Scum From the Melting-Pot

San Francisco


Out of more than a decade's use of California as a sociological laboratory, experimenting with the possibilities of an act padlocking brothels as the best means of eliminating them, has come the profound conviction that Continental standards regarding womankind generally differ considerably from those America has inherited from Britain. Violators of such laws are largely Mediterraneans. A strengthening of deportation laws regarding white slavery, narcotics, and alcoholics is not open to the same objection as suspending the sentence of the hobo and passing him on to the next community. A systematic deportation not only eugenically cleanses America of a vicious element but the moral effect upon their native countries makes deportation of offenders, in an international sense, doubly worth while. A new system in handling the immigration problem is recommended, that is, a rigid test in American standards by a United States Commission before the prospective immigrant leaves his native land.

An American girl once wrote a letter to Alex Skopolitis, a Greek. The writer of this article, on one of his investigation trips in the Sacramento Valley, came upon this letter. As a result, Skopolitis was deported. In this letter, the American girl was imploring Skopolitis not to desert her for a new girl he was breaking in. She recounted in the letter what she had sacrificed for him, gently reminding him that she had it within her power to put him behind

( 642) prison bars. The letter contained two trunk checks for baggage from Reno, Nevada, to Oroville, California. Skopolitis' alien registration card was also inclosed.


Armed with this evidence—for the letter with its inclosures made a complete case—we secured a telegraphic warrant from the Immigration Office in Washington, ordering the summary deportation of Skopolitis. After serving a prison term for his crimes, Skopolitis was given a return trip to Greece at the expense of the United States government.

Now, the remarkable part of this hideous story is, not that Skopolitis was deported, but that he was ever permitted to land on American soil. The trail of sorrow, disease, and death that he left behind would not have been, had Skopolitis been compelled, before leaving his native land, to explain his idea of the moral code before a United States Immigration Commission sitting in Greece. The trail of broken American homes and blind and deformed babes in foundlings' asylums that necessarily followed in the wake of his traffic in American girls could easily have been avoided, had Skopolitis been compelled to pass an examination in American standards of citizenship before setting sail from Greece.

But for years countless thousands of Skopolitises have been pouring onto American soil. Held down by generations of oppression, they have looked forward for years to the time when they might come to the Land of Freedom. But no sooner do they sail past the Statue of Liberty than they mistake liberty for license—and embark on their lives of crime.

True, we have Congress to thank for the new immigration law. This law limits radically the pro rata of immigrants from the various countries. The percentage rates for different nationalities are splendid, indeed.

But the law does not go far enough. The writer, about a year ago, told the Sacramento Church Federation that this immigration problem never will be solved until it is handled at the source. Anything short of that will permit the entry of more Skopolitises. Not

( 643) in as great numbers, perhaps, but one such trafficker can leave a trail of crime from which a generation will not recover.


America has long been known as the "melting-pot." In fact, America's greatness came from the mixture of the best European blood. The immigrants of that day came expecting hardships that built up mind and body, and with it—liberty. Since that day, the prosperity made possible by our forefathers has lured the parasites of Europe—the scum that could so well have been eliminated from the melting-pot. When the pot begins to boil, it does not take the scum long to rise to the surface. The more unassimilable the elements, the greater the amount of scum. Much of it can be skimmed off, but only after it has tainted the entire mixture. It is the scum from the melting-pot which we should eliminate at all costs.


Of course, it is needless to point out that these statements are in no sense an indictment of all foreigners, or of all the nationals of any particular country. Some nations maintain a very high percentage in emigrants they send. There is scarcely a country which, by a selective system, cannot contribute something of value to our national life. Without such additions in pioneer days the greatness of America would never have been attained.

The immigrants today who honestly take on American standards should be received with open arms. But it is the law-breaking foreigners whom we are talking about now. Schooled in low standards of morality, they seek to impose their European customs upon their new-found Land of Liberty. Yet an American would not last twenty-four hours in most of these countries should he violate their laws and customs.

If ever another civil war should occur in this country, foreigners would no doubt form the backbone of the forces seeking to overthrow the government. Foreigners are predominant in all the big movements of lawlessness—and these movements aim at anarchy. Deportation, and selection of immigrants at the source, will make such a catastrophe impossible.

( 644)


Joe Fuski, before he set sail on his return trip to Italy, was "King of the Sacramento Tenderloin." Though he could neither read nor write, he controlled the important bloc of tenderloin votes. Ambitious officials, with eyes more on the next election than on the next generation, were compelled to bow the knee before this foreign king. But Fuski became engulfed in the maelstrom we caused by investigation of the Sacramento underworld, and was sentenced to San Quentin prison on a white-slave charge. Prior to this—his first vision of justice—he had become so arrogant that he trailed the writer around with his automobile for days. Even the trial did not worry Fuski much, until his plot to bribe the jury was exposed. It seems that the city dog-catcher, one of Fuski's most trusted lieutenants, took a grateful interest in the trial. A bold scheme to bribe the jury was uncovered and this dog-catcher was jailed for his part in the plot.

Fuski was finally landed in the penitentiary. We then obtained a government order for his deportation. This was accomplished, however, only after considerable difficulty over a cleverly devised birth certificate which Fuski had camouflaged in New York to cover up the fact of his birthplace in Italy. So when he walked out of the prison gates at the expiration of his sentence, he fell into the arms of the United States immigration authorities. He again sailed past the Statue of Liberty—this time toward his native land.

Yet, the entire political history of the capital city of California would have been changed had the coming of Joe Fuski to this country been controlled by a United States Immigration Commission sitting in Italy. Fuski had a whole string of white-slave dens in Sacramento which we padlocked under the Redlight Abatement Law.

Young girls have told the writer they started on their lives of shame in Joe Fuski's houses. Yet years of degradation and crime, decades of heart thrusts at the life of the nation, had to roll by before Fuski's business was broken up, and Fuski himself sent out of the country.


One of the toughest characters we have had to deal with was Mary Selowski, of Napa, an immigrant from Russia. Mary Selow-

( 645) -ski ran the Stone Bridge house near St. Helena. Scores of girls went down to their doom in the house kept by this foreign woman. So contemptuous of the law was she that we had to lock her up several times for violating the redlight injunction against her house—a comparatively rare procedure in actual abatement practice. But we were unable to deport Mary Selowski. By a strange freak in the law she was able to acquire citizenship through marriage. Once having gained citizenship by marrying a United States citizen, she was beyond the law of deportation. She evidently knew it and speeded up her traffic in crime accordingly.

Fraudulent marriages were often resorted to in the days of the segregated district to defeat the immigration authorities. In the old "Barbary Coast" district in San Francisco, hundreds of women were harbored who could not speak a word of English. These were principally women imported from France.

After the closing of the segregated district in San Francisco in 1917, one of these French women who had fled to the open redlight district at Reno, Nevada, told the writer in her new crib in Reno, how she had put over such a fraudulent marriage. She said that soon after she had arrived in San Francisco she learned that the immigration authorities were on her trail. Accordingly, she got hold of a hobo, paid him fifty dollars to marry her, and had never seen him again since that day. Thus, this French prostitute, by the simple device of marrying an American hobo, was able to thwart the entire United States government. Could a situation be more ridiculous?


A wealthy jeweler with a foreign name recently accosted the writer on the streets of San Francisco. He was bewailing the closing of the redlight district. "It is a shame," he said. "I wish the district would open again. I have never made the money since the district was closed that I made when it was open." He advocated a system for placing in redlight houses every girl who might qualify according to a physical test he suggested. His own son, being of age and American born, but too young in the generation of that family to discard this European custom, stood by and agreed with his father. The writer later learned that this jeweler had lost some-

( 646) -thing like $200,000 by the closing of the segregated district. He had been selling jewelry to the inmates of these cribs on instalments of so much a week. When the business suddenly broke up, his customers left, taking his gold and jewels with them.

Thus the blood money obtained through the aid of a seared conscience is ever present to block the efforts of those who would safeguard American homes.


Clara Narins is a Russian girl from Odessa. Today, under another name, she occupies a crib in a vice den in Nevada.

Nevada is now the only state in the Union that tolerates redlight districts without even a semblance of repression. Practically every place in Nevada, large enough to be called a town, supports a segregated district. Chinese are even now financially interested in several of these cribhouses.

But back to the case of Clara Narins. She was trapped into white slavery by another foreigner through a marriage ruse. She was trained into the life and put to work in a redlight house. She once turned over to the writer express money-order receipts representing hundreds of dollars of her pitiful earnings paid to this white slaver. He was indicted on a federal white-slave charge but could not be deported because he had taken out citizenship papers.

Emil Baggi once conducted a redlight house in Richmond, California, where he harbored American girls. We secured iron-clad evidence against Baggi, and he, seeking the lines of least resistance, pleaded guilty and sought to expiate his crimes with a fine. But Baggi's clever move was his downfall. With the court records showing a conviction of a crime involving vice, we had no trouble in having Baggi returned to Italy whence he came.

The stories could go on indefinitely telling how the government has returned to their native land these undesirable aliens. An even more aggressive policy would deport them by the shiploads.


And yet with the relief thus obtained, the fact remains that the damage to this generation has been done at the source. Countless

( 647) thousands of these criminal aliens have made haste to gain citizenship, either through marriage—fraudulent or legitimate—or through our loose naturalization laws. With citizenship thus acquired, the government is helpless in acting against these criminals from a deportation standpoint.

