In 1905, construction 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 1910. It was designed to process Chinese immigrants whose entry was restricted by the Chinese Exclusion Law of 1882. A rush of immigrants from Europe were expected with the opening of the Panama Canal, but international events after 1914, including the outbreak of World War I, cancelled the expected rush, but Asians continued to arrive on the West Coast and to go through immigration procedures. Though most immigrants processed through the Immigration Station on Angel Island were Chinese, over 80 countries were represented by the influx of immigrants.
The influx of Asians into the United States, dating from the California Gold Rush, created tension between many immigrant groups. During the 1870s, an economic downturn resulted in serious unemployment problems, and led to outcries against Asian immigrants who would work for low wages, this along with the resentment towards Chinese who were finding themselves successful in the laundry, hotel and fishing industries led to very restrictive immigration laws. These laws allowed entry only to those that had been born in the U.S. or had husbands or fathers who were citizens. Enforcement of those laws was assigned to the Bureau of Immigration.
When it opened 1910, the new detention facility on Angel Island was considered ideal because of its isolation. Access to and from the Island was very important to control and enforce the relatively new immigration laws and deal with the threat of disease from the many new people arriving daily to America. There were buildings to house and care for detainees, a pier, hospital, and regular boat service to the mainland. During the next 30 years, this was the point of entry for most of the approximately 175,000 Chinese immigrants who came to the United States. Most of them were detained on Angel Island for as little as two weeks or as much as six months. A few however, were forced to remain on the island for as much as two years.
For more: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1309
Angel Island State Park website: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=468
Donate to Angel Island Association: http://angelisland.org/donate/
Links to Immigration Resources
For a General Overview and More Information, see:
- Immigration Records (Ship Passenger Arrival Records)
- Chinese Immigration and Chinese in the United States: Records in NARA’s Regional Archives
- Documenting Immigrants: An Examination of Immigration and Naturalization Service Case Files by Paul Wormser. Paper for CIDS Program, 1995.
- Case Files for Early Immigrants to San Francisco and Hawaii, Early Arrivals Records Search (EARS), a collaboration between U.C. Berkeley and the National Archive
- View Selected Chinese Immigration Records Online
- The Red Star Line: Changing America’s Face and Place in the World
- Genealogical CD-ROMS on Immigration in the Archives Library Information Center, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
- Naturalization Records
- Alien Records
President Obama’s Immigration Timeline:
- 4/7/15 U.S. appeals court rejects challenge to 2012 Obama deportation relief
- 2/24/15 DHS Extends Eligibility for Employment Authorization to Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses of H-1B Nonimmigrants Seeking Employment-Based Lawful Permanent Residence
- 2/23/15 U.S. Justice Department asks for stay to allow immigration action
- 2/5/15 Pres Obama hosts DREAMers from around the nation who qualified for his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program
- 2/2/15 Pres Obama recognizes and reaffirms true government-to-government relations and in honoring the trust responsibility to American Indian tribes pursuant to treaties and the U.S. Constitution
- 1/15/15 Mexican government began issuing birth certificates to its citizens at its consulates in the US
- 1/5/15 Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson’s revised guidance on Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants
- 11/21/14 FACT SHEET: The Economic Benefits of Fixing Our Broken Immigration System
- 11/21/14 Presidential Memorandum — Creating Welcoming Communities and Fully Integrating Immigrants and Refugees
- 11/21/14 Presidential Memorandum — Modernizing and Streamlining the U.S. Immigrant Visa System for the 21st Century
- 11/21/14 Department of Homeland Security Fixing Our Broken Immigration System Through Executive Action – Key Facts
- 11/21/14 President Obama delivered remarks and signs the Executive Orders on Immigration Reform
- 11/20/14 President Obama addressed the Nation on his Immigration Reform Presidente Obama Se Dirige a la Nación (Subtitulado al Español)
“We didn’t raise the Statue of Liberty with her back to the world, we did it with her light shining as a beacon to the world. And whether we were Irish or Italians or Germans crossing the Atlantic, or Japanese or Chinese crossing the Pacific; whether we crossed the Rio Grande or flew here from all over the world — generations of immigrants have made this country into what it is. It’s what makes us special.”