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IMMIGRATION BUREAU

The IMMIGRATION BUREAU was established as part of Cleveland's Public Safety Dept. in Sept. 1913 to help and protect immigrants. It was transferred to the Dept. of Public Welfare in 1914, but by 1922 no longer existed. The municipal agency was established after an investigation by the Cleveland Immigration League demonstrated that immigrants arriving at Cleveland's train depots, especially young women, were "at the mercy of any who would misuse and misdirect them. . . ." The Immigration Bureau sent officers, identified by badges, to depots to ascertain that the people meeting the new arrivals were, indeed, friends and relatives. The immigration officers also helped with luggage and addresses, and "tagged and grouped" the immigrants according to destination, either escorting them or arranging passage. Officers registered the children, informing truant officers to ensure school attendance.

The bureau's small paid staff and volunteers worked with the State-City Free Labor Exchange to help immigrants find employment, assisted the Board of Education of CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS in planning and then promoting English-language and citizenship classes, and guided immigrants through naturalization. The bureau also published 9 foreign-language versions of the Immigrant's Guide to Cleveland, as well as the Citizenship Manual for Cleveland, with information about national, state, and local government. The bureau investigated immigrants' complaints, about wages and industrial accidents, for example, often mediating or resolving disputes. Services to Cleveland's foreign-born residents increased in 1915, as the pace of immigration slowed. By the 1920s, many private agencies, such as the YWCA's Intl. Institute (see INTERNATIONAL SERVICES CENTER) and the Americanization Committee of the MAYOR'S ADVISORY WAR COMMITTEE, served the city's immigrants, and the city apparently decided to disband the small Immigration Bureau.


City Immigration Bureau of Cleveland. Citizenship Manual for Cleveland (1916), WRHS.

The Immigrant Guide to Cleveland, Ohio, WRHS.

Annual Reports of the Department of Government of the City of Cleveland, 1913, 1914, 1915.