In the Shadow of Liberty: The Chronicle of Ellis Island

By Edward Corsi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
RACKETEERS AND HUMAN CONTRABAND

MY EXPERIENCE with smugglers and stowaways began almost simultaneously with deportation problems.

We who live in the United States, whether we be native born, naturalized citizens, or even aliens, take for granted the privilege of being here.

For nearly five years now we have struggled through a depression, witnessing a commercial and social catastrophe which has almost shaken our faith in the fundamentals of Americanism. Both the Republican and Democratic administrations at Washington have come in for their respective avalanches of criticism.

Yet, in the face of all that partisan critics say we have lost, there are thousands in every quarter of the globe who would go to any length to exchange places with us.

I will not discuss the value of American opportunity. But that it is to many the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow I have had deeply impressed upon me during my service at the Island. Sometimes I myself have been forced to shatter the hopes and render useless all the enormous efforts that have been expended in bringing the alien illegally into the country. Older cases out of the past were brought to my attention as I considered those in hand, and sought, where the laws permitted me to decide at all, to make a reasonable and just decision. But of course the occasions when a stowaway or smuggled-in alien can be permitted to remain are comparatively

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