the third session of the Sixty-fifth Congress the Committee
on Immigration and Naturalization gave thorough consideration
to the question of immigration restriction. Several bills
were introduced and extended hearings were held. . . .
This bill provided for the prohibition of immigration for
a period of four years. The committee was practically unanimously
in favor of such a prohibition, and at that time it was
thought such a bill could be passed if time for its consideration
could be given on the floor of the House. But the House
calendars were so congested that the bill did not receive
a hearing and therefore failed of enactment. . . .
It is impossible to estimate the effect which the . . .
bill would have produced had it become a law during the
Sixty-fifth Congress. But of this much we can be certain:
That countless numbers of persons now coming to the United
States would not have left their homes in Europe during
the past year. . . . The flow of immigration to the United
States is now in full flood. The need for restrictive legislation
is apparent. The accommodations at Ellis Island are not
sufficient for the avalanche of new arrivals; larger cities
have not houses for them; work cannot be found for them;
and further, the bulk of the newer arrivals are of the dependent
rather than the working class. . . .
Members of the committee found the new immigration at Ellis
Island to consist practically of all nationalities except
Orientals. It found by far the largest percentage of immigrants
to be peoples of Jewish extraction. On the steamship New
Amsterdam, sailing from Rotterdam, the committee found that
80 percent of the steerage passengers were from Galicia,
practically all of Jewish extraction. . . . The committee
is confirmed in the belief that the major portions of recent
arrivals come without funds. It was apparent to the committee
that a large percentage of those arriving were incapable
of earning a livelihood. . . .
The committee has disregarded all statements that might
give a religious bias of any kind to the matter under consideration.
It is fair to state, however, that the largest number of
Jews coming to the United States before the war [World War
I] in a single year was 153,748 (1906); while during the
one month of October 1920; it is estimated that of the 74,665
immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, more than 75 percent
were of the Semitic race.
Figures available for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1920,
show that a very small number of these peoples gave as their
reason for coming to the United States the desire to escape
religious or political persecution.