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Steerage -- Recommendations by the United States Immigration Commision (1911)

As the new statute took effect so recently as January 1, and as the “new” steerage, in the opinion of all our investigators, fully complies with all that can be demanded, the Commission’s recommendation is that a statute be immediately enacted providing for the placing of government officials, both men and women, on vessels carrying third-class and steerage passengers, the expense to be borne by the steamship companies. The Bureau of Immigration should continue the system inaugurated by the Commission of sending investigators in the steerage in the guise of immigrants at intervals.

In the past no agent or employee of the bureau has ever crossed the Atlantic in the steerage, so far as the records show. The placing of government officials on the steamers will soon result in the abolition of the “old-style” steerage by legislation if necessary. Legislation will be careful and comprehensive if based on the report of such officials as to steerage conditions when travel is normal, which it was not when the Commission’s investigations were made.

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