On January 1, 1892, after two years of construction, the U.S. Immigration Service opened Ellis Island in New York Harbor, a new facility for ‘processing’ immigrants. Formerly used as a munitions dump and landfill, Ellis Island was designed, its architects claimed, to handle more than 8,000 newcomers a day. Orderly lines funneled bewildered immigrants past doctors and officials who examined them for signs of disease. The physically and mentally ill were refused admittance, forcing thousands of families to make the difficult decision to return home with a relative refused entry or push on without them. A final brusque interview by an immigration official determined whether the newcomers had already been promised jobs. About 80 percent of those who entered Ellis Island received landing cards permitting them to board ferries for New York City. In the 1890s, 75 percent of all immigrants entered the United States through Ellis Island.