The Future of Immigration.

25 December 1884

It's undeniable that an unfavorable wind currently wafts over European immigration. Numerous factories are still. Thousands of workers are unemployed. Every increase in the number of industrious hands seems unwelcome. This worldwide unfriendly mood toward the new arrivals has an immediate impact on negotiations for legislation and regulations related to the immigration question. Congressional laws overly strict in their vagueness are passed, preventing the so-called pauper immigration. Even stronger laws against people with work contracts are planned. The federal officials who oversee the transatlantic passenger ships are sharpening their available regulations through vicious interpretations and applications. All of this is reported truthfully, of course, by the big eastern newspapers, namely the ones from New York. As soon as the news goes across the ocean the German papers, Protestant and Catholic, jump on it and print it even more colorfully and add some juicy commentary. "You see!," they cry out, "They treat the poor between deck passengers like criminals!" "Whoever doesn't bring along a sack of money, finds no mercy in the eyes of these Yankees!" "The time has irretrievably passed when a poor worker can succeed in America!"

These kinds of warnings, which are as common in the German press as dry leaves in fall, will gradually have an impact over there. To them will be added cautionary letters from earlier immigrants so that finally there's apt to be a decline in European immigration, as was the case after the financial Panic of 1873. Will this mean the end of the well of blessings this country owes to its size? We think not. The American people are not inclined to or ready for a ban on immigration. And as for what has to do with the European peoples', especially the Germans', urge to travel, it will certainly spring to life with the recurring prosperity as is customary for this country. It is true that Bismarck's planned opening up of the enormously rich Congo region should with time attract a larger number of German citizens. However, the tropical climate of central Africa won't be, so to say, viewed by the Germans as moderate. And the it'll be several years, yes even several decades, until the German worker will ship out to St. de Laonda (Africa) with the same cheerful spirit with which he now gets on board a New York steamship.