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Angel Island is located in San Francisco Bay, California. It is a historic place whereby it had played a huge role in the immigration issues within 1910 to 1940 (Danico, 2014). This island was one of the entry points set up by the United States of America to control the immigrants’ entry to the country. The citizens of the Asian origin including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean passed through Angel Island as they strived to seek the better life in the USA (Greve, 2015). It will be interesting to learn about an intriguing bureaucratic process the Korean and other Asian people experienced in there. It was their main entrance to the United States of America. Its solitary feature provided an effective location for screening and detention of immigrants as well (Mortenson, 2009). About 1000 Koreans went to the USA through Angel Island between the years of 1910 and 1940 (Daniels, 2003).They arrived there as the brides looking for men to marry, as refugee students, and wives with the children of alien Koreans. This article gives a vivid description of encounters and experiences undergone by five immigrants, i.e. Chang Lak, Gin Djeng Mu, Helen Kyung Chang, Lin Whan, and Seunghan Ahn.
Various sources have been used to come up with this article. The primary ones of them contributing to bulky of this work include the information records of Korean immigrants passing through Angel Island, the data from National Archives, ancestry.com, and other Internet sources. I have obtained a scanner app for scanning the material records at the National Archives, which acted as the main sources of data. However, there were some difficulties met when compiling and synthesizing the information. All the necessary demographic data were not provided which could have help in the assessment. Various documents had some inconsistencies about the immigrants’ details, for example, their age variation.
Each Korean immigrant had the unique experience or an encounter during his or her transit through Angel Island The examination of various documentations from ancestry.com, the Department of Immigration, and other literature sources revealed the following information.
One of such immigrants is Chang Lak. He was 23 years, single, and born in Hwang Ha Do in Korea. He came alone to Angel Island on 25 July 1914; he had $64.70 which his father living in Hwang Ha Do had given to him. Chang Lak was able to read and write. It is notable that he came from Shanghai, China, where he had stayed for five years.
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Chang Lak attempted to enter the United States of America and met with difficulties. He was diagnosed to have uncinariasis which made him ineligible to enter the United States of America. The special jury, who sat down to determine his case, decided that he did not meet the entrance qualification. Therefore, he had to be treated and deported back. He had to pay the medical bill of $50 for the treatment of uncinariasis. However, he was still offered a chance that after the medical care he would be legible to join the United States of America if being healthy. Chang Lak‘s other information was missing the records.
Helen Kyung Chung
Helen Kyung Chung was a female Korean immigrant. She was 18 years when she travelled to the United States of America on 16 May 1916. She was in position to read and write when her literacy level was examined. She was a student at that time and married to Kim Hei Kyung. She arrived on 16 May 1914 using the ship Korea Maru. She later left the United States on 26 March 1930 on the ship Asama Maru, which departed from San Pedro, California .She returned on 25 April 1931 and arrived at the port. Later, she went back from San Pedro, California, using the ship Santos Maru.
Helen was born in Pen Yang, Korea. However, her last permanent residence was Shanghai, China. She did not face the problems in her entry to the country because she was in a good health status. Her reason of immigration was rather straightforward. She said her husband was residing in 14740 Calvert St., Van Nuys, California. There was no other relevant information given about her in the scanned documents, which could answer all the questions in the guide.
Lin Whan was born in Seoul, Korea, but later became a citizen of China through naturalization. He came to the United States of America on 13 July 1923 at the age of 23. He was then a student, single and able to read as well as write. The Section 6 Student Précis, which is issued by the Commissioner of Foreign Affairs in Shanghai, showed the following fact. Lin Whan graduated from the Higher Common School in Seoul, Korea, in 1921. Furthermore, the document confirms that his schooling had been interfered by his illness. According to the records, Lin Whan pursued the agricultural course at the University of California, in the US. His father, Lin Shun, who was a rice merchant in Seoul, Korea, completely financed his education by giving out $70 of gold every month. His cousin teacher confirmed that Lin Whan’s family had been in a good financial position that could enable him pursue his education. The financial status was further approved by the letter from Dr. R.A. Hardie of the Union Methodist Theological Seminar in Seoul. Moreover, and the correspondence of Rev. A.P. Parker who was a missionary in Shanghai confirmed this as well. The information from immigration records indicates that he had travelled by the ship S. S. President Pierce. He came from Shanghai, China. The records alluded that he came to pursue education at the University of California, in Berkeley. The length of his stay had been ten years.
