Featured Stories from the USCIS History Office and Library
- Public Charge Provisions of Immigration Law: A Brief Historical Background
Immigration policies barring the admission of aliens likely to become public charges predate federal immigration regulations and have been a part of U.S. immigration policy since the first general immigration law of 1882.
- Immigration Service Matrons: Female Pioneers in the Federal Workplace
Among the agency’s earliest female employees, Immigration Service matrons performed a variety of tasks at our nation’s immigration stations.
- USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island
The USCIS History Office’s new documentary film, “USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island” tells the story of the iconic Ellis Island immigration station from the perspective of the men and women who worked there. Watch it online now.
- Immigration and Naturalization Service Refugee Law and Policy Timeline, 1891-2003
This timeline traces the major events and policies that affected refugee admissions under the INS and its predecessor agencies, from 1891 to 2003.
- The McGettrick Certificates
A full text searchable copy of the “McGettrick Certificates” lists is now available online from the USCIS Historical Library. This rare document lists the names of over 1,000 Chinese migrants who, during the 1890s, entered the United States over the eastern Canadian border and received court-issued certificates verifying their claims of U.S. citizenship
- Immigration and Naturalization Services Records for 1930s Mexican Repatriations
Mexican-American family historians and other interested researchers occasionally contact the History Office in search of “Mexican Repatriation” records for individuals who left...
- I'm an American
I’M AN AMERICAN debuted on May 4, 1940, on NBC’s Radio Network with the goal of promoting patriotism and citizenship through interviews with newly naturalized Americans.
- Why Some C-Files May Lack a Declaration of Intention
USCIS Genealogy records requesters sometimes discover the Certificate File ("C-File") they received does not contain a Declaration of Intention record. The Declarations are not...
- Name Index to Bureau of Naturalization Correspondence
The “name” theme continues in the latest addition to the Research Guide, information about and...
- Edward Bing Kan: The First Chinese-American Naturalized after Repeal of Chinese Exclusion
On December 17, 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law an Act to Repeal the Chinese Exclusion Acts. This repeal law overturned previous laws that...
- Researching Deportation Records
The USCIS Genealogy mailbox regularly receives questions about locating historical deportation or exclusion records. The question usually follows...
- Quick Guide to finding INS Case and Correspondence Files Related to Specific Individuals
The vast collection of historical Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) subject, policy and correspondence files now stored as Entry 9 of Record Group 85 at the U.S. National Archives in Washington, D.C. includes...
- Why Request a USCIS C-File?
On January 20, 2013, a researcher sent the USCIS Genealogy Notebook a very important question...
- Bracero Program Images
The USCIS History Library holds several photographs of the Mexican Agricultural Labor Program, commonly called the “Bracero Program,” dating from 1951-1964... Read More
- Highlights from the Library Collection: Immigration Commission Reports
Shortly after the creation of the federal Immigration Service in 1891 Congress authorized an immigration commission to investigate the workings of U.S. immigration...
- Highlights from the Library Collection
New Year in America, painting by Lois Johnson shows children in Hmong costumes. Lois Johnson's original oil painting...
- USCIS and its names
Currently the library is working with historians to create a historical perspective of DHS's first ten years...
- History of the Certificate of Naturalization (1906-1956)
The Certificate of Naturalization is perhaps the most important of the three naturalization records usually found in U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services’ (USCIS) historic...
- History of the Declaration of Intention (1795-1956)
The declaration of intention is an American invention and unique aspect of our nation's naturalization history...
- World War I
April 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I. To commemorate the centennial, the USCIS History Office and Library is highlighting the history of immigration and naturalization during the war.
- Ludovicus Maria Matheus Van Iersel: An Immigrant Hero of World War I and World War II
One of these men, Ludovicus Matheus Van Iersel, volunteered to serve again in the Second World War. This is his story...
- Naturalized World War I Soldier Frank Capra
After the United States entered the First World War, Congress passed the Naturalization Act of May 9, 1918.
- Profiles in World War I Immigration History: Fiorello La Guardia
Congressman and New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947) remains perhaps the Immigration Service’s most well-known former employee.
- The 1918 Influenza Epidemic and the Bureaus of Immigration and Naturalization
In 1918, while World War I (WWI) raged overseas, Americans on the home front fought their own battle against an uncontrollable strain of influenza.
- “Proceed Instantly:” the Bureau of Immigration and the U.S.’s First Act of World War I
It’s a little-known fact that the Bureau of Immigration played a key role in the U.S.’s first act of World War I.