USCIS Premieres Video Highlighting its Historic Connections to Ellis Island

Video: USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island

WASHINGTON—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) today released a new documentary video, USCIS and the Legacy of Ellis Island, following an internal premiere for the agency’s employees. From 1892 to 1954, the federal immigration service and its employees processed over twelve million immigrants at the Ellis Island Immigration Station in New York Harbor. 

The video, created by USCIS, tells the story of Ellis Island from the perspective of those who worked there, highlighting the historical connections between our agency’s mission to administer lawful immigration to the U.S. and this iconic port of entry in New York.

“USCIS holds a distinctive place in history for its role in processing immigrants into the fabric of our nation,” USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said to employees at the premiere. “It remains an undisputable fact that America is a nation of immigrants. As employees, we all have an essential duty in honoring and preserving that legacy.”

The video consists of three chronological thematic chapters: 

Chapter One: Creating Ellis Island: Introduces the audience to the origins of the federal Immigration Service, Ellis Island, and its role in our agency’s early history.

Chapter Two: Working on the Island: Explores the often overlooked roles of Ellis Island’s employees and their importance to the operation of the nation’s busiest immigration station.

Chapter Three: Remembering Ellis Island: examines the closing of Ellis Island, discusses its historical legacy, and emphasizes its lasting connection to USCIS.

The result of extensive historical research, USCIS produced the video with the support of the National Park Service, who provided access to Ellis Island’s historic collections and enabled filming on-location at Ellis Island.

Watch the video on the USCIS YouTube channel.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit or follow us on Twitter (@uscis) and Facebook (/uscis).

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