Chapter VII The Immigrant and the Poverty Problem focuses on the poverty and causes representation of immigrants, who massively arrived from Southern and Eastern Europe in the United States from 1830 to 1851 in search of better lives there than they had at their homes due to starvation and death. The author of the book was a devoted social worker, who strived to fight against the exploitation of immigrant people in the United States. Her special focus was to improve the lives of immigrant children. Many of the immigrants who arrived had relatives in the United States who could assist them; however, others were just victims of deportation. The causes behind it were poverty and a charge on the government. In Great Britain and Ireland the trade unions and relief organizations gave money to unemployed people for emigration. “Each of the deported squatters was given one pound by the Government when he landed in the United States” (Abbott 168). Also, the Poor Law Amendment Act authorized deportation of paupers from England, starting with 1834 onwards, and in 1847 from Ireland, too. English immigrants were first deported to Canada, and only a small fraction of them arrived in the United States. Deportation was considered to cure the poverty in Ireland caused by the landlord system. Moreover, the Irish were regarded “fugitives from slavery”, therefore “we are, or ought to be welcoming theses last wrecks of so many centuries of retreat” (169). Although Americans welcomed them as refugees and cared for the Irish sufferers, many of them were deported in the nineteenth century: “tax first and neglect them afterwards” (170). New York and Massachusetts, for example, tried to prevent the landing of the probable public charges and thus required bonds for a five-year period from the shipmaster for a risk group of immigrants unable of self-support. Lunatics, idiots, beggars and those with a physical defect, were denied admission.
In 1882 the federal regulation on immigration was adopted. The exclusion laws became only fiercer year after year. In 1915 alone, 6.9% of all immigrants who came to the United States were excluded and deported to Europe at no expense of the United States Government. However, a moral obligation of the United States was to take responsibility for the safe deportation of all immigrants who became rejected due to mental or physical defects. For this reason, they connected them with supervisory organizations in Europe. It is important to note that many breaches were discovered as regards the support of the poor; the persons were also restricted of free migration in fear of placing the burden to another community, both in England and the United States. A laborer in England, for example, had to obtain a certificate guaranteeing support in case he became a public charge. It violated a person’s natural liberty. The deportation from the United Stated was also problematic for those immigrants who were discovered within three years after their admission. If they were in need of social treatment, it was “customary to ask about the length of his residence in the United States before rendering the service needed” (180). The United States Census figures showed that “insanity is less frequent among the children than among the adults” (188).
Abbott, Grace. The Immigrant and the Community. New York: the Century Co., 1917. Print.