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However, Lin Whan did not register himself at the University of California. It was proven by its official who said there was no evidence regarding his admission to the institution.. The Medical Certificate of Release in Angel Island indicates that Lin Whan was released. He had no health problems on 13 July 1923 when he was 24 years old. In addition, he answered only one query that he was single in the form 2602. He left the rest of questions blank.
Seunghan Ahn travelled to the United States using the steamship Tanyo Maru, through the port of Francisco on 6 July 1926. During that time, Seunghan was 25 years old, being a not married student, able to read and write. He was a citizen of Japan but the Korean by his race. He was born in Songdo, Korea. Songdo was his last permanent residence. He named his father as Chu Ho Ann, living in Songdo, Korea. He had never been to the United States before. The documents indicate that he was going to the country to study at Roanoke College, which was in Sale, Virginia. He had studied there for five years.
Seunghan’s general health status was satisfactorily good, according to his medical report from Severance Hospital in Seoul, Korea. The documents indicate that he did not have trachoma, mental health problems, and the infectious diseases like syphilis and parasitic infestation. He was dark in complexion, having the black hair, and brown eyes; he did not have any identification marks on him. He had come unaccompanied. The Segundo Higher Common School of the Korean Methodist Episcopal Mission provided a strong recommendation letter for him to be admitted into the United States of America to study for the duration of five years at Roanoke College.
However, there were some changes related to his education as Seunghan wanted to transfer to the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He wanted to migrate because Roanoke College did not offer any medical courses. It suggested a pre-medical course. Seunghan wanted to pursue the medical course which was available at Notre Dame University. In addition, he wanted to stay with his friend, Mr. Young Augh, who lived in South Bend, Indiana. His friend would help him economically. His brother had written a series of letters to various relevant authorities that were dealing with immigration issues requesting them to consider Seunghan’s transfer from Roanoke College to Notre Dame University. There is no information given to show whether the man succeeded in his bid or not. No further data were given about him.
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Gin Djeng Mu
Gin Djeng Mu arrived in Angel Island on 23 August 1923 on the steamship President Taft. He was on his route to Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California. Later, it was noticed that he did not register himself in the university. According to the Medical Certificate of Release, Djeng Mu had uncinariasis. He underwent a treatment in the hospital. The information from the form 2602 indicates that he was not married. He did not reply to the rest of the questions accordingly. The American Consulate General in Shanghai, China, the report in the Section 6 Student Précis indicates the following fact. The man was born in Seoul,, and attended various schools for his basic education. The furthermore plans to pursue his Chemistry Course at Stanford University were in the course. His father, Kia Shing, had committed himself to offer the financial support of $100 of gold for his son every month.
Discussion and Findings
The encounters by the immigrants were challenging. The movement to the United States of America was difficult due to the technical system put in place to screen them (Ngai & Gjerde, 2013). The health status of each individual was a major determinant that could make somebody legible to go to the country. Hookworm infection, mental disorders, and infectious diseases were some of health conditions that could deter a person from successfully entering the US. The poor health status was seen as a threat that could damage the individual’s ability to earn the living. Angel Island had the hospital armed with personnel and equipment for screening health disorders. However, the process of screening was relatively unfair to immigrants. Their privacy rights had been never observed when they were examined (DeWitte & Stojanowski, 2015). In addition to this, the immigrants were to meet the daily hospital expenses (Derose, Bahney, Lurie, & Escarce, 2009). The information regarding the health status of a person was summarized in the Medical Certificate of Release whereby it was used as one of basic documents in immigration issues (Spencer, 2014).
