Mt. Carmel St. Cristina Society

The Plight of Italian Immigrants

Did you know...

That millions of Italians who immigrated to the United States had no idea how wide the Atlantic was? When they left their villages, they were not just hungry, they were brave. They made their way to seaports like Naples and Genova by walking or by horse-drawn cart; and for those who could afford it, took the train. Everyone, even the children, carried something. The fare was between $15.00 and $25.00, and the shipping companies were responsible for pre-boarding examination but few of them performed these examinations. As a result, many immigrants were rejected in the United States and sent back to Italy.

But in 1891, thanks to the diligence of Fiorello H. LaGuardio, who was then a young American Consul in Europe, he insisted that the Italian steamship perform their duties carefully, thereby avoiding disappointment many immigrants felt when they were rejected in America. Fiorello LaGuardio was also the Mayor of New York City.