Frank P. Sargent
Frank P. Sargent was born in East Orange, Vermont in 1854. Before heading the Immigration Bureau, Sargent served in the U.S. Army, worked for the railroads, and eventually became a prominent labor leader as head of the International Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen.
Appointed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1902, Sargent led the Immigration Service during an era of rapidly increasing immigration (for example, in 1905 more than 1 million immigrants entered the U.S. in a single year for the first time). The sheer number of immigrants coming into the country, as well as a shift in the sources of immigration from northern and western Europe to southern and eastern Europe concerned Sargent. He advocated programs to distribute immigrants away from “alien colonies” in large Eastern cities and into the Midwest and other less populated areas of the nation. Sargent died in 1908 while still serving as Commissioner General.