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Steerage Class - Abuses Among Immigrant Passengers - 1910 Report

Abuses among immigrant passengers who come to this country through the ports of New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore, have recently been the subject of a "silent" inspection by immigrant officers connected with the department of commerce and labor.: Immigrant Commissioner Daniel J. Keefe, in his next annual report to congress, will have a number of interesting things to say, urging reforms in the service.

A few years ago the immigration commission appointed by congress to thoroughly investigate conditions among the immigrants, especially with regard to steerage passengers, disclosed a number of alleged abuses. Women agents were employed, as well as men inspectors, who made trips from Europe in the steerage for the purpose of studying conditions at close range.

In part, June report, which is regarded as confidential, will contain convincing proof that the conditions of the steerage quarters of the great trans-Atlantic vessels is as severe an arraignment of conditions as was the first chapter in the history of immigration, affecting the "white slave" traffic.

Attempted attacks on immigrant women and girls have not been remedied; unclean and unsanitary conditions in the steerage are as prevalent today as formerly; scant and unpalatable foods are still served, and wanton and repeated insults, mentioned in former inspections by women agents of the immigration commission, continue without abatement.

These few evils mentioned in the report of the commission have in no measure been remedied, seemingly in view of the fact that there is at present no law, actively enforced, which makes the steamship companies responsible for the conditions.

Source: The Evening Standard, Ogden, Utah, Thursday, October 6, 1910, Page 2, Column 2

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