existed since the Roman Empire engulfed the various nationalities of Western Europe. At a very early period in the history of the American Colonies, the Negro was introduced — a race so remote anthropologically, from the first colonists as to be impossible of assimilation. The American Indians, isolated from the first, have ever since been tending to extinction, and hence need not be considered as a possibility in the problem of national and social composition. As time passed, other races came to still further complicate the problem. Besides these distinct racial elements must be reckoned an infinite number and variety of nationalities marked by lesser differences and capable of assimilation.
The settlers of the original Thirteen Colonies, while fairly homogeneous, yet presented some diversity. There were English, at first the dominant element, Irish, and Scotch, and persons of mixed British origin. There were a goodly number of Germans in Pennsylvania. and remnants of the Dutch settlement in New York and New Jersey. A few Swedes had come to Delaware and a sprinkling of Finns. The French were represented by the Huguenots in Georgia and in the Carolinas. It has been estimated that the population of one million in 1750 had developed from an original migration of 80,000. Additional racial modification resulted from the annexation of new territories of alien population. In 1803, by the treaty with France, Louisiana was added, with some accession of population and a considerable effect upon the customs and ideas of the nation as a whole. This addition was chiefly French, though a few Spaniards were included. The acquisition of Florida in 1821 brought a few Spaniards, although their influence is negligible. The enlargement westward, from 1845, when Texas was admitted, till 1848, when the Mexican Treaty added an extensive cession, brought a number of Spaniards, Mexicans, and half-breeds. Following upon the Spanish War of 1898, which resulted in an accession of nearly 8,000,000 of alien, mainly Far-Eastern, races, the extension of American dominion into the Pacific has vastly complicated the problem of nationalization, at the same time rendering more difficult the control of immigration from the Orient.
The beginning of migration to the English Colonies in America was the Jamestown settlement of 1607. In New England the first real migration of any extent was the company that reached Salem, Massachusetts, under John Endicott in 1628. Figures on the subsequent arrivals, while not certainly accurate, are nevertheless very interesting. The diversity of religion was not so marked, though there was some variation. The early German immigrants were mostly Protestants. Maryland was settled by Catholics. Into the South drifted a large number of Huguenots. In New England there was a strong Separatist element. The formation of the State of Pennsylvania by Quakers gave them a stronghold in that commonwealth.
The beginning of immigration into the United States (i.e. of post-Revolution immigration) dates from 1789. Before that time it is more proper to speak of colonists than of immigrants. Statistics as to the aliens coming to, or returning from, the United States are inaccurate and incomplete from 1789 till 1820. Not only are the absolute figures unsatisfactory, but no distinction was made between newcomers and returning Americans; nor was any attention paid to the returning immigrant. Roughly speaking, about 250,000 immigrants landed here from 1789 to 1820. From the meagre figures recorded any analysis is imperfect. The dominant elements were English, Scotch, and Irish. There came to the United States as immigrants, from 1820 to 1910, a grand total of more than 28,000,000. The numbers by decades were as follows: —
The figures given for the last decade are, of course, partly conjectural. The statistics recently issued for the year ending 30 June, 1910, give a total of 1,041,570 immigrants to the United States for that year: 736,038 males, 305,532 females. These included 192,673 Italians; 128,348 Poles; 84,260 Jews; 71,380 Germans; 53,498 English. These are the largest numbers of immigrants known for any year so far except the years 1907 (1,285,349) and 1906 (1,100,735). It will be seen, too, that the last decade shows a very large number of immigrants as contrasted with any previous decade. These figures are only absolute. It is in relative statistics that meaning lies. From the standpoint of social significance the relation between the influx of population and the native population is the important concern. This is true, considered from the country giving or the country receiving the immigrants. The following figures show the percentages of the native and of the alien population for a series of decades: —
|Decade||Native Percentage||Alien Percentage|
In 1890 there were 17,314 foreign born to each 100,000 native; in 1900 the proportion was 15,886 to 100,000. The largest proportion of foreign-born is in North Dakota, which in 1890 had 42.7 per cent; in 1900, 35.4 per cent foreign-born. In 1900 there were seven states with more than 25 per cent foreign-born. North Carolina had in 1900 the lowest percentage of foreigners, two-tenths of one per cent, the average in the Southern States being below 5 per cent. From these relative figures it is clear that the effect of immigration is not materially changing.
