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The San Francisco Sunday Call
Smuggling CHINESE ACROSS THE MEXICAN BORDER SOME OF THE AMAZING SCHEMES AND DEVICES AGAINST WHICH UNCLE SAM'S WATCHERS MUST • BATTLE CONSTANTLY AND WHICH OFTEN SUCCEED Wm ~"t""" HAT there is an international j> syndicate operating systemat- J ically in smuggling Chinese into the United States is the belief of the government immigration service. That tens of thousands of them are smuggled bodily into the country every year is admitted by those best in formed. That there is at present in Jamaica a rendezvous containing 5,000 coolies awaiting an opportunity to steal Into, the country is well known. That the coolies pay on an average of $600 to be successfully gotten past the im migration authorities has been estab lished. This is but the .summary of the bod ily smuggling in the face of the oppos ing statutes. Aside from this the im migration service admits that probably 80 per cent of those Chinese let in upon claims backed by many oaths of their countrymen to the effect that they were born in this country are not en titled to admission. Practically all of the Chinese living- In this . country make of themselves Instruments for the evasion of the law and gain admission for others from their native land by claiming them as their sons, daughters or wives. The wile of thi Asiatic is such that it is very successfully evad ing the Immigration laws, which, the service holds, are badly in need of patching up. The rivalry of the tongs and the near war that always exists among them and which occasionally results in the bark of a biff revolver and the death of a tongman is a big motive back of the smuggling. The tongs are able to do battle in proportion to the numbers of their men that are admitted to this country. Each is therefore always en deavoring to g»t an additional man ad mitted. Each therefore raises great sums of money to fight the processes that attempt to return one of their men to China. It is because of the rivalry of the tongs that a humble and pen niless Chinese gets the ablest attor neys in America to fight the govern ment's attempt before the courts to send him back. But In all this fight of the Chinesa cooly to get into the land of opportu nity there is much that is strange and interesting, much of .adventure, of pathos, of humor. For the east and the west here come together in a contest of wits and the result is illuminating. The cruder of the methods of smug gling the Chinese in lies in getting them past guards that patrol the Mex ican and Canadian borders or that watch ports where boats land. It is in this deliberate smuggling that there is unquestionably an organization that is almost world wide. The immigration service has intercepted letters that show conclusively that men in New York are regularly in communication with those in Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, China. They keep eacli other posted as to where there is a lax point in the government's exclusion lines and where there are numbers of men seek ing admission. When the regulations on the Canadian border become so effective as to make admission impos sible the tide flows to Mexico. •If It is not possible to get in from that point they may rendezvous on" an island in the West Indies. When the barrier becomes too formidable the coolies may be brought together at some convenient point and maintained for months or years until a way Is found to get them in. El Paso is a point of great activity for smugglers. Outlaw Mexicans and Americans operate in conjunction with the orientals. A favorite method is for an American to- assume responsibility for a party of half a dozen Chinese.' He is to receive so much each for them if he gets them across the border and on the way to the Interior. Under cover of the darkness he attempts to get the men across the river ln~a boat. There are many miles of river front to watch and the task of the guards is no mean one. The smuggler operates in the immediate vicinity of the city, for he must, get his men started to the interior and the railroads are the in strument. At a small center a party of Chinese would attract much attention, but in El Paso they have a chance to go unnoticed. Provided the , smuggler succeeds in getting across the river with his charges he makes for the railroad yards. Here he hopes to get his men into a freightcar bound for the interior. If they can get* to. San Francisco, Den ver, Los Angeles, : Chicago, New, York or any of the bigger cities they may' lose themselves in the Chinese quarter and get to work as laundrymen or some such occupation. They are compara tively safe. The smuggler: knows all about riding freight* trains, and* also about the processes of subsidizing the "shacks" or brakemen. Either on his own initiative or through a brakeman he succeeds in getting his men into a car that is soon^to leave for the in terior. They have water and provi sions and may remain :in the "car for days or a, week. Eventually they emerge into an unknown world and take their chances with the unknown problems. Sometimes they never emerge alive. Not long ago a smuggler-put a Chinese in the ice chamber of a re frigerator car in. Canada, He was to have been released by a confederate in Detroit. In some way the confederate failed. A month later in cleaning the car in St. Louis the frozen body of the Chinese was found. It was traced back and the man responsible for the tragedy was arrested and convicted. Another method of smuggling, the Chinamen by train Is to get them Into bonded cars on one side of the Amer ican line 'and shuttle - them through} The inspection officials have no author ity to enter a' bonded car. It already has the government sanction to go through. Yet there are ; methods by which Chinamen may have been gotten into "it and they often ,a,re successful in such attempts. . Recently, near Er Paso, a smuggler; was seen to cross the river. with a boat load of Chinamen, in order -to deter mine his plan of ; procedure he was allowed to land and followed.' -He went into the brush of the' uninhabited'river banks. There, it was found, .he had secreted a' covered wagon arid this 'was full of Chinamen. The' smuggler.