“Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses….”
Between 1892 and 1954, more than 12 million people immigrated to the United States through the portal of Ellis Island. It had in 1890 been designated by President Benjamin Harrison as the first federal immigration station. When it opened on Jan 1, 1992, Annie Moore, an Irish teenager travelling with her two brothers, became the first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island.
Arrivals at Ellis Island could expect to spend three to five hours there during the inspection process. Only about two percent of the people who arrived were turned away. Those that were turned back were believed to have an infectious disease, were judged likely to become a public charge, or had been engaged as an illegal contract laborer.
The first stop for immigrants arriving at Ellis Island was the Registry Room. It has been restored to the way that it appeared in 1918.
Part of the inspection that immigrants were given at Ellis Island was a mental acuity test like the one above. Here they were asked to identify the identical images.
Dormitory room for immigrants held at Ellis Island
Immigrants who were being held for a legal hearing were sent here.
The next stop for most was the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Jersey City. More than 10 million immigrants entered the country through here.
The American Immigrant Wall of Honor currently lists the names of more than 700,000 perople who immigranted to the U.S.