So also as regards emigration. Not the absolute numbers leaving, but the migration relative to the total, and again to the annual excess of births over deaths, is significant. A very large migration from a country with a very high birth-rate probably has no effect, or only a slight effect. When a million a year leave a country like China, it merely means that famine, disease, infanticide, etc., are less important factors in keeping down population; the greater the migration, the less burden the remaining population must bear. In many Western countries this is not the case, and when heavy emigration takes place the nation may be materially weakened either for war or peace. The following figures illustrate this condition: out of every 1000 inhabitants of Italy 6.87 migrated in 1888; from Great Britain and Ireland, 7.46; from Scotland 8.88; from Ireland 15.06; from Sweden 9.86; from Germany only 2.10. Most remarkable has been the effect upon Ireland, where so great has been the emigration since the potato famine that the population is now little more than half what it then was, this being about the decrease which would be produced by an emigration of 15 in 1000 during a generation.
Statistics require analysis. Immigration statistics are no exception to the rule, and much meaning may be drawn from them by proper analysis. Immigrants are not merely so many units, so many homogeneous things to be blocked off in columns of hundreds, thousands, and millions, and then abandoned. Immigrants are human beings, statistics must be dealt with in the light of that fact, and careful account must be taken of all the conditions to which their lives are subject. These cover age, sex, training, traditions, and property. Of these the most obvious and significant are age and sex. As to age, immigration to the United States has always drawn heavily upon adult life, the mass of immigrants coming to the United States during their productive period. Of German immigrants up to 1894, upwards of 60 per cent were between the ages of fifteen and forty-five. Of all immigrants to the United States in 1887, 70.51 per cent were between fifteen and forty. In 1909, out of 751,786 immigrants admitted, 624,876 were between 14 and 44 years of age; 88,393 were under 14, and 18,517 were 45 or over. These figures indicate about the normal age conditions of immigrants coming to the United States, serving to emphasize the large amount of ready labour brought in, and the large addition to the labour force of the country at a very slight cost. Caution is needed, however, in calculating the value of this influx of foreign labour. Some have taken the average cost of raising a labourer to the productive stage; others have estimated what value of goods this foreign labour would produce. The better way is to reckon the profits attributable to immigrant labour in excess of their expense. to the new country; this would give the actual value accruing from the immigration.
As regards sex among immigrants, males have always far exceeded females. This is illustrated by the statistics of 1909: out of the total arrivals of 751,786 during that year, 519,969 were males and 231,817 (somewhat less than one-third) were females; again, in 1910, out of 1,041,570 immigrants, 736,038 were males. This tends to destroy the equilibrium between the sexes in the countries concerned. It leads in many instances to a large withdrawal of money from the United States to the home land. It retains the interest of the immigrant in his native land, and leads many to return to families from which they have only temporarily separated. It increases that shifting population, especially in the large cities, and greatly augments the numbers of the "birds of passage". On the whole, the results are unfortunate. The condition is far more marked with certain nationalities. The characteristic feature of Chinese immigration to the United States has been the absence of women. The tendency among Italians to leave their families at home is strong. Of 165,248 immigrants from the South of Italy in 1909, there were 135,080 males and 30,168 females. From Northern Italy the proportion was less marked: 18,844 males to 6,306 females. From Ireland came 15,785 males and 15,400 females. In the case of the Japanese more women than men immigrated to the United States.
Statistics of departing emigrants have not been kept with accuracy and completeness; hence it is difficult, if not impossible, to know just how many foreigners actually reside in the United States. In 1908 there entered the country 782,870 immigrant aliens. The same year saw 395,072 depart. These figures for that year show a net gain of 387,797, a rather small number. Of course, this number of departures was exceptional — resulting from the panic of 1907. Out of a total of 751,786 landing in 1909, as many as 225,802 departed, leaving a net increase of 525,984.
