Ellis Island National Monument

Ellis Island National Monument

At A Glance

"Our growth as a nation has been achieved, in large measure, through the genius and industry of immigrants of every race and from every quarter of the world. The story of their pursuit of happiness is the saga of America. Their brains and their brawn helped to settle our land, to advance our agriculture, to build our industries, to develop our commerce, to produce new inventions and, in general, to make us the leading nation that we now are." 

— Commission on Immigration and Naturalization, 1953


Basking in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, the newly established Ellis Island Immigration Station answered "the lady's" plea to "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" when it officially opened its doors to the world on Friday, January 1, 1892. 

Perhaps it was fitting that a 15-year-old Irish girl named Annie Moore was the first to be questioned in the immigration station's second-floor Registry Room because America, like Annie, was in its adolescence. 

The story of Ellis Island is the chronicle of the more than 12 million immigrants who passed through its doors from 1892 until 1954. They are individual stories of unrelenting hardship, fear of the unknown and the pain of separation. It is also the story of immigrants' faith and courageous dedication in their pursuit of happiness: This is the saga of America.