Between 1880 and 1919 more than 23 million people emigrated to the United States and 17 million of them entered through New York City.
Immigrants regarded America as a land of economic opportunities, as well as a place for religious and political freedom, which in some European countries was restricted to Catholicism.
Between 1855 to 1880, the largest numbers of immigrants in the United Stated were from Ireland and Germany. Most of them were escaping poverty, as European countries suffered from economic hardship.
There are two places in New York City that play an important role in the history of immigration. Castle Garden, opened in 1855, was America’s first immigration center. Ellis Island, established in 1892, was the busiest immigrant inspection station for over 60 years, from 1893 until 1954. It now functions as a museum.