countries, and especially Mexico, supplied the cheap pauper labor that had formerly come from southern and eastern Europe. The legal and illegal entries from the nonquota countries, together with the increased smuggling of aliens and the desertion of alien seamen from quota nations, have done much to neutralize the beneficial effects of the 1924 Immigration Act. In other words, while we closed some of the doors, we left others open, and through these open doors aliens continued to enter in large numbers.
My bill, H. R. 5921, proposes to reduce the quota 60 percent. This will leave 40 percent of the present quota to be used to gradually reunite families. My bill applies the quota to the Western Hemisphere so that under its terms, with the exception of near relatives admitted gradually under the quota to reunite families, all immigration will be a thing of the past. Of course, my bill does not interfere with tourists, visitors, clergymen, etc., who come here for temporary periods and not for permanent residence.
My bill also provides that all aliens admitted for permanent residence in this country must take steps to qualify for citizenship 12 months from date, and those aliens who fail to do so will be promptly deported. Since the 3,500,000 aliens unlawfully in this country cannot qualify for citizenship, they will be immediately deported. My bill also provides for the deportation of alien criminals. Communists, dope peddlers, smugglers, gangsters, and the like. I know that one of the specious arguments used against my bill is the so-called "hardship cases." It was to meet this argument that my bill left 40 percent of the present quotas to reunite families gradually where they are not likely to become public charges or to take jobs away from American citizens.
I know it will be charged that it will result in many hardship cases to deport the millions of aliens unlawfully in this country. In regard to hardship cases resulting from deportation, the Commissioner of Immigration, Mr. MacCormack, admitted that not more than 5 percent of all deportation cases could be properly classified as hardship cases. When it is considered that this percentage took into consideration the five-hundred-and-some-odd carry-overs from the previous year it can be conservatively stated that not more than 20 percent are bona fide hardship cases. In my opinion, 3,500,000 aliens unlawfully in this country can be deported without working undue hardship upon them or their families. Of course, in the enforcement of any law, someone must suffer. When a criminal is sent to the penitentiary his wife and family are compelled to suffer, but no one will contend that we should let these criminals go unpunished simply because their families will suffer. There is one sure way that the alien can prevent the separation of families, and that it is to take his family back to the old country with him or not to come to this country unless he can bring his family with him.
So it will not be the Government that is separating the families. It will be the families themselves who prefer to remain in the United States rather than go to their native country with their deported relative. It is a question of who shall suffer, American citizens or the alien and his relatives. As between the two, it is the alien who should suffer. When he entered the country unlawfully he knew that he was violating our laws and subjecting himself to punishment. America is not responsible for his suffering, and why should our own citizens be punished to keep him from paying the price of his own misconduct?
As to the individual cases of unusual merit, where the aliens were merely guilty of a technical breach, or where the records were improperly kept, I am perfectly willing that special bills shall be passed granting clemency. But I am not willing that discretionary power shall be vested in some Secretary of Labor, who may not be sympathetic with restriction, to deport or not to deport as he or she sees fit.