Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Congressman LaGuardia: Who is paying Grand Duke Boris' bills?

January 14, 1925

Representative Fiorello LaGuardia of New York wants to know, "if anyone is paying the steamship fare" of Grand Duke Boris of Russia, who is now en route to the United States, reports the New York Times.

The New York Congressman has written to the Secretary of Labor Davis asking "for an investigation to determine" whether the Grand Duke was an 'assisted alien' and liable to become a "public charge."

Here is the text of the Congressman's letter to Secretary Davis.

"According to news items in the daily papers, one Grand Duke Boris embarked on the Olympic on Jan. 10, 1925 and is due to arrive at the Port of New York in a few days.  I respectfully request that this person be carefully inspected upon his arrival to ascertain whether or not he is coming her in violation of our immigration laws.

"But a few weeks ago members of the same family came to this country have since left. Subsequent to their leaving, it was learned that they were assisted aliens within the meaning of the law, that their passage was paid by others and that had they remained here the would have been likely to become public charges.

"In the case of the Grand Duke Boris it occurred to me that an investigation should be made whether he too is an assisted alien, and what assurance the Government will have  he will not become a public charge.

"Moreover, judging from the actions of his relatives who were here recently and the conduct on the part of many impressionistic and plastic-minded citizens, I believe the department would be justified in ascertaining  whether these repudiated, unemployed  and shiftless dukes and archdukes are not coming here with the intention of overthrowing our republican form of government I the hope of establishing a monarchy. According to newspaper reports, people clamored and paid admission for the purpose of curtseying and kissing the hands of these pretenders in a manner so un-American that it would have been shocking were it not so ridiculously stupid.

"According the press reports, one of these jobless archdukes has even a 'military representative' in New York, one Captain Galokhvastof, while the Russian royalists are reported to have headquarters at the 'Republican National Society,' 5 Columbus Circle , New York City.

"I do believe that the same rigid application of the immigration law that is generally applied to arriving aliens should also be applied to these roaming royalists who come here to collect funds to destroy organized governments and prey upon the credulity of social climbing dupes."

[Fiorello H. LaGuardia (1882-1947) served in the House of Representatives from 1917- 1919, and again from 1923-1933).  He was the 99th Mayor of New York (1934-1945.)    His father was an Italian, a lapsed Catholic, and his mother, an Italian Jew.  Fiorello was raised an Episcopalian.  A progressive Republican (for that time), he was a supported of Franklin D Roosevelt's New Deal.]

LaGuardia certainly did not know the difference between archdukes and grand dukes.  Wonder what he would have thought about Downton Abbey?

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