The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are often the two places that come to mind when thinking about immigration to the US. Yet, many are not aware that from 1910 to 1940, a section of Angel Island (in the San Francisco Bay) was also used to process, interrogate, and detain over 500,000 immigrants who came from 80 different countries. While often referred to as the “Ellis Island of the West”, the former U.S. Immigration Station at Angel Island was created to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and other immigration policies created to restrict immigration from Asia and the Pacific. During World War II, the site was also used to temporarily process and detain Japanese Americans before they were sent to other incarceration sites. The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) is the primary nonprofit organization that has worked in partnership with California State Parks to preserve the site’s buildings and history. AIISF led efforts to secure the site’s recognition in 1997 as a National Historic Landmark. The site serves as reminder of the complicated history of immigration in America and as a symbol of our willingness to learn from our past to ensure that our nation keeps its promise of liberty and freedom.
Kick off Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by joining this discussion with AIISF's Executive Director Edward Tepporn. He'll highlight the history of Asian and Pacific Islander immigration through Angel Island, some of the stories and experiences of immigrants detained at Angel Island, the monumental effort to preserve and protect the site, and the importance of remembering the site’s significance in our nation’s history.