President Coolidge signed the Johnson-Reed Act today, placing strict quotas on immigration based upon country of origin. The law goes into effect this coming Monday, May 26.”
Frank looked at his da, in a minor panic.
“I haven’t applied for immigration! I’ve got to go down to the docks and pick up a form. Right now! Come on with me, Da. I might need you to vouch for me.”
“Are ye sure, lad? Ah dinnae think thair be much problem.”
“Please, Da. Let’s go.”
“Aw right, then.” Da got up and grabbed his cap. “Bess, Frank an’ ah ur gang tae th’ ferry fer a bit.”
The two hopped on the trolley and went down to the docks at the foot of Joseph Campau. Immigration workers were there every day, as long as the ferries were running. Frank walked into the office ahead of his father. Quite a line had formed, and it took about twenty minutes to get up to the window.
“May I help you?”
“I’d like to apply for immigration.”
Frank pulled out his Ontario driver’s license and handed it over. “I think this has most of what you need.”
The clerk took the license, turned to a typewriter, and added Frank’s name to the log of persons applying to immigrate. He gave Frank back his license and an index-card application.
“Here. Fill this out. Bring it back Monday – we don’t take immigration applications on the weekend.”
“Thank you.” Frank turned to his father. “Thanks for coming with me. Hopefully, I will get in under the wire.”
The two hopped the trolley and headed back to Pitt Street.
Frank took the first ferry Monday morning, card in hand, and headed to the immigration office by the ferry docks on the Detroit side of the river. The office wasn’t yet open, but already there was a long line of waiting hopefuls.
An hour later, Frank was standing at the clerk’s window. He shoved the card across the smooth wooden surface to the clerk.
The clerk took it and read it carefully, front and back.
“You have no quota number?” The space on the back was empty.
“No, I don’t. But I came to apply Saturday. The law went into effect today, didn’t it?”
“At 12:01 AM.” The clerk took a stamp, inked it, and then forcefully stamped the word “DEBARRED” twice on the front and once on the back.
“I’m sorry, but your application is denied. Without a quota number, you are not eligible for entry.
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