Submit your Story
It probably didn’t occur to Henrika W. Loveriks that she would face such difficulty entering the U.S. for a temporary stay when she left her home in Java (then part of the Dutch East Indies; now part of Indonesia). Henrika had worked for Moses N. Galestin’s family as a nanny and housemaid for two and a half years. She was traveling with the Galestin family on their way to Holland, with a detour in the U.S., after Mr. Galestin retired from his post as the director of the West Java Handel Maatschappij firm for imports and exports.
When Henrika arrived in San Francisco via the ship Tenyo Maru on August 19, 1919, she was immediately transferred to the Angel Island Immigration Station for immigrant inspection. On August 20, a “Board of Special Inquiry (BSI)” convened at the Station to decide whether she could be allowed entry to the U.S. Henrika attested that she studied in a clinic under Dr. Mulden in Garoet, Java, but couldn’t produce the papers right away because they were sent to a hotel in California. Her employer Galestin attested that she had been employed in the clinic for three and a half years and promised to write up the papers for her if she couldn’t find the original papers. Galestin also promised that Henrika would not be left in the U.S. In fact, he planned to leave for Europe the following April. Upon the officers’ enquiry, Galestin further promised that he would supply the traveling fee if Henrika wished to return to her native country. Despite all those efforts to show that Henrika was a qualified employee and had no intention of immigrating to the U.S. at all, the BSI still denied her entrance: “It is the unanimous opinion of the Board that you be excluded, you coming within the provision of section 3 of the Immigration Act [of 1917], being a native of an excludable geographical area from which immigration is prohibited.” When informed that she had the right to appeal, Henrika immediately responded that she wished to appeal.
The Immigration Act of 1917 created the Asiatic Barred Zone, whose “native peoples” were barred from entering or immigrating. The act extended the exclusion formerly limited to the Chinese (by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882) to all Asians and Pacific Islanders from Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the west to the Polynesian Islands in the east. Therefore, regardless of whether Henrika had any intention to immigrate, she was barred from setting foot on U.S. territory.
Upon the board’s announcement that Henrika be excluded, her employer Galestin immediately added, “She is of Dutch descent—Her father is Dutch.” In fact, in the previous interrogation with Henrika, she already stated that she was half Dutch and of Dutch nationality. The immigration transcript stated, “Race, 1/2 Dutch and some mixture of Malay blood.” The officers asked for evidence from Galestin to prove Henrika’s nationality. Gelestin replied that “in the country she comes from she is regarded as Dutch” and that he had in the hotel her birth certificate showing her father to be Dutch. The officers, however, checked Henrika’s form 228 certified by the American Consul at Batavia, which showed “the race in this case to be Indian.” Galestin later waived his offer to produce evidence for Henrika’s Dutch descent and asked that the case be forwarded to the Immigration Bureau. At the end of the BSI report, the interrogation officers left a comment indicating their approval of the applicant: “the alien is evidently of the Malay race, appears intelligent and well-dressed, has good manners.”
Galestin decided to pay a liberty bond of $500 to secure Henrika’s release. Her temporary admission was authorized the next day by the Department of Labor. Galestin later requested an extension for Henrika’s bonded landing and they finally boarded the ship Roterdam at New York port and departed for Europe on July 21, 1920. The liberty bond was returned to Galestin before his departure.
The Bureau of Immigration, upon notice from the Angel Island Immigration Station, charged a fine on the Toyo Kisen Kaisha, owners of the ship Tenyo Maru, for bringing a “mandatorily excluded” alien to the country.
Upon research, a woman named Hendrika Wilhelmina Loveriks, born in Ambarawa, Java in 1882, died in Zwolle, the Netherlands, in 1972, when she was 87 years old. If you happen to know more about her life, please contact AIISF.
Philosophy major Qianyi Qin wrote this story while an extern during Yale University’s spring break in 2016.
 A form established July, 1917 and amended July, 1919 by the congress for the declaration of aliens about to depart for the United States.
File source: Henrika W. Loveriks, Case File 18431/1-6, National Archives and Records Administration San Francisco Center, San Bruno, CA.
Submit your Story