Of course, if a fraud in securing citizenship could be shown, citizenship could be revoked. But such cases would be rare, except when the government awakes to the opportunity a naturalized bootlegger would offer. When a bootlegger slips by our loosely guarded naturalization system, and swears allegiance to the Eighteenth Amendment and the rest of the United States Constitution —while his hands are dripping with illicit booze—and then goes from the courtroom to his still to manufacture and sell the poison that degenerates the American race—there is a clear case of fraudulent naturalization.

But the good effects of such a move cannot be had until Congress clearly includes bootlegging as one of the grounds of deportation. Of course this will come, but only after the foreigners have played football with our American laws a while longer.


Alexander Psyhoyios is another criminal alien with an unpronounceable name. He is known in the San Francisco underworld as "The Shiek." A year or so ago we caught him in San Francisco breaking in a young girl for the purpose of paying tribute money to him at the coming state fair at Sacramento. The State Law Enforcement League rescued this girl from the place where Alexander Psyhoyios had her, secured an affidavit from her detailing the story, and then presented her with her evidence before the United States immigration authorities at San Francisco.

Incidentally, Psyhoyios, seeking to establish his criminality more firmly on American soil, found himself afoul of the United States naturalization laws through fraudulent attempt to gain United States citizenship. For this crime he is now serving a sentence in the Federal Penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth. Under date of September 12, 1924, the United States Immigration Department at

( 648) San Francisco wrote the State Law Enforcement League in part as follows:

When you first brought this case to my attention on April 5, 1923, you forwarded therewith affidavit executed by one   ———, to the effect that she had been exploited by the said ALEXANDER PSYHOYIOS. A statement was thereafter taken from this woman at this office with regard to the matter.

In connection with deportation proceedings which our Kansas City Office now desires to institute against this man, it is most essential that testify further in the matter.

The additional evidence as requested has been submitted, and when Alexander Psyhoyios serves out his penitentiary sentence he will very likely find awaiting him a return ticket to Greece. But think of the sorrow that could have been spared had Psyhoyios been prevented in the first instance from setting foot on American soil! He must now be housed and fed for a period of years, then transported to his native land, all at the expense of the government.


An explanation of foreign opposition to our laws is often shown when an initiative or referendum petition is filed with a county clerk or secretary of state affecting laws to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment. Such a petition was recently filed in San Benito County, California, being a referendum petition designed to repeal a Prohibition Enforcement Ordinance. This petition abounded in foreign names.[2] Of course, all of these foreign names were presumably those of citizens, either by naturalization or perhaps by birth in a foreign family. And their signing this petition was perfectly regular and legal. But it does show the foreign sentiment that has made difficult the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.


We hear a great deal of the smuggling in of aliens over the Canadian and Mexican borders. The great volume of traffic to vice centers across the Mexican border invites illegal entries in great

( 649) numbers. But serious as this may be, it is purely an administrative problem that can be handled. Nor does difficulty in enforcing that law raise a valid argument for the repeal of the immigration laws any more than does difficulty in enforcing the Volstead Act give any just reason for repeal of the dry laws. Nor would modification of the immigration law lessen any the immigration problem.

But there is one place where the bars are down in the immigration law, and therein is a grave danger. Aliens desiring to evade the United States law can ship as sailors from foreign ports. On arriving in an American harbor they may go ashore without restriction. Once ashore, all they have to do is to forget to return to the ship and they are safely in America.

A bonding plan for shipping firms would help stop this leak. A registration for all aliens, providing a registration-card system, would simplify the apprehension of aliens who smuggle themselves into America.


In California we have two effective weapons in our warfare against vice: (I) abatement of property, through the Redlight Abatement Act, and (2) deportation.

Now, as a weapon for liquor-law enforcement we have, through the Volstead Act, abatement of property, by means of which a bootlegging establishment may be padlocked for one year, as is done in the case of vice resorts. And what we need is the other weapon—deportation of alien bootleggers.

The only reason why abatement under the Volstead Act has not made further progress is because it is used too sparingly. But it will be used, and in wholesale fashion. And when it is, and when we get a law providing for deportation of alien bootleggers, and begin to enforce that law in an aggressive way, our bootlegging problems will be well on the way to solution. Such is the case now in the commercialized vice problem, wherever these two weapons are aggressively used.

When Congress gets ready to pass a law providing for the handling of this immigration problem at the source—that is, providing a rigid test in American standards in the foreign country whence the immigrant would come—then the immigration problem will

( 650) cease to be a problem, and America will get the benefit of the best brawn and brain for which the melting-pot was first intended.

