Erika Lee, Judy Yung, And Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America

Monday, September 06, 2010

From the Seattle Times Newspaper:

The island in San Francisco Bay has often been called the Ellis Island of the West, but it wasn't really, says Erika Lee, director of the Asian-American Studies Program at the University of Minnesota. Lee has joined with Judy Yung, professor emeritus of American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, on a new book, "Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America."

The two descendants of illegal immigrants spoke about their book in Seattle last week. Yes, they said "illegal" rather than "undocumented" because Lee's grandparents and Yung's parents were well documented. But the documents were fake because that is what it usually took to get into America if you were Chinese during the 61 years the Chinese Exclusion Act was in effect [...]

Sixty percent of Angel Island immigrants were detained, while the rate at Ellis Island was 20 percent. The stay on Ellis Island was a few hours to a few days for most European immigrants. For most Asians at Angel Island, it ranged from a few days to weeks. But Asians weren't the only people who tried to enter at Angel Island. In fact, the authors say, the diversity of arrivals makes Angel Island a more accurate picture of America's relationship to immigrants.