National Geographic : 1955 Nov
enter the country. I took my stand, therefore, beside the senior surgeon, Dr. Henry M. Friedman, medical officer in charge of board ings. In nearly 50 years of service Dr. Fried man has inspected more than a million incom ing passengers and crew members (p. 716). Out on deck huddled masses of immi grants. Admitted by guards through a narrow door, they were first examined by one of Dr. Friedman's assistants. Then the newcomers walked about 40 feet toward the doctor. It was a tragic few yards for some, as Dr. Fried man's practiced eye caught a physical or men tal defect. "That badly crippled young man I just passed can hardly walk," Dr. Friedman said, "but he's a skilled watchmaker and will do all right. That old man over there whom I've set aside has a bad heart and has lost an eye and a leg. Still, if Immigration thinks his children will not let him become a public charge, he can come in." Dramas Have Happy Endings Inspection must be extraordinarily swift and yet as sure as skill and experience can make it. Any unnecessary delay in discharging pas sengers means a loss in time and money to both the steamship companies and the pas sengers. At first glance, the inspection of a lengthy ship's roster of passengers may seem a hope lessly confused and impossible undertaking. But the work gets done; each Immigration inspector may have up to 100 persons to ex amine, if the list is a large one. His job is first to determine nationality. For those not American citizens, their right to enter must be determined. Each inspector has before him several hun dred pages of regulations, and some 50 differ ent classifications of persons who can or can not enter. Each person must be checked also against a "lookout" list of applicants who need to be more closely questioned. I was delighted to see how many happy endings there were. Here was a father, some what feeble, but a clean-cut farmer type, with six fine-looking children, the oldest in his twenties. None spoke English. The mother, already a citizen, was living in California, and father and children were joining her. "I'll make you a bet," said the inspector as he passed them. "Within a few years that man will own an auto and also a farm!" I joined Edward Ferro, supervisory immi grant inspector and "commodore" of the in spection crew. A steward handed him a tele- gram. Three children had been admitted a few minutes earlier. Now came a wire from the uncle with whom they were to live, refus ing to accept them. The three children, frightened and unable to speak English, were brought back from the pier-a girl of 17 soon to become a mother, a strong-looking boy of 16, and a girl of 11.