From the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi Announces House Passage of Angel Island Immigration Station Legislation

September 28, 2004

San Francisco -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced today that the full House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Pelosi to restore the historic Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay, also known as the “Ellis Island of the West.”

“I commend Congresswoman Woolsey for her leadership in advancing this legislation. The House of Representatives today recognized the importance of preserving and restoring the Angel Island Immigration Station," Pelosi said. “Angel Island speaks to us across the years, telling the stories of immigrants from around the world. We are a nation of immigrants, and we must treasure that history while remembering that every individual must be treated with dignity and respect.”

Angel Island Immigration Station Restoration and Preservation Act authorizes up to $15 million in federal funds, in addition to state and local funds, to support ongoing efforts to preserve several historic buildings. The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, the State of California, and many dedicated individuals have been working to save these buildings from decay. Companion legislation has been introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and must be passed by the U.S. Senate.

Immigrants from countries around the Pacific Rim passed through the Angel Island facility between 1910 and 1940. Many Chinese immigrants, whose entry into the U.S. was severely restricted by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, were held in detention at Angel Island for months and sometimes years. While many found a better life for themselves and their families, others encountered discrimination and disappointment. As they waited to learn whether they would be allowed enter the United States or be sent back to China, they turned their hopes, fears, and despair into poetry carved in the walls of their barracks.

Angel Island has served as a place of contemplation and education since becoming a California State Park in 1963 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997. More than 50,000 people visit the Angel Island Immigration Station every year.

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