Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 208
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 208
 
of making it clear to them that they do not better themselves and make us to be worse off by staying there, whereas their going farther would benefit both. But I repeat that that lever must be applied over there, to move this load. Once they are here, we might have a land and labor bureau that would take in the whole country, and serve as a great directory and distributing agency, instead of leaving it to private initiative to take up the crowds,—something much more comprehensive than anything now existing. There would still be a surplus; but at least it would be less by so many as we sent away. And in the nature of things the congestion would be lessened as more went out. Immigrants go where they have friends, and if those friends lived in Michigan we should not be troubled with them long in New York. If the immigration came all from one country, we should, because of that, have no problem at all, or not much of one at all events, except perhaps in the Jews, who have lived in Ghettos since time out of mind. The others would speedily be found making only a way station of New York. It is the constant kaleidoscopic change I spoke of that brings us hordes every few years who have to breaks entirely new ground. It seems to have been always so. Forty years after the settlement of Manhattan Island, says Theodore Roosevelt in his

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