Third, and Last Trip to the National Archives

Sean Thomas

On Friday November 15, we took our last class visit to the National Archives. Sadly however, even though we were the most prepared for this trip, it turned out to be the least productive. However, I was able to find four case files that are useful to our group, though three of them were rather plain, and contained no real information we hadn’t gotten from previous files. One file that was given to me, however, was on Dr. Issac Rivera, a Mexican citizen who wished to temporarily enter the United States to get supplies for his doctor’s office in Mexico, and to have a tonsillitis operation for his son. Dr. Rivera was a seemingly well-educated ed man, which makes it interesting that El Paso rejected his request for a temporary admittance. He was listed as likely to become an LPC, though he didn’t state an intention to stay in the US.[1] However, the United States government did not always deny the requests of non-American to enter the US temporarily in order to seek medical treatment. This was often the case for immigrants who worked on American owned ships. If a sailor was sick or injured while on the ship they worked on was docked at an American port, they would be allowed to receive treatment at American hospitals.[2] One example of someone allowed into the US for treatment through El Paso was Wong-Fook Gem, a Chinese man who had contracted syphilis. In his case, he was granted entry into the United States in order to receive medical treatment for his syphilis, though he was given an escort the entire time.[3] What we can see from these files is that immigration services had no real protocol for these cases, and because of that, many of the decisions to allow entry or not for those seeking medical treatment was left to the individual inspectors. This is a major trend that can be seen all throughout our research. Because of a lack of regulation that covers certain cases, such as in instances where non-American citizens sought entry into the US to receive medical treatment, the responses by American immigration officials who are left with making the decisions, vary widely.  


[1] File 54,438-093, accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC)

[2] File 55,391-973, accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC)

[3] File 55,740-024, accession E9, Subject Correspondence, 1906-1932, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85 (National Archives, Washington, DC)

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