The 'Gateway to America' opened 125 years ago today: Ellis Island marks anniversary of the day it began to welcome 12 MILLION immigrants hoping to start a new life

Jan 05, 2017 936

From a mother with her seven children to a man staring longingly at the New York skyline, haunting photos show the faces of some of the 12 million immigrants hoping to achieve the American dream. Men, women, and children are pictured, many with solemn faces after travelling thousands of miles in poor conditions and knowing that they could be turned away at the border.

These fascinating photos show the harsh reality that immigrants faced awaiting the screening process to enter the country in the early 20th century. For 125 years the island has existed in the New York harbor, with the Statue of Liberty serving as a reminder of what was the country's main immigrant processing center until it closed in 1954.

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