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HOMESTEAD ENTRIES ON FOREST RESERVATIONS IN
THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE,
IN RESPONSE TO SENATE RESOLUTION OF JANUARY 17, 1913, INFORMATION RELATIVE TO HOMESTEAD ENTRIES ON FOREST RESERVATIONS IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, TOGETHER WITH OTHER INFORMATION.
and FEBRUARY 13, 1913.—Referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry,
ordered to be printed.
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY,
Washington, February 11, 1913. . The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE PRO TEMPORE.
Sir: On January 17, 1913, the Senate passed the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Secretary of Agriculture be, and he is hereby, directed to report to the Senate, at as early a date as possible, the names of the forest reserves in the State of Washington; the area of each; the number of homestead entries allowed in each under the act of June eleventh, nineteen hundred and six; the number of ranger stations in each, and the area reserved for ranger purposes; the number of acres under cultivation in connection with ranger stations; the number of applications that are now pending under said act of June eleventh, nineteen hundred and six; the number rejected and the number allowed in each of said reserves.
In reply I have the honor to transmit herewith a tabulated statement embodying the information called for, except in the case of the Kaniksu National Forest, of which only a minor part is in the State of Washington.
It has been assumed in preparing this tabulation that the purpose of the resolution was to secure information with regard to all areas withdrawn for administrative purposes, whether actually for use as ranger stations or for other purposes, such as lookout stations, forest nurseries, storehouses for tools and other fire-fighting, equipment, corrals and summer pastures, logging landings, sawmill and dam sites, and other requirements. The lands thus withdrawn are often altogether unsuited for agriculture. Out of the over 39,000 acres shown by the statement as withdrawn for administrative sites, considerably more than 80 per cent is either under heavy timber or permanently unsuited for agriculture by climate or soil. As against the small amount of cultivable land embraced in administrative site withdrawals, there had been listed for settlement prior to July 1, 1912, over 50,000 acres from the same forests, while over 150,000 acres more had been restored to the public domain through eliminations. The listings for entry on all the national forests prior to July 1, 1912, totaled nearly 1,150,000 acres, for the benefit of over 10,000 settlers; and the eliminations from all forests in the last four years have restored over 10,000,000 acres to the public domain. As the table shows, the withdrawals for administrative sites of all kinds in the State of Washington average about 80 acres to every township of national forest area, mainly (as already explained) nonagricultural lands; and the record of applications on file January 1, 1913, for the listing of lands under the forest homestead law was clear except for a small number of cases which for special reasons could not be acted on before the last field season closed. Very respectfully,
JAMES WILSON, Secretary.
Data relating to national forests in the State of Washington, requested by Senate resolution
1 Includes these formally withdrawn by the Secretary of the Interior, also those posted and reserved.
Number of entries allowed by the General Land Office. 8 Number of applications listed. + Received too late for field examination this season. * Five suspended, within land classification project; 4 received too late for field examination this season. 6 Twelve received since October 26; 5 pending replies from applicants.
? Four suspended, within land classification project; 1 pending report of soil expert; 4 received too late for field examination this season.
REGULATION OF THE IMMIGRATION OF ALIENS.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
WITHOUT APPROVAL, THE BILL (S. 3175) ENTITLED “AN ACT TO REGULATE THE IMMIGRATION OF ALIENS TO AND THE RESIDENCE OF ALIENS IN THE UNITED STATES."
FEBRUARY 14, 1913.-Ordered to lie on the table and to be printed.
To the Senate:
I return herewith, without my approval, S. 3175.
I do this with great reluctance. The bill contains many valuable amendments to the present immigration law which will insure greater certainty in excluding undesirable immigrants.
The bill received strong support in both Houses and was recommended by an able commission after an extended investigation and carefully drawn conclusions.
But I can not make up my mind to sign a bill which in its chief provision violates a principle that ought, in my opinion, to be upheld in dealing with our immigration. I refer to the literacy test. For the reasons stated in Secretary Nagl's letter to me, I can not approve that test. The Secretary's letter accompanies this.
WM. H. TAFT. THE WHITE HOUSE,
Washington, February 14, 1913.
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND LABOR,
Washington, February 12, 1913. MY DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: On the 4th instant Mr. Hilles, by your direction, sent me Senate bill 3175, "An act to regulate the immigration of aliens to and the residence of aliens in the United States," with the request that I inform you at my earliest convenience if I know of any objection to its approval. I now return the bill with my comments.
In view of the number of hearings and the general discussion that have been had no more than a brief reference to many of the points will be necessary. The following are some of the objections that have been raised:
First. No exception has been made in behalf of Hawaii. You have been assured that it is proposed to meet this objection by joint resolution. Even if this plan should not be carried out, I do not regard the objection as sufficiently serious to affect the merits of the bill.
Second. The provision that persons shall be excluded who can not become eligible under existing law to become citizens of the United States by naturalization is obscure, because it leaves unsettled the question as to who are to be regarded as white persons. But this is merely a perpetuation of the uncertainty which is now to be found in the naturalization law.
Third. The provision that the Secretary may determine in advance upon application whether it is necessary to import skilled labor in any particular instance, that this decision shall be held in abeyance for 30 days, and that in the meantime anyone objecting may appeal to the district court to try de novo such question of necessity is unsatisfactory. The provision for the appeal to the courts is probably unconstitutional, but even if the entire provision proves ineffective the law will be left substantially where it is, and so this does not constitute a grave objection to the bill.
Fourth. The provision that the Secretary may detail immigrant inspectors and matrons for duty on vessels carrying immigrants or immigrant passengers is objected to by foreign countries, but inasmuch as this is left to the discretion of the Secretary, and it is understood, for illustration, that Italy insists upon such practice with respect to all steamship companies taking immigrants from her shores, it does not seem to me that this is a controlling objection.
Fifth. The provision in section 7, with respect to the soliciting of immigration by steamship companies, vests the Secretary with somewhat drastic authority by way of imposing fines and denying the right of a steamship company to land alien immigrant passengers. Again, this is not mandatory, and therefore does not go to the heart of the bill.
It appears to me that all these and similar objections might well have been considered in committee and may become the subject of future consideration by Congress, but, fairly considered, they are of incidental importance only and furnish no sufficient reason for disapproving this bill.
With respect to the literacy test I feel compelled to state a different conclusion. In my opinion, this is a provision of controlling importance, not only because of the immediate effect which it
have upon immigration and the embarrassment and cost it may impose upon the service, but because it involves a principle of far-reaching consequence with respect to which your attitude will be regarded with profound interest.
The provision as it now appears will require careful reading. In some measure the group system is adopted—that is, one qualified immigrant may bring in certain members of his family—but the effect