The study of illiteracy in connexion with immigration reveals the foreigners to us, enlarges our knowledge of the countries from which they come, and helps to explain the conditions of literacy or illiteracy in the United States. Moreover, as it is strongly urged that illiteracy should exclude immigrants, existing conditions as to foreign education will help to set the limits to this form of regulation. The statistics on this phase of the subject are kept fairly constant by the shifting of the sources of migration from the north to the south of Europe. As education of the masses has not advanced as rapidly in the countries now supplying the immigrant as in countries farther north, so the percentage of illiteracy does not fall with the general advance of education. In 1909, out of a total immigration of 751,786, the totally illiterate numbered 191,049. This number takes in only those over 14 years of age; but, as the great majority of those coming are over 14, and those under that age are, probably, more generally educated, they may be neglected. The percentage of illiteracy of all over 14 years in 1909 was 29; in 1907 it was 30; in 1906 it was 28. There is, then, no general diminution in illiteracy among immigrants to the United States. The degree of illiteracy among those from Southern Europe is considerably above the average; among those from northern Europe a good deal below.
The last quarter of the nineteenth century saw a large migration to South America. The Argentine Republic has presented interesting phases of the subject. For half a century immigration has been an object of public attention and statistical record. There are about 200,000 immigrants annually, and about 80,000 emigrants. In 1907 there were 209,103 immigrants and 90,190 emigrants. Of the immigrants there were 90,282 Italians, 86,606 Spaniards, and sprinklings of other nationalities. In 1909 there entered Argentina 125,497 Spaniards and 93,479 Italians, with small numbers of Russians, Germans, etc. Since 1857 the balance of immigrants against emigrants has been 2,550,197. There have migrated to Brazil since the records were kept, 2,723,964. In 1908 Brazil received 94,695 immigrants. In 1909 there migrated from the German Empire 24,921, of whom 19,930 came to the United States. Italy in 1908 lost 486,674 emigrants and received back 281,000. Austria-Hungary sent out 386,528 in 1907, of whom 352,983 went to the United States. In 1902, 55,368 Russians emigrated to the United States; in 1903, 68,105; in 1904, 80,892; in 1905, 72,475; in 1906, 112,764.
The legal control of migration began when it ceased to be collective and began to be individual. Laws have been passed preventing people from leaving their native land, and also, by the country of destination, forbidding or regulating entrance thereto. Extensive regulation has been found necessary applying to transportation companies and their agents, the means of transportation, treatment en route and at terminal points. The justification of public interference is to be found in the right of a nation to control the variations of its own population. The highest necessity is that arising from war: on this ground nations almost universally regulate very closely the movements of population, forbidding emigration, that they may not lose their soldiers, and guarding immigration as a military precaution. Restrictive measures are also justified on grounds of health and morals, and on the general ground that a national family has a right to say who shall join it. Historically speaking, the right of the individual to emigrate is of rather recent date. The old theory was that a man may not leave his native land without the consent of the ruler. This situation arose from a variety of causes. After the dissolution of the feudal system, the population carried some of the advantages and some of the incumbrances of that system over into the monarchic state. One of its leading principles was the fixedness of the mass of the people to the soil. Again, in England, after the ravages of the Great Plague in 1351, laws were enacted requiring people to remain in their own parish or town. As time passed, and the industrial revolution brought its changes, this legislation still farther limited freedom of movement. Furthermore, when the patriarchal idea of the State gave way to the military, the personal bond of national unity yielded to the impersonal, but the obligation of the subject as a member of this new national family did not weaken, the presumption being that no one could abrogate this allegiance. The opposition to emigration was based upon military necessity, upon the desire to maintain a strong industrial population at home, upon the jealousy existing among the nations, and upon the desire to keep the nation intact.
