With the outbreak of war in Europe in Augustimmigration across the Atlantic through Ellis Island and other entry points on the East Coast plummeted. Angel Island, however, saw an increase in the numbers of arriving alien travelers and immigrants, especially non—Asians, and many were detained for long periods or barred all together. Ships from Mexico brought "people of every nationality who [were] fleeing from the terrors of the civil war raging in that country," the San Francisco Commissioner of Immigration reported in —
Inconstruction of an Immigration Station began in the area known as China Cove. The facility, primarily a detention center, was designed to control the flow of Chinese into the country, since they were officially not welcomed with the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of Soon, discriminatory legislation forced them out of the gold fields and into low-paying, menial jobs.
Ellis Island was built in to welcome European immigrants and to enforce immigration laws that restricted but did not exclude European immigrants. In contrast, as the primary gateway for Chinese and other Asian immigrants, the Angel Island station was built in to better enforce discriminatory immigration policies that targeted Asians for exclusion. Chinese immigrants, in particular, were subjected to longer physical exams, interrogations, and detentions than any other immigrant group.
Thank you for joining us at the Festival! Sign up for our monthly newsletter for future events and updates. These lines are from just one of the hundreds of poems carved on the barrack walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station in the early twentieth century by Chinese detainees awaiting decisions on their entry status. I can only imagine the hardships they endured on the isolated island upon arriving at this promising land of which they had long dreamed.
Angel Island Immigration Station was an immigration station located in San Francisco Bay which operated from January 21, to November 5, where immigrants entering the United States were detained and interrogated. Angel Island is an island in San Francisco Bay. The island was originally a fishing and hunting site for Coastal Miwok Indians, then it was a haven for Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala.
Because the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited Chinese laborers from immigrating to the United States unless family members were already established here, thousands tried to slip in by pretending to be related to friends or even strangers who had preceded them through the Pacific gateway. As the young men crossed the ocean, they read prepackaged family histories of the relatives they would claim, memorizing details that might help them answer tricky questions from immigration officials. How many windows does your house in China have?
The U. While the island is the home of acres of pristine parkland, including beautiful beaches, picnic areas and hiking trails, it is most famous for its rich history. Inthe War Department transferred 20 acres of land on the island to the Department of Commerce and Labor for the establishment of an immigrant station.
Inconstruction of the Immigration Station began in the area then known as North Garrison. Surrounded by public controversy from its inception, the station was finally put into partial operation in It was designed to process Chinese immigrants whose entry was restricted by the Chinese Exclusion Law of Though most immigrants processed through the Immigration Station on Angel Island were Chinese, over 80 countries were represented by the influx of immigrants.
Like people of other ethnicities, the Chinese immigrated to the United States for better lives. Beforetheir work included farming, mining and building railroads. Men sent money home to their families in China.
Once you see the open net, why throw yourself in? It is only because of empty pockets I can do nothing else. To most first-time visitors, the cove is another picturesque spot from which to picnic and watch tankers and yachts sail by. But to those whose relatives passed through the old immigration barracks on the north slope of the cove, the small, drafty, wooden building--bare and sparse--represents the "Ellis Island of the West.