ID# 1116:
"Biological aspects of immigration," Harry H. Laughlin testimony before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization
Date:
1920
Pages: (1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12)
Source:
The Harry H. Laughlin Papers, Truman State University, papers, C-2-6,6
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&quote;Biological aspects of immigration,&quote; Harry H. Laughlin testimony before the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization

Biological Aspects of Immigration. 5 Give opportunities in this country, everybody is not educable. This backwardness is not all due to environment, because our field studies show that there is such a thing as bad stock. There is a third famous degenerate family, the Kallikaks, of New Jersey, and while these three families have been famous in magazines and newspapers, our field workers every month send in case histories that deal with the same human types and conditions. The lesson is that immigrants should be examined, and the family stock should be investigated, lest we admit more degnerate "blood." Mr. Raker. Right there maybe you have not gone into it, but I have: if we see many male immigrants coming here and only a few female, that would degenerate the family that comes here, the males to a certain extent become degenerate: has that had any effect on these studies you have been working on? Mr. Laughlin. We have been concerned principally with the immigrant that reproduces here. Mr. Raker. The others you have not gone into? Mr. Laughlin. You mean as an economic proposition? Mr. Raker. Yes, sir. Mr. Laughlin. We draw the line there because we are interested primarily in stock and have not gone into the economic status of the nonreproducer. Mr. Raker. I wonder whether that nonreproducer or nonbreeder did not affect those who should have been producers, by reason of the large number of males. Mr. Laughlin. You mean in the matter of illegitimacy? Mr. Raker. Yes, sir. Mr. Laughlin. We consider him a reproducer no matter whether his children are legitimate or illegitimate; a race is limited by the reproductive capacity of its females, and that is pretty well shown. The American proposition calls for the medical, economic, and eugenical examination of the immigrant in his own town. Our highly specialized and skilled students have learned how to make such investigations. The American consul would issue a passport which the prospective immigrant could have only after giving a clean bill of health, showing that he has nothing wrong with him such as syphilis, that he comes from a sound and healthy family, although he may be unable to read, and that in his community his family standing for decency is secure. If his children can be taught to read we would consider him good stuff and would give him his passport; he would not have to wait until he got to Ellis Island to find out whether he might enter our country. Mr. Raker. In a concrete proposition developed out of that, as you stated, you mean there should be a certificate presented by the immigrant from his home town or his local or home physician as to his physical condition? Mr. Laughlin. Yes, sir; and as to his reputation and whether he would make a decent citizen. I would have these facts covered by an immigration attaché, and if favorable would have his passport signed by the American consul in the region from which the immigrant comes. Mr. White. Pardon me, but would you require them to display their character certificate, as kept in the Italian criminal records, if they had one?

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