Gradually this attitude toward migration was abandoned. The Treaty of Westphalia extended the right to migrate for religious reasons. The great migrations westward, as discovery and the settlement of new lands became a dominant interest, did much to break the crust of conservatism and allow life to operate in all ways more freely. The development of means of transportation made transoceanic voyages possible, leading immigrants into new and unoccupied areas. The growth of a colonial system under which the mother country reaped large profits broke down the narrow policies and removed the old prejudices, and migration to the colonies was encouraged — in some instances enforced. Along with these changed conditions came the radical philosophy of the eighteenth century, the teaching of natural rights and an insistence upon the individual's privilege to go to, and remain in, that part of the world which best suited his fancy. Thus was a condition reached when limitations could be removed. In England, in 1824, the law limiting emigration was repealed. In Continental countries the same liberal policy has obtained. In Russia, in European Turkey, and in certain Oriental lands the old policy is still partially prevalent, though in these countries more liberal measures are being adopted. But, generally, there is no longer question of prohibiting emigration, but rather of encouraging it, and always of making regulations for the arrival and departure of emigrants. European governments have undertaken this control partly on their own account, partly in co-operation with the United States. The fortunate sentiment constantly grows stronger that joint action is necessary to successful regulation.
France is the country where emigration plays the smallest part. With a birth-rate in some years above, in others slightly below the death-rate, she has no surplus population. It has been truly said that Germany has population to spare, but no territory; England has an excess of both people and territory; but France has no surplus people and little vacant land. The annual emigration from France is 6000. The total since 1860, probably not more than 300,000. The regulations in France deal almost exclusively with the means of transportation, the condition of ships, waiting-room inspection, the health and morals of the emigrant, etc. There are no general legal barriers to free migration. The same thing may be said of Belgium and Holland. The emigration law of Italy of 1901 is the most thorough enactment among the laws of the European states: it places matters concerning emigration under the Foreign Office; all persons leaving Italy must register with the Government; persons under 14 years may not leave alone; parents and guardians must leave their children or wards in competent hands. Strict care is taken that persons shall not take passage who will be liable to return under foreign immigration tests. A fund has been created with which to care for those who are forced to return.
These countries, constantly losing population, have so far had few problems connected with immigration. Immigration into them is practically unrestricted. In Germany, on the contrary, very minute and effective control is exercised. Besides its conformity to their general practice of close public regulation, certain special conditions urge such a course. Germany is, of all lands, most completely organized for military purposes; a vigorous attempt is constantly made, therefore to prevent desertion from the military forces, whether with the colours or in the Reserves. Hence their laws touching the emigration of eligibles are very strict; and treaty rights for such persons who go to foreign countries are very uncertain and imperfect. Again, up to a recent date Germany has been of all lands the point of departure, not only of her own, but of the emigrants of other European states. This has been true, not merely because, geographically, she lies in the pathway of commerce, but also because for a long time the traffic went out from German ports and over German steamship lines. Germany has been compelled to guard, not only her own emigrants, but, what has perhaps been a more pressing necessity and more difficult task, the inspection of the alien emigrant. The many trans-German emigrants are subjected to two, and often to three, inspections before they finally embark. Of such persons the Russians are the most rigorously dealt with: they must have Russian passports and tickets through to their destination and their baggage must be examined and disinfected.
In the United States immigration problems have developed, demanding, and finally receiving, minute and comprehensive regulation. As the subject has such important international bearings the treaties covering the subject demand attention. The most noted of these, dealing with the immigration of Chinese, was the famous Burlingame Treaty of 1868, between the United States and China. In this treaty the contracting parties freely and fully recognize the inalienable right of people everywhere to migrate. They also recognize that migration should be voluntary, and they agree to allow such migration to their respective countries. In 1880 a second treaty between the United States and China reversed the previous policy, and allowed each country at its option to prohibit further immigration, a provision upon which the United States acted in 1882. The last treaty (upon which subsequent legislation touching Chinese immigration has been based) was signed in 1894. A treaty similar to the Burlingame Treaty was concluded between the United States and Japan in 1894. This agreement gives to the subjects of either contracting power the right to enter, and reside in, the country of the other power. A treaty granting privileges of immigration to Italians was signed by the United States and Italy in 1871. This treaty marks the beginning of extensive emigration from that country to the United States. Thus, through treaties a certain amount of control has been exercised over immigration. But the problem of controlling immigration into the United States has been complicated by the dual system of government, state and national. Until the adoption of the Constitution of 1787 the matter rested entirely with the state governments. In that instrument no direct grant of power is made to the Federal Congress for the exclusive control of immigration. It was only after considerable litigation, and several decisions by the Supreme Court, that Congress was, in 1876, given exclusive jurisdiction. Among the earlier attempts to regulate the matter were laws passed by some of the states, particularly New York and Massachusetts. In 1824 New York passed a law covering many details of registration, reports, head tax, etc. This act went on appeal to the Supreme Court, which voided the law as conflicting with the authority of Congress to control international relationships. Other acts touching certain phases of immigration were all declared null by the court, and the exclusive jurisdiction lies today in the Federal Congress.
