Facts about Ellis Island appropriate for children include that Ellis Island opened in 1892, and that experts believe that 40 percent of Americans can trace at least one relative to Ellis Island. In its heyday, Ellis Island processed between 5,000 and 10,000 immigrants a day.
Each immigrant who arrived at Ellis Island had to pass a medical and legal screening before passing into the United States. Up to 80 percent of the immigrants arriving at Ellis Island accomplished these screenings and other tasks within a few hours. In a minority of cases, immigrants were detained on Ellis Island for days and sometimes weeks. Ellis Island processed the majority of immigrants it saw between 1900 and 1914.
The Immigrant Quota Act of 1921 and the National Origins Act of 1924 significantly slowed the number of immigrants to Ellis Island. Between 1925 and 1954, Ellis Island processed 2.3 million immigrants. During its service, the immigration services at Ellis Island processed more than 12 million foreigners.
The first three people to arrive at Ellis Island were siblings who were not accompanied by a parent or other adult. Today, a statue of the three Moore children stands on the island. During World War I and World War II, Ellis Island served as a detention center. In 1976, Ellis Island opened as a museum and tourist destination. This marked the first time the site was open to the public.