Blog Post II

This week while researching I discovered a file regarding a South Asian who INS was attempting to deport. The immigrant, named Harry Singh who landed in Philadelphia, PA,  on the 31st of January, 1923. Harry Singh’s case is interesting because upon landing he was taken to the hospital for “chronic suppurtive ottis media and chronic mastoiditis of the left ear, associated with severe pain in the head suggestive of intracranial complications.” The file regarding H. Singh, therefore, contains a series of letters back and forth between the INS office and H. Singh’s doctor, J. Clarence Keeler. The letters also concerned a bond to be furnished to ensure that H. Singh will not attempt to flee after leaving the hospital. Frustratingly, the file lacks anything other than the letters between the INS office and the doctor so it is difficult to tell if there was an appeal on the behalf of H. Singh for him to remain after he had recovered or any other result. The file does end with a document certifying that H. Singh has left the U.S.A. but there are no other documents regarding the case between when the doctor appealed for him to remain for treatment and recovery and when he left. Because there are no court recordings or other records of H. Singh’s arrival it is difficult to tell if he came to the U.S.A. seeking treatment, if he had been injured as a sailor and only wished to stay until he had healed, or if the entire ‘injury’ was a fabrication to allow him to sneak into the U.S.A. with the help of Dr. Keeler. There is also no record of who paid for H. Singh’s bonds, whether it be a kind benefactor, H. Singh himself, or a shipping company. Interestingly, this case occurs just a year before the National Origins Act is signed. The timeframe here is interesting because would H. Singh have arrived just a year later he might not even have been able to obtain medical attention from a landside doctor. Key here is also the port of entry; H. Singh did not enter one of the larger ports for immigrants, such as Angel Island or Ellis Island, hinting that perhaps he was not truly an immigrant but just happened to have to come ashore. In all, this file raises more questions than answers but provides an interesting look at the transitory nature of some of the South Asian immigrants/visitors to the U.S.A..

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