Angel Island is often called the "Ellis Island of the West." It is an historic site because it now commemorates the lesser-known side of American immigration history than its Eastern counterpart: the hardship that Chinese newcomers faced at the hands of immigration officials enforcing race-based laws.
Although it was billed as the "Ellis Island of the West", within the Immigration Service it was known as "The Guardian of the Western Gate" and was designed control the flow of Chinese into the country, who were officially not welcome with the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
This facility was primarily a detention center. Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, a series of restrictive laws had prohibited the immigration of certain nationalities and social classes of Asians. Although all Asians were affected, the greatest impact was on the Chinese.
In 1940, the government decided to abandon the Immigration Station on Angel Island. Their decision was hastened by a fire that destroyed the administration building in August of that year. On November 5, the last group of about 200 aliens (including about 150 Chinese) was transferred from Angel Island to temporary quarters in San Francisco. The so-called "Chinese Exclusion Acts", which were adopted in the early 1880s, were repealed by federal action in 1943, because by that time, China was an ally of the U.S. in World War II.
Angel Island reopened four months ago after a $15 million facelift. Now the state government has proposed closing the facility once again due to budget pressures. Angel Island's operational costs — a $900,000 yearly allocation, largely made up by annual revenues of about $725,000 — are just one line in a budget the governor wants to see by June 15.
You can read more in an Associated Press article by Juliana Barbassa at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hUHrvTVD34SKwAYlDBk7WXIm8RKAD98LBPG02.