- was ostensibly a dealer in hay. He shipped it in" carload lots to interior points. This very wagon was to .have been driven upto a car in the freight yards and both hay, and Chinamen loaded in. The hay already loaded was stacked In such a-, way as to leave an appar ently'full car hollow that the Chinamen might. ride in comparative comfort. .A very unique method of getting the Chinamen ;across the border was also devised along the 'Rio Grande. The ingenious; smuggler who originated it arranged- a barrel in such a way that the lid - might' be; raised arid : closed' from the Inside. A; Chinaman was, put into the barrel; and the latter put into the river. The man sitting in the bottom of the barrel ' made that side heavy arid it remained down. The Chinaman could put his head out for a look at will or could entirely closa the barrel if he chose. He floated silently down the river until he drifted to a good landing place on the American side, when iie scrambled out. This method has also been successfully worked on ' the Canadian border, where the streamjs flow from that country into the United, States. / \u25a0 •Such points- as Douglas, Ariz.; No gales, Tia Juanaand a score of others on" the ' Southern border have to be continually and carefully • guarded. .From these points mounted guards ride the line, constantly. They watch every trail that crosses it and follow these down like bloodhounds. Not inffe-" quently. smugglers are caught in the _act' : and., recently ; the guards, have found it necessary i. to engage •in gun fights' to'stop a' party. /Just at present there' ls* pending a case" against a T guard who shot and wounded a smuggler, and ,the Chinese . have placed the' best" of legal talent, to prosecute him, hop ing,: to obtain his conviction and thus discourage such summary, practices. Buffalo is one of . the _ points -of greatest activity on the Canadian bor der. 1 ; The attempt . here is to bring the Chinamen across the lake in- boats' and smuggle; them: into' the. town! . ".Not- long ago a cargo of seven such In charge; of Buffalo white man; ; who owned a*gaso lineVlaunch,-were driven -'ashore by a storm and the boat -wrecked. : : Four of the Chinamen were drowned and the smuggler was captured and convicted. In the Gulf of Mexico the smugglers operate on a larger scale. Larger boats are employed and the Chinamen are landed a score iat a time. The coolies are got .from points along the Mexican coast or from Cuba or Ja maica. Then the attempt is made, to land them/usually at some point from which Galveston or New Orleans is ac cessible. Numbers of cargoes have been known to be so landed and to have succeeded in escaping into the interior. Other numbers have been frustrated, captures have been made and the smugglers sent to prison. The north Atlantic coast has also known some spectacular cases. That to attract most attention was the cap ture of the Frolic at Providence four years ago with 50 Chinamen on board. A similar cargo is'known to have pre viouslyl landed successfully. * Even In this case in which the smugglers were arrested, half of the Chinamen . suc ceeded In escaping and getting into the country. . The report came to the Immigration bureau three years ago that great numbers of Chinamen' were, congre gating In" Jamaica for the purpose of getting into this country. An Inspector was sent .* down there, and .found that there\iwere practically .no '•: Chinamen in Jamaica except those who were legitimately . : at work there. Last year an; inspector made a similar trip of inspectlonand found no less than 5,000 unemployed Chinamen on the island, living in- camps' and 'boarding "houses, evidently "waiting.for an opportunity to come'tothe states. This condition in dicated "the smugglers regarded this as ,theTbest : point from which to gain (entrance. - Steps were, taken to block any "attempt, from this quarter. The Chinamen are still being; main tained .there and still waiting their chance. "; It i'is believed Nthat : the or ganization \that Ms In the wholesale smuggling' business ;is maintaining them, probably" supported, by: the con tributing tongs-. . In New^ York city's Chinatown 'there Is . a certain .' educated, Americanized Chinaman who poses as a' great 1 philan thropist, who -takes an acute \u25a0[ interest in t all/his countrymen- coming, into this country.' 'As : the' years pass he waxes hugely. : rich' "with • no .known .'business interests that /would ;occasion this. -The secret .< agents of r .the immigration bureau 1 have sufficient . evidence'against him to|; convince them, that he is the head and f ron t of ; th e • or ganized sxriu g gling^oftthe:nation."