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July 16, 2006

Those fighting immigration should visit Ellis Island

July 15, 2006

There is an article by Tom Ehrich in the indystar detailing a trip to New York;

"A trip to Ellis Island requires long lines and long waits.

But it's nothing like the anxious hours, sometimes days, of scrutiny once imposed on poorer immigrants seeking entry into the United States after two weeks in steerage on an ocean liner.
Our wait was more like the processing time for immigrants who could afford first- or second-class tickets; after brief inspection onboard ship, they were allowed straight into America. The theory was that anyone who could afford a decent berth wouldn't become a burden on American society.

Others, however, needed to prove their viability as citizens by passing through a gantlet that rose higher and higher during the 1892-1924 peak immigration period, when up to 5,000 immigrants passed through Ellis Island each day.

On this side of the pier, nativists demanded that the border be closed to those who would change the ethnic balance of America. They believed the 8 million early immigrants from Northern and Western Europe were the most desirable and that later waves from Southern and Eastern Europe -- eventually totaling 12 million at Ellis Island alone -- were inferior human beings, as were immigrants from Asia and Africa.

Anti-immigration rhetoric, ironically, has been a constant in a nation built by immigrants. Each generation of arrivals has tried to justify exclusion of the next".


Posted by VisaLawyer at July 16, 2006 06:45 AM


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