It has been impossible to get the Committee together owing, largely, to the fact of the geographical distribution of the member's [composing] it.
The Chairman, however addressed a letter to each member of the Committee asking what special branch of the subject assigned to our Committee, each of said members would prefer to investigate or report upon. Very few responses were received.
The subject for the special study by the Committee is one that necessitates a great deal investigation and collection of facts and data, and in my opinion sufficient information cannot be obtained by the Committee, without paid expert help.
I was very glad, therefore, to take under advisement an offer made by the North American Civic League of New York, through the courtesy of Miss Kellor, to provide two assistants of the Research and Legislative Committee of the League to cooperate with my Committee in the ascertainment of certain facts regarding aliens in our Courts.
I have not yet had the opportunity to submit such offer to my Committee, but hope to do so, in the near future. [page 2] I annex a copy of an Outline of the investigation proposed by said League.
Such Outline of work, in my opinion, if acted upon, would furnish us valuable data regarding subdivisions (b), (c) and (e) of the resolution of the Institute creating this Committee on the Alien and the Courts, which is as follows:
"That a committee be appointed to investigate and report at the next annual meeting upon the subject of the Alien and the Courts with special reference to such questions as
(a) Treaty rights
(b) Status under the various State laws
(c) Procedure, including interpreters, appeals, etc.
(d) Deportation for commission of crime
(e) Criminal statistics as affected by legal disabilities, etc."
Regarding subdivision (d) the Hon. William S. Bennet of the Federal Immigration Commission has kindly offered to present a report for the Committee's consideration on the subject of "The Deportation of aliens for the Commission of Crime". Mr. Bennet's report will be submitted to this Committee as soon as received.
Subdivision (a) regarding Treaty Rights has been under the special study of the Chairman of the Committee. The inquiry has been in regard to the interpretation and application of treaty provisions enacted for the protection of the interests of nationals abroad, in their relation to that class of nationals which in this Country are loosely called immigrants. In other words to inquire if treaty provisions which relate to the protection of aliens in this country, can be invoked for that special protection required by the special disabilities of the immigrant, and if so, in what manner and to what extent it may be so invoked. Our Courts have recognized [page 3] legislative enactments which, in effect, sought to protect aliens here resident by special and perhaps somewhat paternal provisions. The Courts have recently sustained such laws as a proper exercise of the police power of the State (see Engel Vs. O'Malley, U.S. Supreme Court of New York, January 3rd 1911, Musco vs. U.S. Company, 196 N.Y. 459).
On the other hand, foreign powers, like Italy and Austro Hungary, have passed and are actively enforcing special laws for the protection of their emigrants both at departure, in transit and abroad. Hence both a legislation and a jurisprudence are being evolved relating to and affecting a well defined class, -- the immigrant. This class is of special interest in our country and is well worth careful study. The inquiry of the Chairman of the Committee has, therefore, been directed, as I have stated, to a study of the [extension] of the application of treaty provisions to the immigrant class in our country.
A paper by the Chairman suggesting ways or possibilities of protecting the alien through Consular intervention was published by the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology under the title of "The Relation of the Alien to the Administration of the Civil and Criminal Law (Chicago, November 1910).
Cases decided by the Courts in our country regarding Consular intervention when invoked for the protection of immigrants are being collated by the Chairman.
I regret that no more definite report can be made. I trust, however, that my Committee which counts in its membership, some of the most experienced men and women in our country on the subject of immigration, will be able, at a later [page 4] date, to report fully on the important question assigned to it for investigation and study.
March 1st, 1911.
To the President of
The American Institute of
Criminal Law and Criminology.