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Source: Chicago Sunday Tribune
Source type: newspaper
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Stronger Immigration Laws Needed”
Author(s): Billings, George B.
City of publication: Chicago, Illinois
Date of publication: 15 September 1901
Volume number: 60
Issue number: 258
Part/Section: 2
Pagination: 13

Billings, George B. “Stronger Immigration Laws Needed.” Chicago Sunday Tribune 15 Sept. 1901 v60n258: part 2, p. 13.
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anarchism (dealing with); anarchism (laws against); anarchism (personal response).
Named persons
A photograph of the author accompanies this editorial on the same page.

“By George B. Billings, Immigration Commissioner.”


Stronger Immigration Laws Needed

MUCH may yet be done toward strengthening the exclusion features of the immigration laws, and that task must be executed by Congress. The laws now take cognizance of Anarchists, but some of these pests manage to get into this country, as into every other.
     It has been suggested that it ought to be insisted that each immigrant should produce a certificate from the police authorities of the community from which he departs, this certificate to be a guarantee of his law-abiding character. It is generally understood, however, that this system would not work with complete satisfaction, because the authorities would be anxious to rid themselves of dangerous persons.
     The Immigration bureau has adopted the plan of enlisting the services of the physicians of the marine hospitals to pass upon the physical and mental health of every intending immigrant. This plan has worked well, the physicians recommending the prevention of immigration in many cases.
     The duty also has been imposed upon American Consuls abroad of guarding against undesirable immigration, and this system also has been beneficial. If the duty and authority of the Consuls could be extended so that they would investigate the character of intending immigrants, as well as the physical health of such persons, that, it seems to me, would be a great advantage.
     I assume that nobody but a madman of the nature of a wild beast would commit an atrocity like that which has startled and horrified us all at the present time, and it seems reasonable to suppose that closer investigation of the character, disposition, and environment, and of the political and social affiliations of intending immigrants, would exclude many more dangerous persons than the laws now can reach.
     The laws, then, must be made more stringent, and a system of more detailed observation and investigation be established. This latter plan, as I have said, may be operated through the agency of our consular system.
     One is tempted at this moment to recommend any measures, however severe, to keep these shores clean of the foul brood of anarchy, but it is a serious problem, and one with which Congress has wrestled in the past and will have to wrestle with in the immediate future. The horror and indignation which have resulted from the striking down of a man of the noble character of our President will, I am sure, find immediate results in concerted and decisive legislative action against anarchy.



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