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The education played a significant role. The study background of an individual had to be checked and proven through letters by either religious leaders or the heads of institutions, where the immigrants attended for the purpose of learning. Their majority came to the United States of America with their intention of pursuing education. The study in the United States of America had some guidelines related to the admissions and transfers of these people. The transfer from one university to another would have required a series of correspondence to different stakeholders including the institution and immigration officials.
The travel information details were considered vital. It can be confirmed by the ship’s name the immigrants had used, the ticket numbers, and the date of departure and arrival. Moreover, the details were important whether the person came accompanied or not, and the destination of the individual was travelling to. All these particular data were recorded.
The immigrant personal background was fully explored. The questions range from whether the one was married or not, literacy standards, the individual’s previous residence, where the immigrant was born, the location of immigrants’ parents or relatives, the amount of money, and the person who was to provide the financial backup if he or she was settled in the United States of America.
The immigrants who mainly passed through Angel Island on their route to the US were mainly the citizens of the Asian origin. All of them had their roots in Korea. These immigrants were mainly the citizens of Korea; and some of them were born in that country. However, they acquired the Chinese citizenship through naturalization.
There was an elaborate system that managed the matters related to immigration. The American Consulate Office in Shanghai, China, and the American Department of Foreign Affairs work in a coordinated manner to ensure that immigration was under control by screening those people and monitoring their actions. There was a jury set up to hear and decide any case related to immigration cases. Those persons who were denied their entry to the United States of America or were facing deportation problems were given an opportunity to launch an appeal to explain why they were displeased with the process. The immigration hearing was chaired by R. E. Pesbody (Inspector), T.M. Crawford (Inspector), D.J. Griffiths (Inspector), H. Schmoldt (Stenographer), and David Lee (Interpreter). The latter one was a Korean interpreter and represented as well the Korean National Association. David Lee was in a good position to chair the hearing to read out the verdict. He understood the Korean language and was also seen as an advocate of Koreans due to his position as a Korean Association Representative. Some of the questions included the place of birth, the marital status, if the person had been in the USA before or not, the number of children, the details of immigrant parents, and some financial queries.
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It is also notable that between the years of 1910 and 1940, about one million immigrants of the Asian origin had moved to the United States of America. There were nearly 1,000 Koreans who went to the US (Lee & Young, 2010).
There are the themes which can be deduced from the data in various documents and the letters related to immigrants. The education was a major variable being completely emphasized. It was a basic requirement that the immigrants had attained a certain level of education before being allowed to come to the United States of America. The study of every person was to be proven beyond a doubt that the immigrant was knowledgeable, and able to read and write. There was a relationship between various immigrants related to the education factor. All male immigrants in the scanned documents had come to the country with the sole purpose to get education at colleges or universities. The female immigrant, Helen Kyung Chung, was an exception, She travelled to the United States of America on several occasions because her husband was residing there. She was the only immigrant who was married when she entered the country. The rest of male immigrants, whose details were contained in the scanned documents, were not married. All of them within their examination had nearly the similar features, According to the data provided, their physical characteristics regarding height, skin complexion, the color of their eyes and hair were the same ones. They had the dark complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair. All of them were below six feet in height. The majority of immigrants who came with the purpose of education were given the supportive letters by the Christian religious leaders. The financial support was a significant matter, which was usually put into consideration. The immigrants had to specify where they got the financial sustain to meet the travel cost, hospital expenses, and education expenditures.
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The details related to Korean immigrants connected with their immigration pose some pertinent questions. The question appears on the reason why they were moving away from their country. Secondly, the majority of immigrants had spent some time in Shanghai, China, and even acquired the Chinese citizenship by naturalization. The question is what made them move to China before proceeding to the United States of America. The Korean immigrants had some problems related to their health status, for instance, hookworm infections. The health shortfalls were some of variables, which could obstruct the one from entering the country. The question is related to the reason why these immigrants were infested with worms which can be easily treated.
It is agreeable that the immigration was a challenge to both immigrants themselves striving to convince the authority of the United States of America to allow them into the country, i.e. the state’s immigration department controlling the movement of immigrants.