Re: "His name was changed at Ellis Island" #names


The grounds for returning an immigrant to Europe were first specified in the Immigration Act of 1882, and then refined in subsequent legislation.  All of the grounds listed impose a cost of some sort on the existing population, particularly the voting public.  Being listed incorrectly imposes no cost on the pre-existing population, and thus never became one of the grounds for being sent back.  Between 1903 and 1917, stow-aways appeared before Special Boards of Inquiry, and if it was determined that they didn't fall into one of the excludable categories, could be admitted. Section 3 of the Immigration Act of 1917 includes procedures for admitting stow-aways, people who weren't on the manifest at all. 
After studying these issues, I concluded that some immigrants may have feared that what Mashiach wrote was true, that they would be sent back if they told the inspector that their name wasn't what appeared on the manifest.  That wasn't the case, but this fear accounts for perceiving that they had to use the name appearing in the manifest, and this is the basis for the name-change-at -Ellis-Island narratives.

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