National Archives: Round 2

The second trip to the National Archives proved to be more successful than our first. Our group was able to prioritize our files better. This organization led to wonderful discoveries about the medical experiences of immigrants entering through El Paso’s immigration station. I learned that El Paso’s immigration station counted 5,000 individuals crossing the border daily. It stated 3,000 inspections occurred daily. [1] El Paso was unable to handle this massive number of immigrants entering through their ports and required more individuals. Of these immigrants inspected, I only found one Chinese man allowed to enter the United States through El Paso. Wong Fook Gem entered the United States with Syphilis on the assumption he conducted all his business with an escort.[2]  Wong is the first individual of Chinese descent that I found could enter through El Paso with a medical condition that was excludable.

I found information on two hospitals that treated sick or diseased immigrants. These two hospitals treated immigrants differently. The Calexico hospital was only allowed to treat patients during normal business hours. This hospital was also required to pay bonds to treat aliens or immigrants.[3] The El Centro hospital did not have to follow the same requirements.  Many Mexican aliens deported through El Paso got deported for contracting excludable diseases, making them persons likely to become a public charge (LPC). I found multiple individuals who seemed to get injured or went insane, resulting in deportation due to their injuries making them an LPC status. This trip has provided me with clues as to the uses of Medical Examinations and the ability of medical examiners to deport those who got through immigration with medical conditions and got deported afterward.


[1] File 55608-593, accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC)

[2] File 55,740-196, accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC)

[3] File 55608-458 accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC)

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