Angel Island Browsing history channel, I got to view a documentary about Angel Island. First I had no idea where or what this place was, but I found out that this place has so much history. I felt like we need to know about this place as an Asian American. Angel Island is in San Francisco, today it has a great state park and it’s a beautiful place to live in. It has not always been a beautiful place, between 1910 and 1940 this Island was once an Immigration Station. It processed approximately 250,000 Chinese, 150,000 Japanese and smaller number of Korean, Filipino, Asian Indian, Spanish, and Portuguese entering into the United States’ (Hoskins, 2, 2005). Due to the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, many immigrants spent years on the island, waiting for entry. Asian immigrants went through many troubles. They had a dream when they came to United States, such as helping the family back at home with money and having a better life. Angel Island was a disgusting and harsh place. They unequally treated and processed the Asian immigrants.
The Angel Island was not an Immigration Center, It had no authority, Angel Island was a jail that was created and ruled by government who were against immigrants. ‘Angel Island served more as a detention and deportation center than an immigration center’(Lim, 1, 1991). The rejection was very high ‘50,000 came in while perhaps 9,000 were barred, rejection rate of 1 out of 6 which was higher than other immigration stations’ (Yung, the detention barracks, administration buildings, hospital, and powerhouse and a wharf. It had twelve cottages, a laundry, a stable, a carpenter shop, water tank, and a ferry boat’ (Roger, 5, 1997).
My source is the poetries that were written by Chinese who has gone through immigration process in Angel Island during early 1900s. ‘There are calligraphy scratched on the wooden walls of Immigration Station, it describes the feelings, experiences and situation of the detainees’ (Yung, 52, 1977). My source contains eight poems and they are poems that were written on the walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station. This is one of the poems from my source. ‘Because my house had bare walls, I began rushing all about. The waves are happy, laughing “Ha-Ha! ” When I arrived on Island, I heard I was forbidden to land
I could do nothing but frown and feel angry at heaven. ’ There is some oddness in this poem, it is, ‘Because my house had bare walls, I began rushing all about’ this person seems to be sent to the Island because he has not passed the questioning the United States, which is correlated and is being worked with Chinese Exclusion law in 1892, to do that they asked unnecessary and impossible questions in immigration stations. In the film ‘Days of Waiting’ one of the scenes shows that Chinese were sharing the notes and knowledge about the interview some even got the study notes from the cooks during the eating time.
They had a goal and that was to get the satisfying answers and to get out of Angel Island soon as they can, so they can work and support their family then to . The life style in Angel Island was not any different than the life style in jail. ‘The place was full of strangers; they divide between male and female, and they separated Non-was written on my source. ‘There are tens of thousands of poems on these walls They are all cries of suffering and sadness The day I am rid of this prison and become successful I must remember that this chapter once existed’
This explains how people were feeling through out the whole stay in the Angel Island. They could not work, they could not communicate with the family, and they were even separated from their family in the island (Yung, 54, 1977). Not to mention they were all squeezed in a room with minimum of 3 people and food were also not prepared well. ‘The meat was cooked as they were ready to be feed to the dogs and all the meals were either overcooked or undercooked’ (Yung, 54, 1977). Only way to get out of this place was either to give up the dream or study and try harder to pass the test. They had to e picked (1 out of 6). The key was to have good knowledge in English, but that was hard for them since they just came to US. Everyone came to the US with a big hope but, that hope just became an imagination for unlucky ones. The Angel Island was nothing but a jail; they were kept and dealt just like prisoners. Knowing It is now our job to make sure not to let justice do wrong against our rights. Our previous generation has worked and tried hard to provide us with better life style in this country. Now it is our time to make sure our new coming generation live in peaceful environment.