April 17 – Ellis Island Day

GabeAmerican History(BR), Bell Ringers

April 17 is Ellis Island/Family History Day.

From 1892 until 1934, Ellis Island was one of the main entry points for immigrants to arrive in America. Altogether, 12 million immigrants were processed on Ellis Island before departing for all points across the country.

Interestingly, a significant number of immigrants turned around and went back home. While many more people came to America when its borders were mostly open, a significant minority (about 1 in 3) didn’t like it and went back.

  1. Did your ancestors enter the U.S. through Ellis Island? What motivated them to come here?
  2. What do you think motivated the ones who returned to go back?
  3. Why do you think so many people have such strong feelings about immigration? What fosters the kind of hatred shown in the clip?
  4. How do you think the United States should manage immigration? What are the traits of people you’d like to see immigrate?

Image Citation:

9 April, 2018< Immigrants lined up outside of Ellis Island circa 1910 [Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <nps.gov>.