Authored by Marianne Brennan
Figure 1: Letter from Peter Regis to Garner J. Cline, in 1979, regarding the overflow of Soviet Jew refugees in Rome.
One of the hot topics in today’s political climate is the refugee crisis. On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning refugees from Muslim countries from entering the US for 90 days, and suspended the US refugee programme for 120 days. This contentious national issue is nothing new. In fact, the banning of refugees can be traced back through US history.
Authored by: Ariana Kaleta
President Kennedy Press Conference on the Immigration and Nationality Act June 11, 1963, Abby Rowe/White House
“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience.”
John F Kennedy, A Nation of Immigrants
Here we see a relaxed President Kennedy, laughing during a break at a press conference but what he was discussing were serious matters for the future face of America. The President was compelled to write “A Nation of Immigrants” after repeatedly hearing the stories of immigrant’s rights groups, such as at this meeting with the American Committee on Italian Migration.
When Kennedy first came into office, Henry Cabot Lodge’s Immigration Act of 1924 had been diligently enforced under the firm hand of the Immigration Restriction League (a prominent lobbying group founded in 1884).  For four decades, the Immigration Act of 1924 used quotas to prohibit all ‘non-nativist’ nationalities, in particular Jewish, Irish and Italians fleeing Europe. However, it also had punitive effects on the almost historically unrecognized Arabic and Asian immigrants. As the threat of communism and post war depression flooded across Europe and Asia, waves of immigrants risked their lives to journey to America, only to be turned away at Ellis Island, due to these racist and religious discriminatory laws. Continue reading
Authored by Megan Smead
Map of College Point, Queens, NY from the Sanborn Map Company, Atlas 141, Queens V. 5, Plate No. 15, 1903, made available by the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division of the New York Public Library.2
The Sanborn Map Company created fire insurance maps beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, showing the location and construction of buildings and roads in major cities across the United States, which allowed insurance companies to assess fire risk.1 The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division of the New York Public Library has digitized many atlases and maps, including the Sanborn map in Figure 1, which represents College Point, Queens, NY in 1903. As part of an Academic Service-Learning experience through St. John’s University, I georectified this map, and others from the same atlas of Queens. The georectification process entails using the NYPL Map Warper tool to match coordinates from the historical map to a current map in order to align the two maps. Georectification of historical maps allows genealogists, historians, architects, urban planners and members of the public to observe geographic and demographic changes over time, and to make connections to the past. Volunteering my time and skills in service to the public by georectifiying maps allows me to strive towards fulfilling the Vincentian mission of service that is essential to St. John’s University. Continue reading
Authored By: Anne M. Zadora
Above are the pages that document the conversation between Gennarino Pesce/Eddie Fish and the investigator from Naples, Italy. Images are copyright to the Center for Migration Studies and are part of the St. Raphael Collection.
Justice Neal’s memorandum, “The Homeland Security Act of 2002…. It also introduced a new term — unaccompanied alien child — to define a child who has no lawful immigration status in the United States, has not attained 18 years of age, and who has no parent or legal guardian in the United States… (2007).” This clarifies what it is meant in the modern era to be a child immigrant who has entered the United States of America without making use of proper channels. Throughout immigration history this instance has occurred, and with sometimes unfortunate results including deportation.
Authored by Chris Lund
Website created by Joseph Pascullo, Tanya Burgess, Roseann Podias and Bernadette Regina
Cpl. Alex Pisciotta in full uniform, France, circa 1917
This website tells the story of Corporal Alex Pisciotta, an Italian Immigrant who served the United States Army during World War I. The narratives on the site are presented in the first person, as if written by Pisciotta himself, and are complemented by a series of photographs, all taken by Pisciotta. The overall presentation gives the feel of a real-time blog written by a World War I soldier. The underlying purpose of this style of presentation is its potential to attract and engage a younger audience, which in turn can assist school teachers in their efforts to teach students about World War I. Continue reading
Authored by Chris Lund
South Village Historical Walking Tour
Map and Presentation created by Leanna Ladouceur, Mary Glynn & Melissa Henderson
South Village Historical Walking Tour Powerpoint Presentation
This map and presentation combine to provide a detailed guided historical walking tour of Manhattan’s South Village, home to many Italian immigrants at the turn of the century. The tour highlights many key locations and areas, featuring buildings from this period which are still standing today, along with those that have been demolished and replaced. Historical photographs are provided to allow tourgoers to compare each area’s present appearance to its past. Additional information is also included about each stop, adding depth, context and perspective to the modern scenery. Continue reading
Authored by Alison Mirabella
Letter (1979) from The Office of The Attorney General offering amendments to The Refugee Act of 1980.
The Endres Collection consists of only thirteen boxes from the personal collection of Arthur P. Endres, who served as counsel for the House Judicatory Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law. And yet, contained within these boxes, are the legal proceedings, correspondences and notes that would shape the lives of millions of future immigrants seeking a new life in the United States.
Authored by Karen Beverly
Website Created by Mary Glynn
Project Contributors: Melissa Henderson, Tonya Ely, Zachary Housel, Margaret Mattes, Joseph Pascullo, and Kathryn Sullivan
A photograph of Santa Giuliana Giovanni and his family alongside an additional Italian immigrant. Maria Corona obtained from the Center for Migration Studies.
This particular website concentrates on the strenuous journey that Italian immigrant children of the 1900’s (most specifically, “The Lost Children of Ellis Island”) had faced when making their way to America. While some immigrants made the trip in hopes of living the American Dream – life, liberty, and happiness – many immigrants contracted illness on their journey, passed away, and even got separated from their loved ones. Children were therefore left alone in a new and foreign country with no guidance, unable to speak the common language of the area, and with no place to go. Places such as The Saint Raphael Society were then established in order to look after these orphaned children and ultimately tried to raise money for those immigrants who had no choice other than to return back home to Italy. Continue reading
Authored by Karen Beverly
Website created by Giovanna Fiorino-Iannace and Joann White
Learning New Skills: Carpentry
(Reprinted with permission from the Center for Migration Studies, New York. Collection 087a)
This website examines the lives and journeys of Italian Immigrants during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and how these immigrants managed to adapt to their newfound home. In addition to facing struggles such as poverty, overcrowding, and natural disasters that prompted them to leave their beloved home of Italy, Italian immigrants also looked at America with a glimmer of hope, for America held the promise of equality and a way of being able to support their families and loved ones. Continue reading
Authored by Darya Betin
Front page of a public opinion brochure on immigration created by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (F.A.I.R.)
The Arthur P. Endres Collection, owned by the Center for Migration Studies in New York City, showcases a large body of documents from Endres’ time as Counsel to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and International Law from 1973 to 1989. Immigration policy was and continues to be one of the most divisive issues in our nation’s history. As Karen Tumulty noted in a Washington Post article on February 3, 2013, millions of people, many of whom are illegal immigrants and who have lived in the United States for years, seek to be heard and to have their status legalized as a recognition of the service they have provided to this country. By the very definition of their status, these individuals are disenfranchised and depend on lawmakers to plead their cases. The other side of the debate argues against their presence or any possibility of legalizing their status. Both sides attempt to convince the government of the justness of their cause by relying on the power of accurate and relevant information and data. Continue reading