Biological Aspects of Immigration.
Committee on Immigration and Naturalization,
House of Representatives,
Washington, D. C., April 16, 1920.
The committee assembled at 11:10 a.m., Hon. Albert Johnson (chairman) presiding.
The Chairman. We have a gentleman here, Mr. Laughlin, who came at our request and whom we should hear.
Statement of Mr. H. H. Lauglin, or the Eugenics Research Association, of Cold Spring Harbor, Long Island, N.Y.
Mr. Laughlin. Mr. Chairman, I want to present the biological and eugenical aspect of immigration. Some of my remarks will be of a general nature, but I will support them by special data.
Mr. Box. What particular phase is he discussing?
The Chairman. I presume checking immigration; we will give him permission to put his statistics in the record.
Mr. Laughlin. The character of the nation is determined primarily by its racial qualities; that is, by the hereditary physical, mental, and moral or temperamental traits of its people. We have trained field workers who visit insane hospitals, prison, and other institutions for the socially inadequate, get in touch with the inmates or patients find out whether of native or foreign stock, and then go to their home territories and determine what kind of hereditary material that are made of; in fact, we are trying to solve the problem of the relative influences of heredity and environment in making these degenerate Americans. Since coming under national control our immigration policy has been determined largely upon an economic basis; this was especially true in the earlier years of Federal control, but in later years the sanitary feature quite properly entered, and during the war the element of immediate national safety ruled.
It is now high time that the eugenical element, that is, the factor of natural hereditary qualities which will determine out future characteristics and safety, receive due consideration. We are beginning to study this eugenical situation and to insist that it shall be given due consideration. Permit me to set forth a plan which our investigators thought should be enforced in testing the worth of immigrants. There are two features which if added to our immigration laws would, we believe, result in the development of a practical eugenical standard. First, we think that an examination of the immigrants should be made in their home towns, because that is the only place where one can get eugenical facts. If the investigator goes to an institution, a prison, a school for the feeble