Immigration and Labor: The Economic Aspects of European Immigration to the United States

By Isaac A. Hourwich | Go to book overview

PART IV
CONCLUSION

CHAPTER XXIII
PROBABLE EFFECTS OF RESTRICTION OF IMMIGRATION

It is recognized by the Immigration Commission that the industrial expansion of the past twenty years would have been impossible without "the new immigration." But the Commission holds "a slow expansion of industry" preferable to "immigration of laborers of low standards."1 The Commission has accordingly recommended that "a sufficient number be debarred to produce a marked effect upon the present supply of unskilled labor." At the same time the Commission is very careful to place no obstacles in the way of the skilled immigrant and recommends legislation that would facilitate the importation of skilled labor under contract.2

If the recommendations of the Immigration Commission were carried out, there would soon be an oversupply of skilled labor. In a modern mill or mine there is a fixed proportion of skilled to unskilled laborers. Were the immigration of skilled mechanics to continue unimpaired, while the expansion of industry slowed down in consequence of a reduced supply of unskilled labor, it is evident that a portion of the skilled immigrants could find no employment at their trades. In the long run the immigration

____________________
1
Reports of the Immigration Commission, vol. 1, p. 45.
2
Ibid., p. 47.

-489-

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