..-..'. They believe' that he r gets £a> piece; of jmoneyifor" prac tically '.every. Chinaman who Is /passed illegally "overithe; border, and; that he ; it/ is If always 4 knows ; the \u25a0 govern ment's 'most . vulnerable and rects* the big campaign. If a govern ment guard can ; be bought and 50 Chinamen- put across the line, ha knows it. He also knows just where to get the Chinamen and Just the American to aid in pulling oft the trick. Each cooly pays $600 to be brought n.He pays it out of his earniags after mving negotiated the trick and gone :o work. It. takes him but a year or :wo to do this, and then he is a free nan to pile up such amounts of money 1$ were never dreamed of in his native and. Soon he, is .rich and returns to 2hlna and is married, for no Chinaman will allow age: to come on without -earing: a family, for so would he miss ;hat worship that goes to the patriarch vho has many children. But when he eturns to the United States he does lot bring his wife with him, for no Chinaman wants his children . Amer canized. He , returns himself, and will aterjbring over his son for the, purpose >f making money, but never to rear a 'amily in the new land. While inAraer cahe^has learned much as to re-entry md the 'bringing in*; of his .sons, and :his he accomplishes without the" haz ird ; of running the .gauntlet of the jorder. . /The law allows the merchant class to enter, to bring their wives and sons. Chinamen born In this country are American citizens, and may return from China or introduce their sons, who are also American citizens under the law. Upon these provisions are based hun dreds of cases that are fought and won in open court each year. A merchant in any city in the United States may claim applicants as his sons. It is difficult to prove that they are not. This proof must be made in the courts, or the applicants must be admitted. The law of this country ad mits the sworn testimony of a China man the same as that of any other in dividual. Scores of Chinamen will be produced to swear to the genuineness of the alleged sons. The Chinaman is one of the most honest men in the world when It comes to business deal- Ing. But for 10,000 years he has been taught to avoid taxes, to deceive his government; to practice all manner of trickery in this connection. An unjust government has driven him to this, and he has come to consider it one of the greatest of virtues to got the better of the government. He brings this Idea to America, and swears untold l!es with out the slightest qualm. These lies are admitted as evidence, and upon them applicants are admitted. In a recent case in San Francisco there was not a material point in the evidence that was not contradicted by the evidence of some other witness. A young Chinese was applying for ad mission as the son of a merchant. So confused did the witnesses become that it was evident that they were mostly lying. Because of this it was decided that the youth should be deported. The inspector, however, hit upon a happy test. During the trial the alleged father and the applicant had not been brought together and had not seen each other. The inspector summoned the merchant to his office and while he was there the boy was incidentally ushered In. Th© two fell into each other's arms and the relationship was established as being evidently gen uine. Yet the habit of swearing falsely had come near causing a miscarriage of justice in a legitimate case. -There are great numbers of appli cants for admission who make the claim that they were born in America and are therefore American clttzens, although they have lived from child hood in China and speak no word of English. This claim is improbable, for there are so few Chinese who bring their wives to America that compara tively few children are born here. Yet they prove it by witnesses under oath and In the courts this proof must stand. The applicants are admitted. Other great numbers prove that though born in China their fathers were American born and that they are therefore American citizens. The oaths are likewise false in the great majority of cases, yet they are admis sible and govern in courts of law. One of the most repulsive phases of the Chinese questions is the Introduc tion of "white slaves" into this coun try through claims of relationship. The wife of a merchant of an American born Chinese or the daughter of one is entitled to admission. The claim may be false or the marriage may have taken place for no other purpose than the introduction of the woman inio this country. But as soon a.i admitted she has a value of $3,000. Many cases • are known where that price has been paid for Chinese women. There is hardly a man in the immi gration service who does not admit the faultiness of the present laws and the impossibility of enforcing them. Yet an administrative branch of the gov ernment can only enforce those laws that are on the statutes. There is no alternative. Every Chinese has a right under the law to appeal his case to the courts and the evidence of his fellows must be admitted. There is no action for perjury. The limit to the numbers that can be brought In is gauged only by the ability to find Chinese to father them. The American Chinese is shown to be a man of many children. His heart is 'big enough to father the whole empire, and why should he not do it if it is made sufficiently profitable to him? It is being made profitable and he is doing it.