The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• Herbert Hoover
The President's News Conference
September 9, 1930


THE PRESIDENT. I have a report from the State Department this morning on some discussions we carried on as to restriction of immigration in some particulars. I will sketch the report and copies of it will be available to you immediately after the conference.

At my request the Department of State examined the operation of the immigration laws of the United States under existing conditions of employment in this country, particularly so far as the administration of the laws rests upon the Department.

The consular officers of the Department have the duty of issuing visas to intending immigrants who show themselves entitled to entry under the laws of the United States. The only important provision of our law as to immigration is that one requiring the exclusion of those who are liable to become public charges. In normal times an applicant for admission, if an able-bodied worker who means to work and has sufficient funds to support himself until he gets to his destination, would be admitted without particular stress, but in abnormal times like the present we are endeavoring to cut down on aliens who may prove to become public charges.

Therefore, the State Department has called a conference of its consular officers to tighten up on that provision. In March 1929, it was taken in hand in respect to Mexico, and Mexican immigration, as you know, has very greatly diminished as a consequence. For some time it has been tightened up in immigrants coming from Canada. Further extension of it lies largely in the European field. The administration made recommendations to Congress in the last session as to restriction that might be made and, while the committees were favorable, no action was taken. And this will at least carry over until Congress can consider the question.

The statement itself will carry its own explanation so I don't think it is necessary for me to be quoted.

There is some background here that might be helpful. This method of tightening up the volume of immigration of persons who are certain to be public charges will not affect preferences given to relatives under the law. It is obvious that relatives of residents in the country are not likely to become public charges.

I might add that practically all countries suffering from unemployment have tightened their immigration restrictions in the past few months--Canada and most of the European countries. There seems to be a general realization that each country should take care of its own problem and, while there is no denial of immigration at large, it is merely a tightening against persons likely to fall in the class of public charges. How far it will affect the volume of immigration cannot be told now but it will have a material effect, especially on the labor group. And that is all I have today.

Citation: Herbert Hoover: "The President's News Conference", September 9, 1930. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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