Ellis Island Registry Room from scholastic.com
Like you, I’ve heard that a time or two too many, so I went into rant mode.
I call bullshit. Not on your father, about whom I know nothing. But permit me to point something out about an awful lot of those forebears said to have “come here legally.” Actually, they didn’t. They lied under oath and they lied like rugs—about having family here, and job offers, about clean records and no medical issues back home, about their religious and political views, about what fucking country they were from, about the fact that the documents they proffered had been purchased from forgers in Rotterdam or Pireaus the week before they embarked.
They might not have been caught, but that doesn’t make them any different from the guys mopping the floors tonight, down at the local mall. Then, lest there be any unclarity, I went on:
and from the Scholastic Site -the source of the image above:
Many women were detained at Ellis Island
Women were not allowed to enter America alone until after World War II. Ellis Island officials would detain them because they were afraid the women would be unable to find relatives in America and be unable to support themselves.