The early part of 1950 was a trying time for immigrants looking for a better future in the US. Immigrants had to wait for an excruciatingly long time because of America’s politics, which was at loggerheads over the immigration reform. Ellis Island, in the Upper New York Bay, was the home of the immigrants fleeing a war torn Europe. LIFE magazine sent Alfred Eisenstaedt to document the anxiety of the immigrants at Ellis Island, whose descendants now form a third of the country’s population. This serves as a telling reminder of how painful it is for an immigrant; just look at Syria and the countless North African nations.
Antonio Magnani, his children and a fat briefcase holding his entry papers.
Immigrants at Ellis Island, 1950.
Twenty-four-year-old Schulim Pewzner, a rabbinical student from Warsaw, Poland, at Ellis Island, 1950.
Ellis Island, 1950.
Rachel and Schulim Pewzner, from Warsaw, Poland, interviewed at Ellis Island, 1950.
Maria Nadalin of Italy, seated at left of the table, is worked on by an inspector-stenographer-interpreter team …
Exhausted parents in recreation hall try to keep their child amused and quiet
In women’s dormitory, separated from husbands, wives sit silently on their beds.
Tired child and the dining-hall table.
Boarding a ferry at Ellis Island, 1950.
Rachel Pewzner, 20, and her 24-year-old husband, Schulim, at Ellis Island, 1950.
On a ferry in New York Harbor, looking at lower Manhattan, 1950.
Credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images