Immigration at the Golden Gate : Passenger Ships, Exclusion, and Angel Island
This was the era when a rampant public hostility to newcomers posed grave threats to the liberties of all immigrants, especially those from Asia. The phrase Angel Island connotes more than a rocky outpost rearing up inside the mouth of San Francisco Bay, more, even, than shorthand for the various government outposts-military, health, and immigration—that guarded the Western Gate. Angel Island reminds us of an important chapter in the history of immigration to the United States, one that was truly a multicultural enterprise long before that expression was even imagined. With the restoration of the Immigration Station and the creation of a suitable museum/learning center, Angel Island may well become as much part of the American collective imagination as Ellis Island-but with its own, quite different, twist. This book shows how natives and newcomers experienced the immigration process on the west coast. Although Angel Island's role in American immigration was greatest at the dawn of the previous century, the process of immigration continues. The voices of a century ago—of exclusion, of bureaucratic and judicial nightmares, of the interwoven interests of migrants and business people of the fear of foreigners and their diseases, of moral ambiguity and uncertainty—all echo to the present day.