June 29, 1908


Largest Class Since New Law Went
Into Effect Will Be Examined
by Judge John F. Philips
This Morning.

Twelve foreigners will line up in the United States court this morning to be examined by Judge John F. Philips as to their fitness to be admitted to citizenship. It will be the biggest class held in the federal court since the enactment of the new law. Classes this size formerly were put through the circuit or county courts in two shakes of a lamb's tail. Now it is all different, and getting naturalized is about as tough a proposition as a man has to go through. Getting married is nothing at all; getting divorced is, of course, little more, and going dead is no trouble whatever.

Getting naturalized used to be done by going with a ward heeler a few weeks before election day to a judge, and signing a paper there. That facility made the business big. Hanging in the office of United States District Clerk A. Utter are three sheets of paper with forty names on them. These represent every application for citizenship that has been filed here since February 13, not 1 per cent of the old colony days, when ward heelers got so much per head for "citizens" to vote the next month.

The forty men who are bulletined had all been in the country five years before they got their second papers, and they have all had their second papers two years, or nearly two years. Twelve of them will be ripe today, and so they will be marched up before a federal judge and quizzed. There will be no ward heeler doing the talking, and assuring the judge that "he's all right, judge; I've got his slip here," the slip being the man's name written in English, himself, most likely, unable to utter it, and the prospective citizen absolutely ignorant of the government of the United States.

That type of foreigner is out of the running entirely now. He never will get to vote. In the federal court there is no night sitting, no colonizing, no running them through in blocks, and above all else no slips. Each man will have to toe the mark and tell something about the constitution, the rights of the franchise, the form of government, the course of a document, from the draft to the signed law, and most likely may have to compare the government of the United Stats with that of the land he is forsaking.

The new law does not limit immigration. The same lot of undesirables can still get into the country, but they may not vote till they know English, have established a reputation, and are up on the bill of rights and other fundamental principles of the government.