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The immigration problem has long been a vexing one for the United States. Before the war the number of immigrants and the consequent confusion and mistakes at immigration centers was steadily increasing. But the influx now, caused by the devastation and generally unsettled conditions in Europe, is enormous. Nor has the trouble been alleviated by the recent imposition of new tests and inspections. On the contrary, the situation is worse than ever before.
It is to investigate this problem at its source, and to establish, if possible, some sort of co-operation with foreign governments that Anthony Caminetti, Commissioner-general of Immigration, has recently sailed for Europe. Much confusion, the waste of time and money, and even the separation of families, has been caused through the immigrants' ignorance as to the barriers and conditions that they must pass before they enter America. If they could learn, before leaving their old homes, whether or not they would be admitted by our immigration authorities, most of this trouble might be easily avoided. Indeed, one method has already been successfully adopted in a reciprocal agreement with Canada, where aliens desiring to cross the border may apply at United States immigration offices and receive a final decision before undertaking to break up their homes. Some such plan would be equally effective in the countries of Europe.
Mr. Caminetti, in aiming at the very source of the immigration question, is taking a right stop. With emigration from Europe at its height, we cannot hope to cope with the problem alone. Cooperation is the only remedy. Congress, in drafting the proposed immigration bill at its next session, will give to Mr. Caminetti's recommendation the fullest possible consideration.
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