America is the world’s great experiment in freedom and individual rights, and unlike any other nation on planet, it was founded and built entirely by immigrants. Americans are citizens either by birth or by choice, abiding under a common flag and constitution, united by its legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity.

It is easy to forget that as a nation of immigrants, we are the sum of every idea and dream that ever stepped ashore with an immigrant seeking new opportunities in the United States. Most of those ideas and dreams passed through Ellis Island, America’s first federal immigration center.

Before 1890, the 42 individual states then comprising the United States of America regulated the flow of immigration into the United States. Europeans began fleeing political instability, restrictive religious laws, and deteriorating economic conditions in record numbers, leading to massive numbers of immigrants arriving on American shores by 1890. To ease the burden on individual states the federal government took over responsibility for processing immigrant arrivals.

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Ellis Island in New York Harbor opened in 1892 as an immigrant station, becoming the primary port of entry for most immigration into the U.S. after 1890. Immigrants also entered the U.S. through other port cities, including Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Savannah, Miami, and New Orleans. Ellis Island was the busiest because New York was the preferred port of entry for most ships arriving in America.

From opening day on January 1, 1890, until the day Ellis Island closed in November 1954, over 12 million immigrants passed through the Ellis Island immigration station, along with hopes and dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. Most of those Ellis Island immigrants shared a common dream: of becoming an American citizen. In return for pledging allegiance and loyalty to the United States and its Constitution, immigrants who chose to become naturalized citizens were rewarded with all the rights and privileges afforded U.S. citizens, and the freedom to pursue “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

According to Source of photo: internet