Gino Speranza, Outline of proposed work for the Committee on Crime and Immigration, January 18, 1911

American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology.

While the membership of this Committee is not yet complete, your Chairman with the approval of the Secretary of the Institute, deems it advisable to proceed with its work, and to that end begs to submit a tentative assignment to sub-committees and an outline of proposed investigations. A meeting will be called in February, probably on the day of _____, at which time those numbers who cannot be present are earnestly requested to send suggestions in writing.

The original resolution under which the Committee was created 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 liabilities, etc."

During the First year of its existence the active members of the Committee gave their special attention to the question of the alien in the civil courts and to the disabilities of the alien in his civil status.

For this year it has seemed advisable to change the lines of inquiry and with the hope of more intensive work by members, to divide the Committee into two subcommittees under the Chairman, as follows:

Sub-committee (a). The Crimes of Aliens and the Alien in our Criminal Courts.

Sub-committee (b): Deportation, Extradition and the International Aspects of Immigration.

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I have assigned members of this Committee as follows: --

To Sub-committee (a) Professor George W. Kirchway, Miss Frances A Kellor and Miss Grace Abbott.

To Sub-committee (b) Miss Jane Addams, Prof. Charles C. Hyde and Frederic R. Coudert, Esq.

Public opinion has been greatly stirred by certain peculiar crimes which, whether justly or not, are generally ascribed to aliens. Whether true or not such generally held opinion will work great harm to the great mass of law-abiding aliens and they can but welcome any impartial inquiry into the facts. But whatever these may be, the student of criminal law and criminology, must be deeply impressed with a very sinister aspect of the situation -- the apparent ineffectiveness of our laws and procedure to reach such crimes and the failure of our police to apprehend such criminals. While opinions on this subject greatly vary, no serious attempt has been made to gather all the mass of material that is available, or to sift and examine it in the light of historical or penal precedents. A Committee composed of experts on law and students of our immigrants seems especially well fitted to conduct such an inquiry and to enlist the cooperation of all those officials and persons who may aid in securing reliable data.

Your Chairman entrusts this important labor to subcommittee (a) leaving to it ample choice as to organization and methods of inquiry.

Not unrelated to this subject is the other branch of sub-committee A's proposed inquiry -- the status of the alien accused in the criminal courts. It has been claimed that during periods of popular excitement against so called "alien crimes", the police at times resorts to [page 3] "frame-ups" and an unjustifiable use of the "Third-degree". That the handicaps of the alien in the civil courts is greatly accentuated in criminal proceedings will, I think, be conceded. How far such handicaps prevent a just administration of penal law, how such disabilities or handicaps may be diminished are all questions which sub-committee A must take under consideration.

Sub-committee (b) has for its study the immigrant as an object of international action, including an inquiry into the sufficiency of our defenses against alien criminals. Hence its inquiries may be broadly subdivided as follows: --

First: Do existing treaty provisions, directly or by implication and interpretation, sufficiently protect the alien's rights and remedies in the United States? This will involve a critical examination of judicial decision, official opinions and precedents, the practical disabilities <to> which aliens are subjected from our dual form of State and Federal Government, the collection of data with a suggestion and reform proposed.

Second: Do existing legal provisions either in our Statutes or in our Treaties sufficiently protect the United States from alien criminals? Decisions and precedents in extradition and the practical working out of our deportation laws will have to be collated with suggestions for immediate reform.

Third: Advisability of settling the status of the immigrant by international agreement.

The mobile character of a part of the immigration to this country, the admitted hardships of deportation, the obvious ineffectiveness of barring out criminals by national legislative barriers, are leading many observers to look upon immigration as a phenomenon or fact not only [page 4] to be studied as an international question but to be effectively disciplined only by international action. There are in outline some of the questions to be considered by sub-committee (b).

As I have stated our Committee is not complete as to membership and your Chairman invites the suggestion of persons who might aid in our work. I must urge, however, that in making such suggestion such persons be chosen as are willing to actively take part in the work. I regret to say that last year what was done was the labor of just two members [out] of a large Committee. The work planned for this year calls for our country.

Respectfully Submitted,

Present membership of Committee "G"

Miss Jane Addams,
Hull House,
Chicago, Ill.

Miss Frances Kellor,
Bureau of Immigration & Industries,
City of New York.

Miss Grace Abbott,
Immigrant Protective League,
Chicago, Ill.

Charles Cheney Hyde,
Prof. of International Law Northwestern 
University; Counsel to the Consul General of Italy at Chicago.

George W. Kirchway,
Prof. of Law, Columbia University; Vice Pres. American Institute of Criminal Law.
Director of New York Prison Association.

Frederic R. Coudert, Esq.
Of New York Bar. Member Executive Council
American Society of International Law.

Gino C. Speranza
Chairman -- Member New York State Immigration Commission 1908 to 1909.
Counsel to the Consul General of Italy at New York.