Group 9

Forged Identities: Barriers to Changing Nationality

Esther Amonor and Noah Gaston

[player id=105]

Discriminated against because of their race, Asian immigrants were forced to go through sanitation stations on Angel island throughout the early part of the twentieth century when arriving to the United States. Many were detained for multiple months and given invasive medical examinations. To bypass this long detention, many immigrants assumed the identity of “paper sons or daughters”. This practice is when an individual made a claim that they were native-born U.S. citizens. But how were individuals able to accomplish this? To dive further into this phenomenon, we will look at some personal accounts of families discovering that their history was not entirely what it seemed.

Further Reading 

  Daniels, Roger. “No Lamps Were Lit for Them: Angel Island and the Historiography of Asian American Immigration.” Journal of American Ethnic History 17, no. 1 (1997): 3-18. Accessed November 2, 2020.

  “Poems and Inscriptions: Angel Island Immigration Station – San Francisco.” AIISF. Accessed November 17, 2020. 

  Tim Cresswell & Gareth Hoskins (2008) Place, Persistence, and Practice: Evaluating Historical Significance at Angel Island, San Francisco, and Maxwell Street, Chicago, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 98:2, 392-413, DOI: 10.1080/00045600701879409

Barde, Robert, and Gustavo J. Bobonis. “Detention at Angel Island: First Empirical Evidence.” Social Science History 30, no. 1 (2006): 103-36. Accessed November 17, 2020. doi:10.2307/40267900.

Medina-Cadena, Marisol. “Breaking the Silence on Angel Island’s Immigration Station.” KQED, September 16, 2018.

Lai, H. M. “Detained on Angel Island.” FoundSF. Accessed November 10, 2020.