Angel Island Bill Passes House Committee
- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announced today that the
House Resources Committee has approved legislation to restore the
historic Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay,
also known as the "Ellis Island of the West."
In May, Congresswoman
Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) and Congresswoman Pelosi introduced the
Angel Island Immigration Station Restoration and Preservation Act
(H.R. 4469). The bill would allow the use of up to $15 million in
federal funds, in addition to state and local funds, 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, but additional
funds are needed. The bill's 45 cosponsors include Members from
across the country, demonstrating the national importance of this
of immigrants are woven throughout the history of our nation,"
Pelosi said. "For many immigrants, release from the Angel Island
Immigration Station meant that they had taken a significant step
toward a new life in the United States. The Resources Committee
posed a serious legislative hurdle for this legislation to restore
the Station, and I am pleased that the Resources Committee passed
the bill. I commend Congresswoman Woolsey for her leadership."
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. Many Bay Area
residents are the descendents of immigrants who passed through Angel
Island. For example, San Francisco resident Albert Wong, who traveled
alone from Hong Kong to San Francisco in 1934 at the age of 12,
was held on Angel Island for five weeks before he was released to
join his father.
Island speaks to us across the years, telling the stories of immigrants
from around the world," Pelosi said. "We are a nation
of immigrants, and we must treasure that history while remembering
that every individual must be treated with dignity and respect."