Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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Meet Angel Island Immigration Station Volunteer Docent Sam Louie

1.        Tell us a little about yourselves, e.g. where you grew up, went to school, your professions, and family
I grew up in San Francisco's Chinatown and never knew that my parents were detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station -- because they never ever spoke about it.  It wasn't until after my mother passed away in 2003 (at the age of 98) that I found her "coaching book" which my father had prepared.  Knowing what she had studied in preparation for her interrogation, I went down to the National Archives in San Bruno and found a 43 page transcript of her actual interrogation.  It was at the Archives that I discovered that my mother was detained at the AIIS along with 3 siblings in 1936.  I also found out that my father was detained at the AIIS in 1916 when he first arrived in America as a "paper son" at the age of 14.

Meet Angel Island Immigration Station Volunteer Docent Michael Weber

My name is Michael Weber.  I have been a docent at the Angel Island Immigration Station for three years.  Being a docent and spending time on the Island has been wonderful experience and something that I look forward to doing regularly.

Julie Otsuka wins 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Julie Otsuka, author of the  acclaimed novel, “The Buddha in the Attic,” received the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction on May 5 in Washington, D.C.  The novel has been hailed for its originality and spell-binding qualities as it gives a collective portrayal of Japanese picture brides.  Over 10,000 Japanese picture brides immigrated to the U.S. via Angel Island between 1910 and 1920.

We wish to thank Terry Hong for allowing us to reprint her review of “The Buddha in the Attic.”  Her reviews are featured at www.bookdragon/

AIISF wins $25,573 grant to research Japanese American detention at Angel Island during WWII

On March 22, 2012, the National Park Service announced that AIISF was among 17 groups out of 42 applicants to be awarded funding under the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2012. AIISF will receive $25,573 to research the little-known stories of several hundred Japanese Hawaiians and Japanese Americans who were held at the detention barracks at the former Angel Island Immigration Station in 1942 and 1943.  The Nikkei were held at Angel Island by the U.S. military prior to being sent to Department of Justice camps for the duration of World War II.

Amnesty—Past and Present

By Bill Ong Hing, Professor of Law, University of San Francisco.

The story of undocumented immigration in the Chinese American community is well known. Because of the exclusion laws, many Chinese entered the United States under false citizenship claims. A Chinese laborer might assert, for example, that he was born in San Francisco and that his birth certificate was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. Then he would claim, after various trips to China, that his wife there had given birth to children (usually sons) who automatically derived U.S. citizenship. In fact, the children were often fictitious, and the few immigration slots were given or sold to others in China. They came to be known as “paper sons.” Thousands of others, including wives, sneaked across the Canadian or Mexican border.

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