6. Deported Immigrants Were Sent Back at the Steamship’s Expense
Not everybody passed inspections at Ellis Island, health related or otherwise. In fact, two percent of the passengers were deported. There were many reasons that this could happen. Immigrants that would likely become a burden to the state— such as individuals who were deemed outright feebleminded or lacked physical agility— often were denied entry. There were also those with low moral character that were rejected; immigrants with criminal backgrounds, for example.
The steamships were largely responsible for the unfortunate passengers who were forced to make the transatlantic journey back to their homeland. That is, they had to pay for the passenger’s return trip as well as any expenses incurred while on Ellis Island including their food and sleeping arrangements. The steamships did have extensive screening before passengers left for Ellis Island. However, there were always some that slipped through the cracks.
Keep reading for more surprising facts, and grab your tickets for an upcoming Behind-the-Scenes Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital!