Mon. March 4: Angel Island

Immigration News

Virtual March Will Push for Immigration Changes, New York Times, Feb. 25, 2013
Mass Release of Immigrants Is Tied to Impending Cuts, New York Times, Feb. 25, 2013

Angel Island helps us answer an essential and timely question:

-Is the U.S. a "nation of immigrants" that welcomes newcomers and helps them to achieve their dreams?
-Or is it a "gatekeeping nation" that builds fences and detention centers to keep out aliens it identifies as undesirable and dangerous (and unfit to become an American)?
-The history of immigration through Angel Island tells us that the United States is both.

-Mainly a processing center for European immigrants, Ellis Island enforced American immigration laws that restricted, but did not exclude, European immigrants.
-In fact, one of the goals of Ellis Island was to begin the process of turning European immigrants into naturalized Americans.
o Only 20% of immigrants applying for admission through NY were detained on EI
o 98% were admitted
o Most spent only a few hours or at most a few days there

-Angel Island, on the other hand, was the main port of entry for Asian immigrants and was characterized by American immigration policies that excluded Asians and barred them from becoming naturalized citizens.
o 60% of immigrants entering through San Francisco went to Angel Island;
o 76% of all Chinese applicants went to Angel Island; 38% non-Asians
o Detention time, especially for the Chinese, was measured in weeks and months
o After long legal battles and long detentions, 93% of Chinese were admitted

One million people processed through San Francisco (1/2 million entered and 1/2 million departed).
-They came from eighty countries around the world.
-Non-Asians made up 1/3 of immigrants between 1915 and 1920; 15% after 1924.
-300,000 detained at Angel Island.
- 100, 000 Chinese
- 85,000 Japanese
- 8,000 South Asians
- 8,000 Russians and Jews (500 refugees in 1939-40)
- 1,000 Koreans
- 1,000 Filipinos
- 400 Mexicans
Their diversity meant different immigrant experiences on Angel Island, because up until 1965, U.S. immigration policies treated individuals differently according to their race, class, gender, and nationality.

-Men and women were treated differently, as were people of different classes, but race was the most important factor shaping different immigration laws and immigrant experiences on the island

Angel Island is a window into the American past and sheds new light on America's conflicted relationship with immigration, a story that continues today.
- It is the story of men, women, and children who crossed the Pacific Ocean and traveled north from South America to establish new lives in the United States.
- It is also the story of harsh and discriminatory immigration laws and of immigrant perseverance.
- And it is a story of a place that became a gateway to America, forever changing the lives of immigrants and America itself.


-Immigrants also reacted to their detentions on Angel Island in different ways

"Immigrant Voices," Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

"Discovering Angel Island: The Story Behind the Poems"

"US History Preserved on Angel Island"

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by erikalee published on March 2, 2013 11:35 AM.

Revised Schedule and Paper #1 Handouts was the previous entry in this blog.

March 6: Mexican Immigration is the next entry in this blog.

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