Today in Labor History
The United States Civil Service Commission is established as the Pendleton Act went into effect. The Pendleton law required certain applicants to take the civil service exam in order to be given certain jobs; it also prevented elected officials and political appointees from firing civil servants, removing civil servants from the influences of political patronage and partisan behavior. - 1883
In 1920, thousands of Palmer Raids detainees won the right to have legal representation at deportation hearings. During a typical deportation hearing at this time, the immigration inspector acted as arresting officer, prosecutor, judge, jury, and recording clerk. A defense lawyer was not permitted to attend while the immigration inspector questioned the "alien" (the term used at the time) detainees, who were non-US citizens, many of whom understood little English. The interrogation focused not only on what the detainees had done and said, but also on their beliefs and thoughts. In one well-documented case, Gaspare Cannone was arrested without charge or warrant by Department of Justice agents in New York City. Cannone, who spoke limited English, was beaten and kicked when he refused to give evidence against other people. After being held in secret for 72 hours, agents took him to Ellis Island and turned him over to Bureau of Immigration officials. Following questioning by an immigration inspector, Cannone refused to sign a statement admitting he was an anarchist, but someone forged his signature to the statement anyway. - 1920
Compiled/edited by Union Communication Services
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