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[Gilbert H. Grosvenor. Some of Our Immigrants. The National Geographic Magazine, Volume 18. May 1907.]
THE following series of illustrations, showing different types of the immigrants who are now pouring into the United States in even greater numbers than in 1905 and 1906, were obtained through the courtesy of Hon. F. P. Sargent, Commissioner General of Immigration. The immigrants were photographed immediately after disembarking, and are here shown just as they landed, most of them being still clad in their native costume, which will be discarded, however, within a few hours.
No migration in history is comparable to the great hordes that have crossed the Atlantic during the past 20 years to enter our territory. In 1905, 1,026,499 immigrants were admitted; in 1906, 1,100,735, and in the present year the total will exceed the record of 1906 by many thousands. Since June 30, 1900, 6,000,000 have been admitted, of whom probably 5,500,000 have settled permanently in the United States.
The report of Mr Sargent for 1906, recently issued, contains much interesting information about the character and qualifications of the immigrants. Perhaps the most striking fact is that less than 5 per cent of the newcomers have reached or passed the age of 45. Of the arrivals in 1906, 913,955 ranged in age from 14 to 44, 136,273 were less than 14 years of age, and only 50,507 had reached or passed the age of 45. More than twothirds of the immigrants were males, the figures being 764,463 men and boys and 336,272 women and girls.
About 28 per cent of the total number were illiterate, which is a very large proportion when we consider that only 6.2 per cent of the total white population of the United States and only 4.6 per cent of the native-born whites in 1900 were illiterate.
The immigrants brought to the country cash amounting to $25,109,413. It is exceedingly interesting to note the difference in financial condition between certain of the races. For instance, while the number of Hebrew aliens admitted was more than three times as great as the number of English, the former brought $2,362,125 with them and the latter $2,610,439, while the 144,954 Germans and Scandinavians brought $5,091,594; the 263,655 South Italians and Greeks brought only $4,183,398, and while 16,463 Scotch were able to show $820,759, more than twice as many members of the Slovak race produced only $526,028.
There were debarred during the year 12,432 aliens, of whom 2,495 belonged to the Hebrew race, 2,121 to the Italian, 1,000 to the Polish, and 1,867 to the German.
More than one-third of the entire number of immigrants—374,708—stated that they intended to stay in the State of New York, while one-sixth of them—198,681 —asserted that they were going to Pennsylvania : 86,539, or about one-twelfth, were avowedly destined to Illinois; 73,863 intended to reside in Massachusetts, and 58,415 were en route to New Jersey; 880,036 entered through New York, 62,229 through Boston, 54,064 through Baltimore, 23,186 through Philadelphia, 6.201 through Galveston, and 2,051 through New Orleans.
The new immigrant law, which goes into effect July 1, contains important restrictions which will enable the immigrant officials to debar imbeciles, weakminded and other undesirable classes with greater effectiveness than in the past. It also contains a provision preventing the entrance of children under 14 years of age unless accompanied by, or plainly intended for, the parent or guardian. The law also increases the head or entrance tax on each immigrant from $2 to $4.
While the law defines more sharply the undesirable classes, it is doubtful if it will reduce the number of immigrants now seeking our land.