811.111 Quota/257

The Italian Chargé ( Rosso ) to the Acting Secretary of State

N. 3464

The Royal Chargé d’Affaires of Italy presents his compliments to His Excellency the Acting Secretary of State and has the honor to submit the following to his consideration:

One of the provisions of the Immigration Percentage or Quota Law establishes that aliens arriving in the United States be assigned [Page 586] to the quota of the nation in whose territory they were born, irrespective of the political affiliations of said aliens to any other country.

This Embassy, two years ago and again last year, had the honor, prior to the enactment of the present law and afterwards, to point out to the Department of State the inconveniences which would surely arise from such a provision, which, in the main, deprives our Country of its privilege (a privilege that finds its cause in a national law and its eager enforcement in the national sentiment) to protect adequately its own citizens, helping them, when they desire it, to emigrate to the United States within the limitations of the American Immigration Law and thereby avoid the hardships incident to an eventual rejection and deportation.

The provision in question is, in fact, a law and as such the Royal Government intends to observe it and to comply with it: yet it has been found difficult to learn how the said provision can be properly observed inasmuch as not even the Immigration Officials or the high competent Authorities of the United States Department of Labor seem to be able to indicate the proper way of doing so.

And in the meantime Italian citizens, otherwise admissible, are every day rejected and ordered deported merely because the monthly quota of the nation (outside of Italy) in which they incidentally or accidentally happened to have been born, is exhausted when they arrive at a port of the United States. Now, it is possible, with the almost daily information which the Emigration Service of the Royal Embassy cables to the Home Office in Rome, to foresee the exhaustion of the yearly quota of some nations, but it is practically impossible to foretell, when an Italian immigrant leaves Italy, if the monthly quota of the nation where the immigrant happens to have been born and whose yearly quota is still active, will be exhausted by the time the immigrant arrives in the United States.

As an illustration the Italian Chargé d’Affaires has the honor to quote the case of a girl by the name Anna De Bartolo who arrived a few days ago in Boston, Massachusetts on the steamer Arabic with the avowed purpose of marrying upon arrival an Italian young man to whom she had been engaged for about two years. This girl, the bearer of an Italian passport, was born of Italian parents while they were temporarily in Greece. At the time when she reached Boston the monthly quota of Greece had been exhausted while the yearly quota for that Country still remained active; but all efforts to have this young woman admitted proved vain and she was rejected and ordered deported.

The Royal Emigration Service then asked the Labor Department if, in view of the existence of a law which affects Italian citizens, it was not its privilege to be informed of the manner in which said [Page 587] law could be complied with, adding that in the opinion of this Royal Embassy a law which is not workable lacks the basic elements of existence. But the high officials of the Department answered with their usual kindness that they were sorry, but that they did not know how this provision of the law could be observed from the other side and that immigrants from Italy had to “take a chance” with the immigrants of the nation in which they were born, regardless of their Italian citizenship.

The Chargé d’Affaires of Italy feels confident that the Department of State will agree that in the matter of a law having an international reach and involving the interests and welfare of citizens of a friendly nation, it seems surprising that the element of “chance” should govern; and that the Department will also concede that, while it is the duty of the friendly countries affected by the law to protect their emigrating citizens and at the same time to adequately respect the foreign immigration law, the application of the law on one side and the observance of the same on the other should not be the results of mere accidents.

Therefore, on behalf of Italian citizens emigrating to the United States whom the Royal Government wishes to assist to observe, under proper conditions, the United States law, the Chargé d’Affaires of Italy begs to ask that the way to meet favorably these conditions be clearly indicated.

The Secretary of State will remember that it was the Emigration Service’ suggestion,—while the inconveniences to arise from the provision in question were foreseen, and later when the law was being enforced and the said inconveniences did actually arise—that the law be modified and that the passport, not the place of birth, be the element on which to establish the assignment of aliens to their respective national quotas. While making this suggestion it was explained that the course proposed would not change the numerical and ethnological composition of the quotas and while it would offer to the Emigration countries a simple and efficient system of fulfilling their duties towards meeting the requirements of the United States Law, it would also greatly simplify the work of the American Immigration Officials.

If it is possible for the emigration countries to foresee, to know in time the exhaustion of the annual quotas of other nations, it is on the other hand virtually impossible for them to know anything about the eventual closing of the monthly quotas of other nations when the citizens of the former reach the American ports.

There is then a clear evidence that the law as it now is does not permit a just and sure application and the Chargé d’Affaires has therefore the honor to respectfully ask the Department of State [Page 588] whether there is not a way to have the inapplicable provision amended out of simple fairness and logic.

It is remembered that when the law was voted by the Congress it was said in both the Senate and the House that the rules would have been modified gradually when they would prove to be inefficient or unworkable. Has not an evident case of inapplicability been pointed out?

The Italian Embassy is not asking for any favor or privilege but merely to be put in a position to comply with the United States law and to spare to Italian citizens hardships which so far it is not possible to foresee or avoid.

Before closing, the Chargé d’Affaires takes the liberty of submitting, by way of analogy, the case of Italian citizens from the island of Rhodes, politically Italian, who as such can obtain no passport nor other guidance while emigrating to the United States, than from Italy. And the Chargé d’Affaires begs to re-iterate the request made last year by the Italian Embassy to the Department of State (see Embassy’s note of Dec. 17th, 19217) to have Rhodes considered for the purposes of the United States Immigration Law, as Italian territory; the inhabitants of the island admissible under the Italian quota; the Italian passport to give them the right to be included in such quota. In fact a number of Rhodites is now facing deportation because the quota “Other Asia” to which the Rhodes group seems to have been assigned, is exhausted.

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