- from Ellis Island
By the time Ellis Island opened in 1892, the United States government had definite ideas about who was not welcome to stay. The Immigration Act of 1891 excluded many people.
These included the mentally disabled and those with a “loathsome or contagious disease.” It also meant anyone who had been convicted of a crime that involved morals, and anyone who might become financially dependent on the government. A 1903 law kept out anarchists (people who want to do away with all government). A 1917 law banned those who could not read in their own language or in English. Ellis Island inspectors had to weed out the immigrants who fell into these categories. Still, only 2 percent of those who landed on Ellis Island were turned away.