Sunday, November 12, 2017

Anniversary of Ellis Island's Closing


Ellis Island holds an iconic status in the history of immigrants and immigration in the United States.  Andrew Glass on Politico reminds us that, on this day (November 12) in 1954, the federal government shut down the Ellis Island immigrant reception station in New York Harbor.

From 1892 to 1924, the facility processed some 12 million immigrants. Nowadays, some 40 percent of Americans can trace their familial roots to this gateway to the New World, named for Samuel Ellis, a merchant who owned the land in the 1870s.The island has been administered by the federal government since 1808 and has been operated by the National Park Service since 1965.

On Jan. 2, 1892, Annie Moore, a 15-year-old Irish immigrant, became the first person to pass through the newly opened facility. Two years earlier, President Benjamin Harrison had designated it as America’s first federal immigration center. Before then, individual states took responsibility for processing newcomers to the United States.

The closure came after Arne Peterssen, a seaman detained there for having overstayed his shore leave, became the last person to be processed there. He returned to his native Norway. 


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