Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

From 1910 to 1940, Angel Island was the site of an US Immigration Station that functioned as the West Coast equivalent of Ellis Island, although the Angel Island facility also enforced policies designed to exclude many Pacific Coast immigrants coming from eighty countries.

In 1970, the site was slated for demolition because of its deteriorated condition; but the discovery of Chinese poetry that had been carved into the walls of the detention barracks saved it from destruction and led to renewed interest in the Angel Island Immigration Station. Most importantly, the discovery of poetry increased awareness of the need to access the vivid lessons of sacrifice and triumph in the history of immigration.

Sparked by the discovery, Paul Chow, a civil engineer with the California Department of Transportation, formed the Angel Island Immigration Station Historical Advisory Committee (AIISHAC) to save the site and its poetry, recover the history of Chinese detainees, and lobby for state support. In July 1976, AIISHAC’s hard work came to fruition as the state legislature appropriated $250,000 to restore the Immigration Station as a state monument.

The barracks opened to the public in 1983, and members of AIISHAC created the Immigration Station Foundation to continue preservation and educational efforts for the site, and to increase awareness of the contributions Pacific Coast immigrants make.


For all immigrants, descendants, and families, Angel Island is a living landmark that symbolizes diverse experiences of detention, racism, exclusion, hope, and determination. The Foundation protects the historic site, elevates its stories, promotes learning, and celebrates the new beginnings and immigrant contributions that define the strength of the US. We inspire a more equitable and inclusive future; one that embodies how immigrants make nations better.


AIISF is committed to a future in which all persons across the US understand the history of immigration through Angel Island; leverage this knowledge by treating immigrants with increased respect and empathy; and are committed to increasing equity, justice, and belonging for all communities.


AIISF creates community, belonging, and inclusion in our workplace, events, programs, and exhibits. We ensure that our interactions are grounded in integrity, respect, and collaboration. We promote learning – particularly about the nation’s complex history of racism and exclusion – while also celebrating the strength, resiliencies, and contributions that immigrants have made and continue to make to the US.

To arrange for a tour, visit or contact

Also, visit our Immigrant Voices online resource that fosters knowledge, builds community, and provides content and texture to America’s immigration story. Partner with AIISF for an Immigrant Voices Storyshare Workshop to unlock the power of your community’s stories. Storyshare workshops provide guidance and coaching to help participants craft their immigration stories into entertaining and impactful short narratives that can be shared with friends and family and preserved for future generations. If you or your community organization is interested in cohosting a free Storyshare event, please email for more information.

Service Area
Bay Area
San Francisco
Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation office:

870 Market Street, Suite 901
San Francisco, CA 94102
Contact Person
Danielle Wetmore, Program Manager
Alameda County Seal