Following is the list of names signed to a referendum petition to repeal a Prohibition Enforcement Ordinance and now on file in the office of the county clerk of San Benito County, California:

John Calleri
Mrs. Henrietta J. Eviglia
Frank Eviglia
John Eviglia
Tony Garcia
A. J. Shaw
A. B. Shaw
John Corotto
J. B. Corotto
Jos. A. Corotto
Tony Corotto
Fulton Picetti
Emil Corotto
Mrs. Mary Picetti
Mrs. Rose Angoustures
Anna Angoustures
Clara Angoustures
Joe Angoustures
Antone Angoustures
M. B. Miller
Francois Angoustures
Theresa Angoustures
R. P. Stephenson
Natal Vanetti
Mrs. Natal Vanetti
Benj. F. Maggini
H. C. Smith
J. P. Mehlwood
F. J. Smith
Chas. N. Beressini
Steve Kaelin
W. A. Spencer
R. Vosti
James McNamara
W. J. Sanford
L. W. Garrettã
  Mrs. Lillian Goff
E. E. Goff
Ori Silacci
Reni Silacci
Giovanni Pellerino
J. H. Dooling
R. I. Marcus
Grover C. Marcus
D. Marcus
P. Nielsen
Wm. McGill
Walter E. McDonald
Mrs. J. F. Sousa
Henry J. Zanoni
R. Zanoni
Robert Zanoni
Rube Lopez
Jennie A. Lopez
Miss Marie D. Lopez
J. F. Sousa
B. Aquistapace
Eugene Martin
Mike Parra
Jas. P. McCloskey
Thos. J. Wright
Augusto Pivetti
Orwen Gomes
Chas. B. Berri
Rose Berri
Edward P. Grant
C. Franchini
Carlo Beressini
Mrs. Mary Martin
Gilbert Besimo
Alessio Vosti
Teresa Besimo
Peter Hosang
  Lucy Hosang
George Loer
Jno. J. Hogan
W. M. Daly
P. E. Daly
Katheryn Daly
Chester Franchini
Laurence Ottoboni
Margaret Ottoboni
Herman Baccala
Angostina Baccala
Antone Figoni
Mary Figoni
Louis Barbee
Francois Barbee
Madeline Sutton
Floyd Sutton
Archie Walker
Louis Barbee Jr.
Mrs. L. Barbee
Frank Echeverria
Antone Manitto
Jennie Manitto
Elena Pivetti
R. B. Gansberger
F. Winter
Angelo Benassi
Mary E. Benassi
Albert E. Contival
F. G. Peterson
Marie Contival
Chas. McCune
Alice McCune
Henrietta F. Chrwall
Walter E. Dewers
Alfred A. Alexander
John Guilhamet


Pierre Guilhamet
William Vesely
Nell Vesely
W. L. Cottmire
H. K. Cottmire
Frank E. Lewis
Hazel Triplett
A. E. Boyd
Ada I. Boyd
H. L. Gillespie
Hazel Gillespie
W. H. Lewis Jr.
J. M. Thorp
Mat L. Vargas
Howard Hardwick
A. D. Shaw
R. Perkins
Martha Corotto
Lucy Silacci
Emma Buher
F. Buher
John Muller
  Mrs. Mary Muller
R. T. Reinosa
Frank Amsler
Geo. Hall Jr.
Martin Messer
Anna Messer
N. S. Messer
Albert P. Sullivan
Sarah C. Matthews
Geo. Kehl
Ed. Waldemar
Henry Waldemar
Roy Miller
Archie B. Sharpe
Joseph Perry
Annie Sharpe
Mrs. Mary Perry
Joaquin Pereira
A. J. Ramsey
Joseph Dutra Andrade
Miss Mary A. Andrade
Joseph E. Guilhamet
  A. J. Guilhamet
M. Bundeson
Martin Johnson
Maria C. Rezendes
J. C. Rezendes
K. P. Ware
H. J. Byles
Ynez Gutierrez
Tom Moreno
George Cagney
M. P. Kelly
Joseph F. Lompa
John Lange
Joe Massera
John C. Miranda
Nick Miranda
Chris Sanchez
Chas. Corotto
Mrs. Katie Corotto
Clemente Calleri
Mrs. Mary R. Boyd
Joseph William Gomes


  1. The writer is a former state senator, president of the California State Law Enforcement League, author of the Grant Redlight Abatement Act of California, under which were classed Sacramento dance halls existing since pioneer days, also some two hundred brothels constituting the notorious Barbary Coast of San Francisco, also segregated districts in many other California cities.
  2. The list contains 17б names, of which 102 evidently belong to persons of Eastern European birth or lineage, and half the remainder have names that indicate Northern European origin.

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