The activity of the Federal Congress dates from 1819, and was called forth, not by any desire to limit the quantity or quality of the immigration, but by the necessity of checking the brutal agencies engaged in transportation. The first statute covering this was passed by Congress in 1819. It limited the number of persons any one ship could bring; at first only two persons per ton, and later only one person per two tons, of the ship's displacement. Subsequent acts made provision for more sanitary ships, better food, and more space to each immigrant. During the first half of the century no serious opposition arose to the immigrant as such. Beginning with 1844, at the rise of the Knownothing Party, a new attitude was taken by many. This party grew strong, especially in the South, and from 1844 to 1856 it carried many states. It elected members to Congress and to local assemblies, and governors of states. One of its tenets was opposition to immigration, and as a party strong in the Southern states it did much to determine that antipathy of the South to immigration which was maintained for many years. The close of the Civil War marks a new attitude towards the immigrant. It was a period of rapidly expanding industries and there was an increased, indeed an abnormal, demand for labour. An Act was passed by Congress, in 1864, which greatly encouraged the importation of labour, really authorizing contract labour. This Act was operative till 1868. Under its influence and other favourable conditions there was a vast increase in immigration by 1866. From 72,183 in 1862, the numbers sprang up to 332,577 in 1866.
In the early seventies sentiment began rapidly to form against certain types of immigrant. This was partly due to the organization of the labour movement. It was more largely due to a vast increase of Oriental migration. Acts were passed prohibiting the equipping of ships to carry on the trade in coolies. A system of coolie labour had developed amounting practically to slavery. In 1875 any person contracting for coolie labour was liable to indictment for felony. From 1877 on, an opposition, centred on the Pacific Coast, developed against the further immigration of Chinese labour, and this first took shape in the treaty of 1880 mentioned above. On 6 May, 1882, an Act was passed by Congress forbidding the admission of Chinese labour for ten years. This Act, with certain changes, has been continued to the present day. No Chinese labourer may now enter the United States. No Chinese may become a citizen unless he be born here, in which case citizenship is secured to him by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. These restrictions, both as to entry and naturalization, have been from time to time extended till they now apply to nearly all Orientals. The following table shows the growth of Chinese immigration to the United States in sixteen typical years: —
It will thus be seen that the Chinese Immigration Law has been fairly successful as a measure of exclusion.
The first statute covering the general question of immigration was enacted by Congress on 3 August, 1882. The purpose of this and subsequent legislation has been threefold. It was necessary to provide for a more effective administration of matters of immigration. This involved the concentration of authority in federal hands and the creation of a fund for this purpose. The Act of 1891 gave the control of immigration to the Federal Government exclusively, doing away with concurrent administration. The Act of 1882 had begun the formation of a fund by imposing a head-tax of 50 cents on each alien immigrant entering a port of the United States; this tax was afterwards (1903) raised to $2 per head, and it now produces enough to carry on the department and leave a slight surplus. The law of 1891 created the office of superintendent of immigration, later changed to commissioner-general of immigration. The Act of 1903 added much to the needed control. It created a number of excluded classes, which may be grouped under three general heads: those physically, those mentally, and those morally diseased. Under the general head of physically unsound are many excluded classes, the most stringent rules covering those having loathsome and contagious diseases, especially trachoma and tubercular affections. Idiots and lunatics are excluded. Among those regarded by the Act as morally unfit, or "the anti-social class", are Anarchists and those accused of plotting against government, all criminals and fugitives from justice, all women immigrating for immoral purposes, all prostitutes and procurers of girls or women for purposes of prostitution. There is provision excluding paupers and those who are likely to become a public charge. All those are excluded who have come under contract to labour, or who have their expenses paid by another, except that immigrants' relatives may send money to aid them. Certain of these cases are made criminal: importation of Women for lewd purposes, prepaying passages under contract to labour, promising employment to aliens through advertising, bringing diseased aliens in by other than regular routes — all these are constituted criminal offences against the United States.
