What Was Ellis Island? By: Nikki Rush

What was the purpose of going to Ellis Island? Why would people want to risk getting sent back home? The answer is that people could have a future there. They saw an opportunity to be educated, and have a job that pays well. People who traveled to America were called immigrants. Immigrants lived in poverty in the places that they lived in. But they saw no poverty in America. In fact, immigrants are still coming to America today.

Boat going to Ellis Island

One type of test that immigrants had to pass to get into America was the reading test. Immigrants had to read a certain amount of words in a book too pass. They could read in any language, for they did not know English. The reason that immigrants had to do the reading test was so the government could keep the people who could not read or write out of America.

3 cons (bad things) about going through Ellis Island is that mothers could have their children taken away from them, because they were unhealthy. Another con is that immigrants were not always aloud to enter America. Some were sent back to the poverty and pain in their home countries. The last con of going through Ellis Island is that immigrants that answered questions wrong in testing, were sent to appear before a Board of Special Inquiry, made up of 3 men. One man said that it was one of the scariest things he had ever experienced in his life.

3 pros (good things) about going through Ellis Island is that the hospital service was wonderful, and some immigrants said that the hospital was the best place on the island. Another thing that was good was that some immigrants left with good memories because of the kindness. The last pro about going through Ellis Island was that many immigrants tasted their first American food on Ellis Island, such as sandwiches, corn on the cob, Jell-O, and ice cream.

Immigrants eating on Ellis Island

For immigrants, daily life in the pens of being detained on Ellis Island was easier than in their home countries. The countries where the immigrants came from, people were diving every day due to starvation, but on the island, they were being fed all 3 meals of the day, and they were taken care of by the nurses on Ellis Island.

Golda Meir, also known as Golda Mabovitch, was one of the most famous immigrants that passed through Ellis Island. She came with her Russian-Jewish family, and started over in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The reason that she is so important is because she led fund-raisers to but schoolbooks for poor classmates. Golda graduated from junior-high at the top of her class. Later, she started making Israel a free home for Jews. In 1968, Golda was elected prime minister of Israel.

Golda Meir: 1898-1978

One interesting fact is that babies that were born on Ellis Island were automatically citizens of America.

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