Immigration officials are conducting a naturalization ceremony in San Francisco this morning for 100 new American citizens as part of a 100th anniversary celebration of the opening of the U.S. immigration station on Angel Island.
The ceremony, taking place at the Herbst Theater, is celebrating the country’s path “from exclusion to inclusion” since immigrants started arriving at Angel Island a century ago, said Eddie Wong, the executive director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation.
The station handled more than a million immigrants between its opening on Jan. 21, 1910, and its closure after a fire in 1940.
After being rebuilt and used as a prisoner-of-war processing center during World War II, the Angel Island station was abandoned until 1963, when the island was established as a state park and state officials took over as stewards of the site.
Wong said the station has a darker history than Ellis Island, its counterpart in New York, because of an exclusionary law that banned Chinese immigrants from becoming citizens.
The Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed in 1943, but immigration from China was limited to only 105 people per year until 1965.
Immigrants from 44 countries are taking part in the naturalization ceremony today, Wong said.
Wong and several other federal, state and local officials are scheduled to attend the ceremony, which takes place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Herbst Theater at 401 Van Ness Ave.