The Act of 20 February, 1907, is the latest statute of the United States dealing comprehensively with immigration. It constitutes the proceeds of the head-tax a permanent immigrant fund (changed by the Act of 1909), formed so that these moneys go to the general fund. This law of 1907 still further extends the limits of the excluded classes. It makes the prohibition of contract labour stricter, as well as the exclusion of lewd women and girls, and of the procurers of such. It forbids the advertising by anyone for purposes of securing labour to come to this country; limiting such advertisement to furnishing necessary data of sailing, rates, etc. This Act also requires that a list and full descriptions of the aliens coming with each ship shall be furnished. Provision is also made for deporting such persons as may be illegally landed, the time for legal deportation being extended from one year to three years. The Circuit and District Courts are given full jurisdiction in all matters arising under the immigration laws. The Act furthermore makes provision for the calling of an international conference to discuss matters relating to immigration. Some details are relegated to be dealt with by the Department of Commerce and Labor.
Restrictive legislation shows its results in three ways; the number of immigrants debarred and returned immediately on attempting to land; the number subsequently apprehended and deported; the number of those stopped at the port of departure. Figures are obtainable on the first and second of these classes; they are only conjectured as to the last. It is, however, unfair to measure the effects of legislation by these tests alone; the deterrent influences are also powerful. During the past seventeen years about one per cent of all those coming to the ports of the United States have been either debarred from or deported after, entering. The following table shows approximately the percentage of immigrants debarred or deported for all reasons in certain typical years during that period: —
Of the 10,411 excluded in 1909, 4.01 were likely to become public charges; 2084 had trachoma; 1172 were contract labourers, while 402 were sent back as immoral. Although a larger number of Chinese have been admitted in recent years, a larger number has also been deported. There are, of course, many obvious difficulties in the way of enforcement. Many of the reasons for debarring are difficult to establish — such as many forms of disease, various types of immorality, and weak physical condition with no real organic ailment. Again, the contract labour law is hard to enforce because of so many effective means of evasion. Among these the most serious has been the increased immigration through Canada, which results either in smuggling pure and simple — or by means of a year's residence in Canada — in the evasion of certain regulations — e.g. the head-tax. However, the laws as at present administered, especially with the Co-operation of foreign governments, are at least pointing in the right direction and supplying the country with a better selected body of immigrants.
There have been several changes in the origin of migration to the New World. From southern Europe — Italy, Spain, and Portugal — it began when the Americas were new, and migration was a hardy venture. It then shifted northward till the peoples of northern countries began to send many colonists out to America. After the formation of the Republic, its immigrant population came chiefly from northern Europe and so continued well into the nineteenth century. One of the most striking features of migration to America has been the latest change in the sources of the stream, which now flows more strongly from the South and East. This change has been very marked. From 1841 to 1850 45.57 per cent of the immigration to the United States was from Ireland; from 1871 to 1880 only 15.1 per cent. From Germany between 1841 and 1850 there came 25.37 per cent; from 1861 to 1870, 36.63 per cent; from 1871 to 1880, 25.74 per cent, while in 1909 Germany furnished only 8.5 per cent, and Ireland 4.3 per cent of the immigration. From 1820 to 1902 Germany sent 24.98 per cent of all the immigrants, and Italy had sent 66.6 per cent; in 1903 Italy sent 26.91 per cent. In 1907 Italy sent 285,731, while Germany, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom combined sent 201,337. In 1910 Italy sent 223,431 immigrants; Germany, 71,380; England, 53,498; there were also 128,348 Poles and 52,037 Scandinavians. In 1880 Italy and Austria-Hungary sent 11,765 immigrants; in 1907 these two countries sent 624,184, about one-third more than the total immigration in 1880. From 1872 to 1890 there came to the United States 356,062 Italian immigrants; from 1890 to 1900, 655,888. These figures illustrate what might be much further amplified; the change in source of the immigration to the United States in the last few decades. Further analysis would show many minor divergencies. From Italy come two different types: northern Italy furnishes one; southern Italy and Sicily another. These vary widely in mental characteristics, in industrial habits, and in wealth. They furnish needed elements to our population, lending colour and vivacity to the American nationality. Equally clear are the types of Jews now coming in such numbers. In earlier times there were the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. Later, the migration of Jews had its origin in Germany, and the German Jew was the rule. The great majority of Jews who now migrate to the United States are of Russian origin; There has also been a change in the Irish immigrant. At first the Irish migration was largely from the North, contained a large admixture of Scotch blood, was Protestant in religion, and agricultural in pursuits. The centre of emigration has since then shifted to the South, the emigrants are more largely Catholic in religion, and they settle in the cities.
A variety of causes affecting both northern and southern Europe help to explain these changes. During the period of the greatest German migration the interests of that nation were changing from agrarian to industrial. During this transition a large number of persons were left without occupation, as the older order broke up, and many of these migrated. The stream of migration from Ireland was necessarily checked as that population became more and more seriously depleted, falling to about one-half its number in 1846. During this same time there was a marked increase of population in the southern and southeastern countries, and owing to various causes a high birth-rate has been accompanied by a low death-rate. A surplus of population resulted, and migration from those countries was the consequence. Low industrial organization there, high industrial demand here, and labour naturally flowed into the area of high demand. A feature less fundamental is the development of the means of transportation to and from southern ports. In interesting contrast to the earlier domination of the sea by the Romance nations was the transfer of maritime power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries into Dutch and English, and, later, into German, hands. This led to a marked neglect of southern ports, and not till a generation ago did the merchantmen begin to reorganize the lines to tap southern countries and call at southern ports. The Italian lines sailing from southern ports doubled in tonnage, and the construction of ships in those ports, for Italian and Austrian trans-Atlantic traffic, became a flourishing industry. Gradually the southern harbours became active in a trade the most important item of which was the transportation of immigrants to the United States. Typical of this change was the growth of the cities of Genoa, Naples, and Trieste. The growth also of the German lines must also be considered. These, together with the extension of railway lines leading to the harbours, have done much to develop the migration from southern and southeastern countries. From 1880 to 1890, Germany sent to the United States 1,452,977 persons; during the same period Italy sent but 307,309. In the year 1909 Germany sent 58,534, while Italy sent 190,498. Germany formerly supplied one-third of the immigration to the United States; now, less than one-tenth is from that source. Between 1860 and 1870, the British Isles, Germany, Scandinavia, and Canada together supplied 90 per cent of the total immigration to the United States; between 1890 and 1900, only 41 per cent. In 1869 Austria-Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Russia together supplied only 1 per cent; in 1902, the same group of countries supplied 70 per cent.
The distribution of the immigrant population in the United States may be considered (1) Geographically, (2) As to Occupation.
