Professor Moon’s 449 class took our first trip to the National Archives in Washington D.C., Friday September 27, 2019. I did not know what to expect exactly while on the drive up there, but I wasn’t disappointed when we got into the research room. It got a bit stressful when I received my first box of records. There was just a medium sized box filled with papers that were over 100 years old on real people sitting in front of me on a desk. Honestly I did not know what to expect with the contents in these files. When I got comfortable on what I was looking for and how to quickly figure out which records I had use for and those I didn’t, I got the hand of things pretty quick.
At first going to the Archives seemed fun; just looking at pieces of paper with peoples lives on them. Once I started looking through them and looking at the dates on those records, the little history nerd in me got really excited because those papers were old. Some records had handwritten letters from the immigrant in question, there were little doctors slips from when they were inspected and told exactly what the medical problem was of each person, and I even found building and street layouts in one file when there were plans to make the Public Health, Immigration, and Customs all in one stop in El Paso. One example is of Dr. Isaac Rivera and his family. He was a doctor from Mexico who wanted to enter the States to buy things for his store back home and to have a surgery performed on his son. They were denied access because his store was affiliated to Germans, pro-Germans, and Anti-Americans. He hand wrote a four-page letter expressing his expulsion of the United States.
Commissioner General, New York, N.Y., to Inspector at El Paso, Texas., 1919, File 54671/7, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC).