Rosaria's Pre-Examination Document

Relationship: Im/migrant
In the 1930s and 1940s, the Labor Department, under the guidance of Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, worked to create procedures to "legalize the status of certain illegal immigrants." This "pre-examination" procedure was two-fold and involved the secretary giving the illegal alien a waiver from deportation, and then having him or her leave for Canada and then reenter as a legal permanent resident.

Rosaria Baldizzi arrived in New York City, reuniting with her husband Adolfo, on April 13, 1925. Rosaria and Adolfo and their two children, Josephine and Johnny, move into 97 Orchard St in 1928.

Shortly after the Museum began in 1988, the Museum began running newspaper ads in hopes of connecting with former residents. Josephine was in her 60’s when she returned to 97 Orchard and she contributed hours of oral history. According to Josephine, her mother “came here illegally” after which she and Adolfo traveled to Canada to officially re-enter the United States.

At the time, the Museum had no primary source to support this story, but in 2016 a museum educator found a document from the US Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service was recently digitized and posted to an on-line archive. This document states that on July 4th 1945, Rosaria re-entered America through Rouses Point from Montreal Quebec, Canada. She was able to do so as a part of special immigration provision known as “pre-examination” designed to offer amnesty to mainly European undocumented immigrants that arrived after 1921, established families and lived in America for seven years. Between 1935 and 1958 approximately 58,000 applications for pre-examination were processed, and almost all were accepted.

Place(s): Sicily, The Lower East Side, New York City
Year: 1945

– The Tenement Museum

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant