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An immigrant family from Italy arriving at Ellis Island
An immigrant family from Italy arriving at Ellis Island

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Walking Onto Ellis Island, New York
Do you know what important activity once took place at Ellis Island?

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many immigrants came to New York through an immigration station called Ellis Island, near the southern tip of New York City's Manhattan Island. Immigrants, people who leave their home country to live permanently in a new one, have made up a large part of the population of New York City for several hundred years. Irish, Italian, Jewish, Puerto Rican, and other people have influenced the cultural makeup of this huge city.

Between 1892 and 1954, more than 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island in order to start a new life in the United States. They came to escape religious persecution, political oppression, and poverty in their home countries. Getting through Ellis Island, however, was often a long and grueling process. Newly arrived immigrants had to wait in line for many hours, endure medical examinations, and answer questions from the immigration inspectors.

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