In June 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed the annual State budget, which included a one-time, $2.952 million augmentation to complete the restoration of the $14 million Pacific Coast Immigration Center at Angel Island State Park.
The creation of the Pacific Coast Immigration Center has been in the planning and reconstruction stages for many years. This funding will open the Center with state of the art exhibits telling the stories of success and struggle faced by Pacific Coast immigrants.
This latest funding advances the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation's (Foundation) mission to preserve and share the stories of Pacific Rim immigration and is a critical milestone in a capital campaign that it initiated in 2013 to raise funds for the Pacific Coast Immigration Center.
The Pacific Coast Immigration Center will be housed in the historic Public Health Service Hospital Building in the existing U.S. Immigration Station on Angel Island State Park. Funding in the budget augmentation will be used to complete the in-progress restoration of the Hospital Building, as well as to develop, design, and install the exhibits for the Center. The Center will have interactive displays, rotating exhibits highlighting diverse immigrant stories from Angel Island, and an on-site café. The Foundation and the state's Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will be continuing their decades-long collaboration to finalize and implement the Center, which is estimated to be open to the public by Fall 2017.
"This will put immigration from the Pacific on par with the far more familiar story of immigration through Ellis Island." said Katherine Toy, President of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation Board of Directors. "As Pacific immigration continues to grow, it is critical to understand and provide a forum for discussion about both its history and the issues surrounding today's immigration stories."
"Creating the Pacific Coast Immigration Center is more critical now than ever," added Ms. Toy. "It demonstrates how our state parks and the history they preserve are extremely relevant to current political, social, and educational issues. California's Pacific Coast Immigration Center will be a positive, thoughtful contribution to the immigration story in California and the stories of the one million immigrants who were processed through Angel Island."
The Foundation and DPR have worked for decades to restore key facilities and raise public awareness about the role that the U.S. Immigration Station on Angel Island State Park has played in shaping California's history with immigration issues. Over the last 40 years, the Foundation has raised and leveraged more than $40 million to restore the Immigration Station's structures and to develop exhibits underscoring the importance of immigration to America's Pacific Coast.
Securing the funding in the budget was the result of legislative support and advocacy for the project from legislators in the Bay Area, Central Coast, and Southern California. A budget augmentation for the project was introduced and advanced by a key Assembly Budget Subcommittee in late May, and was successfully adopted by the Legislature's two-house Conference Committee in June.
"The Foundation would like to thank our state legislators for their strong support of this project, and the Governor for his agreement to maintaining the funding in the budget he signed," said Ms. Toy. "We are deeply appreciative of the support from State Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting, and Assemblymembers David Chiu, Marc Levine, Richard Bloom and Das Williams, as well as from State Senator and Senate Budget Committee Chair Mark Leno, who all provided leadership for this critical funding."