1920 April 15

Congressman Calls for Impeachment of Secretary of Labor for Not Deportating Radicals


Louis F. Post, Assistant Secretary of Labor and as a result Commissioner of Immigration in President Woodrow Wilson’s administration, was one of the few government officials to oppose the anti-radical, anti-labor hysteria of the WWI years and the later Red Scare. In April 1920, for example, he reviewed 1,600 deportation cases and dismissed 71 percent of them. He also ruled that aliens were entitled to deportation hearings, which had not been the policy of the Bureau of Immigration until he arrived. On this day, U.S. Rep. Homer Hock of Kansas called for his impeachment because Post opposed the mass deportation of suspected radicals during the 1919–1920 “Red Scare” (see the infamous Palmer Raids on November 7, 1919, and January 2, 1920).

Little has been written about Louis F. Post, but he stands as perhaps the one and only civil liberties heroes in the Wilson administration.

Read Post’s own account: Louis F. Post, The Deportations Delirium of Nineteen-Twenty: A Personal Narrative of an Historic Official Experience (1923); in paperback (2003)

Read the 1920 ACLU pamphlet “Seeing Red” on the post-WW I hysteria: http://www.marxists.org/history/usa/groups/aclu/1920/0800-nelles-civilliberty.pdf

Read: Paul L. Murphy, World War I and the Origins of Civil Liberties in the United States (1979)

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