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From the descriptions of exhibits given, psychiatric patients receive little attention as well, even though a specific hospital facility was built to house them.38 And most glaringly absent from the story presented in the museum is the deportation center phase, half the lifetime Ellis Island saw in immigration service. As a visible and physical witness to changing U.S. immigration policy and public attitudes, the museum should acknowledge the island's role in directing the flow of immigrants in both directions over the Atlantic. If the museum directors and curators are willing to display an exhibit on America's adverse reactions to immigrants, they should certainly be willing to offer a complete history of the island and of U.S. immigration policies to visitors.

Ellis Island's symbolism over the years can be seen through a number of diametrically opposed relationships. One of them is the conflict between immigrants and officials working on the island. Many officials probably saw their jobs as part of a bureaucratic routine and a necessary step in the process of being admitted into America. The immigrants, however, had a much more personal reaction to the process, finding the experience both hope-inspiring and sadness-provoking. Two other antagonists in the argument about its meaning have been those who used the island and those who funded the island. After the great need for large facilities passed with the signing of the First and Second Quota Laws and the McCarren-Walter Act, officials on the island had to struggle with Congress to find enough money to fix buildings and implement programs to make detained immigrants' stays more comfortable. The public and Congress have had their share of run-ins, as well, witnessed by the GSA's repeated attempts to sell Ellis Island for commercial development despite huge outpourings of public sentiments to the contrary. Even the public has been divided over the course of the 20th century. At the beginning of the century, Americans saw Ellis Island as the source of many evils entering


38. See Bodnar, "Rembering the Immigrant"; Smith, "Celebrating Immigration History at Ellis Island"; Wallace "Exhibition Review."
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