- from Ellis Island
Most immigrants passed through Ellis Island in three to five hours. However, about one in five was held back for more inspection.
For them, Ellis Island became an island of tears. This made detainees and their families very nervous. The families had two choices. They could wait for the person being held back. Or they could leave and hope that person would be let in later. Some were held for medical reasons. Others had to see the Board of Special Inquiry. Still others were held because they seemed unable to make a living. They were the most likely to be deported (sent back home).