Immigration Travel Processes

Posted by Lauren L. Michigan

Immigration has changed since Ellis Island travelers first started coming over to America. Today immigrants risk everything to find a safe place to stay. When Ellis Island travelers came over they came for work and to live the American dream.

Traveling conditions and reasoning behind immigration has changed since Ellis Island travelers came over to the United States. Immigrants today come over for different reasons then they used to come over for. Immigrants travel over because it is a safe place away from dangers of their home country. Today, immigrants are no longer coming to the United States for just jobs and to live the American dream. Immigrants are coming to America to escape danger and stay safe.

Traveling conditions have changed since Ellis Island immigrants came over to the United States. The immigrants risk everything they have to come over. The immigrants come through dangerous and sickening processes in their journey. Immigrants used to come over through Ellis Island to live the American dream, get new job opportunities and walk down the busy city streets, sparkling with pride. Immigrants now come over because it is their last resort. They want a safe “home” away from violence, even if it means being separated from their families. According to Key Finding Immigration, “The United States has more immigrants than any other country in the world. Today, more than 40 million people living in the U.S. were born in another country.” The number of immigrants coming over is increasing and they are coming over from negative factors of their home countries. All the immigrants really want right now is to have a home away from danger and violence. In their current homes, war, poverty and crime actions are pushing them out and coming to the United States is a possible way to escape and seek shelter. According to Why families risk crossing the border, “Just crossing Mexico, there's-human trafficking, and there's rapes and all of this. But they're seeking that they have to immigrant because they don't see any opportunity.” The dangers of their home country are pushing the immigrants out at a fast rate. They want what is best for their families and staying at their current location is not a possible option.

Immigration processes through Ellis Island were long and challenging times but they had hoped to get to experience the American dream. The American dream was equal opportunity and new work experiences to support their families. The voyage of Ellis island ended positive for many but for others they got held back because of sickness or document concerns. Some of the immigrants dreams were shattered within hours after leaving the rocking boat. According to Immigration and Deportation, “More than 120,000 immigrants were sent back to their countries of origin, and during the islands half-century of operation more than 3,500 died.” Diseases were easily spread on the boats tight corners and many came from impoverished communities. Despite some not making it through tests, thousands of immigrants were let through without a problem. Ellis Island let through many new people all coming from different parts of the world most commonly from Europe. According to Ellis Island Foundation, “Between 1790-1820, the first census was underway, and of the 3.9 million people counted, the English were the largest ethnic group. Nearly 20% were African American heritage. German, Scottish and Irish residents were also represented.” After days of traveling, going through Ellis island was a quick process that allowed large numbers of people to pass through. Millions of immigrants spread to different states with big cities that could take in new workers, New York City was the most popular destination. The immigration processes for many of the immigrants wasn’t too difficult and they were able to start a new life quickly. They got work in factories and coal mines to support their families. Immigration processes now are more challenging and not everyone is as accepting because circumstances have changed since Ellis Island with new regulations.

Traveling conditions since Ellis Island have drastically changed for immigrants coming over today. I interviewed my aunt to get more details on her understanding and research of my family coming over from Italy through Ellis Island. According to my aunt, I found out that my family came over from Italy for job opportunities and to experience living the American dream. I found out that my great grandfather came over from Naples, Italy. He grew up in poor conditions causing him to travel to America with hardly anything. Before getting on the ship the immigrants waited in long lines to go through medical tests and to get paperwork confirmed. Many immigrants were sent back to their home country because they were ill and could bring germs into the United States. Doctors would check them out after waiting days of being separated from their families, just to hear the news that they couldn't continue their journey. Once on the ship people were separated by wealth on three levels. The wealthy were put on top level, given food and had fair treatment. The middle class was on the second level and had necessities. The bottom level which is were my great grandfather was placed was packed with people, body to body and they were mistreated. Coming over to the United States was a safe destination and was most immigrants common goal regardless of traveling difficulties. Immigration conditions have changed now and many come over illegally in great numbers to escape poor conditions. Poverty and crime rates are high in areas by Mexico, where a lot of immigrants are traveling over from. The immigrants have a similar goal to the Ellis Island travelers of doing what is best for their families, the process of coming over is just different. Today, immigrants travel by walking and a occasional caravan or train rides. According to, Most Dangerous Journey, “Along the way, many of these men, women and children suffer assaults, robbery and abduction by criminal gangs. There are also reports of extortion and ill treatment by police and immigration officials. Tragically, some migrants are killed before they get too far.” Immigrants coming over to the United States risk everything they have to seek shelter. Despite the travel differences, the common goal still is to be safe and put their families first.

Traveling conditions and reasoning for immigration has changed over time. The goal immigrants have is to find a new home away from the push factors and challenging times of their old country. War, crime and poverty are a few reasons that pushed immigrants out of their country and is why they start the long journey over to find a safe place in the United States. Immigrants from years ago traveling through Ellis Island and immigrants today share a common goal. Both sets of immigrants wanted to have a new start in the United States, a chance to start fresh and work and receive fair treatment. The immigrants also wanted to do what is best for their families, they wanted their kids to grow up in a safe community where crime and violence wasn’t right outside of their homes.

Published on May 26, 2019
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