[United States Statutes at Large, Volume 124, 111th Congress, 2nd Session]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

 
PROCLAMATION 8475--JAN. 20, 2010

Proclamation 8475 of January 20, 2010
National Angel Island Day, 2010
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

One hundred years ago, the Angel Island Immigration Station in San
Francisco Bay opened for the first time, and an important chapter of the
American narrative began. It would be written by those who walked
through the station's doors over the next three decades. From the
cities, villages, and farms of their birth, they journeyed across the
Pacific, seeking better lives for themselves and their children. Many
arrived at Angel Island, weary but hopeful, only to be unjustly confined
for months or, in some cases, years. As we remember their struggle, we
honor all who have been drawn to America by dreams of limitless
opportunity.
Unlike immigrants who marveled at the Statue of Liberty upon arrival at
Ellis Island, those who came to Angel Island were greeted by an intake
facility that was sometimes called the ``Guardian of the Western Gate.''
Racially prejudiced immigration laws of the time subjected many to
rigorous exams and interrogations, as well as detention in crowded,
unsanitary barracks. Some expressed themselves by carving poetry and
inscriptions into the walls in their native language--from Chinese,
Japanese, and Korean to Russian, German, and Urdu. These etchings remain
on Angel Island today as poignant reminders of the immigrant experience
and an unjust time in our history.
If there is any vindication for the Angel Island immigrants who endured
so many hardships, it is the success achieved by those who were allowed
entry, and the many who, at long last, gained citizenship. They have
contributed immeasurably to our Nation as leaders in every sector of
American life. The children of Angel Island have seized the
opportunities their ancestors saw from across an ocean. By demonstrating
that all things are possible in America, this vibrant community has
created a beacon of hope for future generations of immigrants.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of
America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and
the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January

[[Page 4588]]

21, 2010, as National Angel Island Day. I call upon the people of the
United States to learn more about the history of Angel Island and to
observe this anniversary with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of
January, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the
Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-
fourth.