On this day, June 8, 1896, President Grover Cleveland asks leaders of federal departments to investigate how many “aliens,” or foreign nationals, are currently employed in the federal government, specifically directing his request to the secretaries of state, treasury, war, navy, interior and agriculture, the postmaster general and the attorney general.
Cleveland was in his second term and his party was largely anti-immigrant. In many cases, immigrants were blamed for increases in crime and for driving down wages. Immigrants, especially those from Europe, were also suspected of importing the “alien” theories that were taking shape in their home countries, such as socialism, anarchism and communism, and of fomenting political unrest.
President Grover Cleveland was the head of the Democratic Party.