The most obvious distinction is between North and South. From the beginning of the Republic until 1866 there was practically no immigration into the southern States. While slavery existed, the South had no immigrant problem, the only foreigners entering that section being those brought in by the illicit slave trade. The North being considered as the home of the immigrant, the North Atlantic States stood first in percentage of foreign-born. In 1903, according to Dr. Hall, 22.6 per cent of the population in the North Atlantic States were aliens; 15.8 per cent in the North Central; 20.7 per cent in the Western; only 4.6 per cent in the South Central and South Atlantic. In 1909, more than 50 per cent of all the aliens in the country resided in the North Atlantic States; of these, New York was the choice of 220,865; Pennsylvania of 112,402; Massachusetts of 61,187; New Jersey of 41,907. New York received 75,988 Italians — somewhat less than one-half their total number; Pennsylvania took 33,000 Italians. The marked changes in percentages since 1850 are in the North Atlantic States, which received 59 per cent of the immigration then and now receive about 50 per cent; and in the Western States, which in 1850 had 1.2 per cent, 8.2 per cent in 1900, and in 1909 6.5 per cent of all the new arrivals. In 1900, one-eighth of the whole population was foreign-born; in 1909, aliens formed one-tenth of the rural and one-fourth of the urban population.
The rapid development of industrialism in the United States has a marked selective effect on a population that is unsettled. That it should act with increasing power on a drifting immigrant population is to be expected; as the century advances, the effect is shown in a great increase of urban immigration. A corresponding lessened interest in agriculture is due partly to the growth of manufactures, partly to the changed nature of population. On the other hand, the important mining industries still draw very heavily on the immigrant for their labour. The tendency, therefore, is for an ever-increasing percentage of the immigrants to settle in the large cities. According to Professor Smith, in 1880 the cities took 45 per cent of the Irish immigrants; 38 per cent of the German, 30 per cent of the English and Scotch, and 60 per cent of the Italian. In Fall River 80 per cent of the population are foreigners; New Britain shows even a larger percentage. The figures for New York, Boston, Milwaukee, and Chicago show still more impressive contrasts. In 1900 the total population of the principal cities of the United States was 19,757,618, leaving in the remainder of the country 56,541,769. In 70 leading cities of the North Atlantic section there were 3,070,352 foreign-born; outside these cities were 1,685,544 foreign-born, or 30.5 per cent of the aliens were in the cities, and 15.4 per cent of all of the foreign-born lived outside the cities. In the South Atlantic States 9.2 per cent of the urban population and 1.1 per cent of the rural were foreign-born; in the North Central, 25.4 per cent of the urban and 12.9 per cent of the rural; in the Western, the percentages were 27.2 and 18.5 per cent. There are 86 cities in which at least 20 per cent of the population is foreign-born and 27 cities in which they form more than one-third of the total population.
The attitude of the United States at the present time (1910) towards foreign immigration is one of caution. Actual and projected legislation aims, not at exclusion, but at selection. It is recognized that the assimilative power, even of America, has its limits. Legislation must, by the application of rational principles, eliminate those incapable of assimilation to the general culture of the country. Great care is, of course, necessary in determining and applying these principles of selection: an educational test, for instance, while it would exclude much ignorance, would also exclude much honesty, frugality, industry, and solid worth. It is probable that a more vigorous system of inspection of immigrants at ports of entry will be put in force, while a stricter control will be exercised over the steamship companies. At the same time, the co-operation of foreign governments is needed, if the exclusive measures designed for the protection of the United States against undesirable immigration are to be made thoroughly effective.
Official Sources. — Decennial Census of the United States, 1790-1900; Annual Reports of the Bureau of Immigration; Treaties in Force of the United States: 1904; Revised Statutes of the United States; Special Consular Report, XXX.
Unofficial. — COMMONS, Races and Immigrants in America (New York, 1908); COOLIDGE, Chinese Immigration (New York, 1909); BRANDENBURG, Imported Americans (New York, 1904); HALL, Immigration and its Effects on the United States (New York. 1906); HANNA, The Scotch Irish (2 vols., New York, 1902); KAPP, Immigration into the United States (New York, 1870); SEWARD, Chinese Immigration (New York, 1881); SMITH, Emigration and Immigration (New York, 1892); STEINER, On the Trail of the Immigrant (New York, 1906); WARNE, The Slav Invasion (Philadelphia, 1904); WHELPLEY, The Problem of the Immigrant (London, 1905).
APA citation. (1911). Migration. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10291a.htm
MLA citation. "Migration." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10291a.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.