Ellis Island, once the United States’ busiest immigrant inspection station, ceased operations on this day in 1954. From 1892 to 1924, approximately 12 million immigrants arriving at the Port of New York and New Jersey were processed there. By proclamation of President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, the federally-owned island became a part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. The main building and adjacent structures were gradually renovated over the years, leading to the opening of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on September 10, 1990. Three decades later, Ellis Island is still a major New York City tourist attraction, drawing two million annual visitors.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” —
Emma Lazarus (“The New Colossus”, 1883)