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The Restriction of Immigration

Henry Pratt Fairchild
1912 American Journal of Sociology  
There are enough people in the United States who believe that there is something wrong with our present method of handling immigration, to furnish an audience, ready made, to one who has a remedy to propose. It is no longer necessary to go over the long line of argument to prove that evils exist. For this very reason, perhaps, there has been a wide variety of schemes of reform presented, each with its followers. Nevertheless, the student of social affairs who is accustomed to regard public
more » ... regard public problems in the light of established laws and fundamental principles, approaches such a question as the regulation of immigration with extreme reluctance. It is such a tremendous movement, and cuts straight across all social relations with such an unsparing inclusiveness, as to inspire him with a feeling of reverential awe, rather than a desire to intermeddle. In a human problem of such complexity, one can never foresee with accuracy what the unknown factors will be, nor be certain that some of the latent springs of human conduct will not break out to upset his best laid plans. Yet the immigration problem is not one which can be let alone. It is a dynamic question, which demands attention and decision. If we settle the matter by determining to do nothing, we thereby make a decision, for which we may be more accountable than if we took some positive stand. And in this country, immigration will not be let alone. Somebody must make decisions, and frame policies, and if the social scientists hold aloof, it will be done by selfish interests and quack politicians. More than this, it is an immediate problem. Things are happening with alarming rapidity, and what is to be done must be done speedily. These are the reasons which justify the presentation of this paper, in which it is proposed to suggest certain improvements in our method of handling the immigration situation in this country.
doi:10.1086/212014 fatcat:z2jbo5vnavb6dav5br5h5kqpve