An article by Brian Donohue, recently re-published in the NJ.com web site, will interest many genealogists, especially in light of the political issues in the Presidential campaigns that are receiving a lot of publicity lately. Donahue points out that a high percentage of America’s immigrants have arrived illegally for the past 150 years or more. Most of them stayed, raised families, and the immigrants and their descendants have contributed greatly to America’s industrial might, military strength, culture, and more.
“The images burned into our brains of previous immigration waves come largely from newsreels and photos of immigrants disembarking at Ellis Island, one at a time, orderly, legally.
“There’s one problem with the argument. It’s utter hogwash.”
Donohue also points out that the immigrants of yesteryear did “exactly what today’s Mexicans, Chinese and Guatemalans are doing by the millions — get to the United States so they can feed their families, and worry about getting papers later.” He follows that up with several stories and also refers to newspaper articles written in the 1920s that described the problem. He also focuses on the millions of immigrants who did not come through Ellis Island. Instead, many (including about 50% of my ancestors) arrived overland by first going to Canada, then crossing the border into the U.S. where evading immigration officials was much easier than it was at Ellis Island.
You can read Brian Donohue’s article at http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/11/think_your_immigrant_ancestors_came_legally_think.html.