Immigration Inspections: Then Versus Now

Source: AP Images = http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/1918/images/trachoma_inspections_at_ellis_island.jpg

The conditions of immigration in the early 1900s differed from what it is like today. Immigrants boarded overcrowded ships and faced unbearable conditions during their travels. Sickness was easily passed from person to person, as people lacked proper hygiene and overall cleanliness. While their conditions were horrific, the promise of freedom was enough to keep them going. Upon arrival at Ellis Island, immigrants were subjected to a brief health and legal examination. As long as the immigrants passed both the medical and legal inspections, they were welcomed into America. The process was rather quick and the public was generally accepting. Immigrants typically waited in a line for three to five hours for their inspections, whereas today, that is not possible.

Currently, the inspections are much more strenuous. Becoming a legal immigrant can take years to finalize. The financial and emotional cost of such inspections is also rather strenuous and exhausting on those seeking American citizenship. Thus, the change in the intensity of what it takes to be an immigrant mirrors the idea that Americans are much more selective about who becomes a citizen in this day and age. The immigrants must follow the strict guidelines and adhere to citizenship expectations as a means of gaining the approval of current American citizens. The necessity for patience and compliance is evident, and without it, immigrants will have a hard time seeking acceptance from Americans.

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One response to “Immigration Inspections: Then Versus Now

  • kaehart

    How did the immigrants feel as they were subjected to medical and legal examinations? Did they feel violated? While I agree that health inspections are necessary in this case, I wonder if these examinations were conducted appropriately at all times.

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