Take an I.N.S. Interrogation

YOU are appearing before the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Immigration and Naturalization Service (I.N.S.) as a young, 12-year old Chinese immigrant arriving at Angel Island Immigration Station. Under the provisions of the Chinese Exclusion Act, your merchant father qualifies as one of the exempt classifications of Chinese immigrants permitted to enter the country and bring members of his family. Seated before you are two I.N.S. Inspectors, a Chinese-speaking Interpreter (who hopefully speaks your particular dialect of Chinese), and a clerk/stenographer who meticulously takes notes of the first of possibly two or more interrogations you will be taking.

Some phrases in this sample I.N.S. interrogation have been changed to update the language to present terms. See if you pass and are allowed to enter the United States as a person of Chinese ancestry during the Chinese Exclusion era, or whether you fail and are deported back to China!

What's your name?

What's your password?

What is your father's occupation?

When was the last time your father was at home to visit?

Did the family have a meal for your father's visit?

If so, at what time did this occur?

What was served at the meal?

Select One

Did your father bring you gifts?

If so, what did he bring?

If your father gave you money, how much did he give you?

Does your father have a considerable number of teeth missing?
Don't Know

Is your father more or less grey haired than your mother?

What side of the bed does your father sleep on when he is home?

How many children has your father and mother?

Describe these people (i.e.give the names, ages and birthdays of all the sons and/or daughters).

How large is your neighborhood (i.e. number of streets and houses)?

Is there a school in your neighborhood?

If so, how long of a walk is it from your house?

What number block is your street to the nearest main road?
and what number house on that block do you live in?

How many houses are there on your side of the block?

Is it a one-story or two-story house?

If it is a two-story house, how many steps is it from one level of the house to the other?

Is there a clock in your house? Yes

If so, what kind, and where is it?

How many windows are there on the west side of that house?

What is the difference in appearance between the front and back doors of that house?

How many steps is it from the street to the front door of your house?

Who lives in the house on the left side of your house (i.e. name the people, sex and age of children, their occupations)?

What kind of pets (i.e. animals) do they have in their house?

If so, how many pets (i.e. animals) do they have in their house?

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