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Statutes of Liberty: The virtues of the immigration racket part 2 — The old way at Ellis Island

This sponsored column is by Law Office of James Montana PLLC. All questions about it should be directed to James Montana, Esq., Doran Shemin, Esq., and Laura Lorenzo, Esq., practicing attorneys at The Law Office of James Montana PLLC, an immigration-focused law firm located in Arlington, Virginia. The legal information given here is general in nature. If you want legal advice, contact us for an appointment.

Note: In this Guest Essay, our anonymous friend, Prof. Erasmus, explains his rather unusual thoughts about U.S. asylum law, which — of course — we do not endorse or even pretend to understand. If you like Prof. Erasmus’s work, stay tuned, because he intends to make this a regular feature. We’ll see if he intends to pay our advertising bill.

Guess who’s back, back again/Razzy’s back, tell a friend

I, Professor Erasmus, am here to further educate you on how American immigration law works. Remember the rule: We do not judge law by what it purports to do, but by what it actually does.

Today, I would like to remind you about the Old Way that the United States used to do immigration — what I will call the Ellis Island system. The rules at Ellis Island, circa 1910, were simple and clear:

  • No passport or visa was required. Immigration officers checked your name against the ship’s manifest to determine whether your identity could be verified. Fraud was frequent.
  • A government doctor would examine you to determine physical and mental fitness. About ten percent of people were held for further examination — heart trouble, mental instability and inability to do physical labor were all reasons for detention. (Think little Vito Andolini from The Godfather Part II.)
  • Brief questioning from officials, aimed at determining whether you were a dangerous anarchist, led to a tiny fraction of migrants being detained and then deported.

98% of applicants for admission made it in. 98%!

Upon admission, immigrants received no paperwork of any kind — no summons demanding a court appearance, no green card, no work permit, no identification. Do you think that the Ellis Island system differs from our current system? It does not. If you think it does, you’re a fool, a lawyer, or quite possibly both.

In my next essay, I will explain to you how our current immigration system is, in fact, just like Ellis Island in every particular. Every border crossing station is a miniature Ellis Island. Lawyers, judges and bureaucrats pretend otherwise; let them pretend. Here, we tell the truth.

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