Archival Research 3 Erin Andrewlevich
One of the first files I looked through was file 55,245-252 on Lee Kwock Koon. This was the youngest case file so far, being 4 or 5 years old. This case was interesting because his file was individual even though he was travelling with his mother, Chang Shee. Many of the other files I have read about young children were paired together if they were siblings. Lee Kwock Koon and his mother were trying to gain entry through his stepfather, Lee Hong, who was a native born Chinese American. The medical examiner diagnosed Lee with “infancy class B” meaning that he needed to be in the care of a guardian, presumably his mother, in the case of either deportation or entry. He was denied entry because even though the status of his stepfather’s citizenship and the relationship between his parents was not contested, it was decided that there was no reason under the Chinese Exclusion Act for Lee to be granted entry. The case was reopened with further witness testimony, but the same decision was reached, and Lee Kwock Koon and his mother were deported to China.
Another file I read was file 55,245-288 on siblings Fong You Fook, Fong You Mon, and Fong You Ton. These three, all in their early teens tried to gain entry to the United States through their merchant father living in America. They were deported on the grounds of discrepancies between the interrogations of the children. The case of the youngest child was reopened because there was believed to be a resemblance between him and his alleged father. He was still ultimately excluded and deported back to China along with his siblings.
The file of Moi Dick Hong, file 55,245-570 shows the intensity of the interrogation process at Angel Island. Moi Dick Hong is a typical case, a 16 year old trying to gain status from his merchant father living in the United States. He was excluded for discrepancies between his testimony and the testimony of his alleged father. These discrepancies were about the material of the floor from the house in China that they were asked about. It just seemed so crazy to me that this was their reasoning for not believing the relationship was because of small details. It just seems they were looking for any reasons to exclude Chinese people.
After 3 days of researching in the archives the overall I have read many, many similar cases. Almost all of them were cases of Chinese people between the age ranges of child to young adult, trying to gain access to the United States through an alleged family member who already had access to life in the United States around 1922 and 1923. Every single case I read was denied entry which I think is indicative of the intense exclusionary policies targeted towards this group of people.
Lee Kowck Koon. File 55245/252, accession E9, subject correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington D.C).
Fong You Fook, Fong You Mon, And Fong You Ton. File 55245/288, accession E9, subject correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington D.C).
Moi Dick Hong. File 55245/570, accession E9, subject correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington D.C).