This is the wave that most of us think about when we think of immigration, just before the turn of the century. The people coming over from Europe, "huddled masses, yearning to breathe free". And my family were indeed "wretched refuse" from Southern Italy, a place of grinding poverty. I don't have the exact records of when my grandfather Lorenzo Scinto arrived here as a child, or whether he went through Ellis Island, but I like to imagine that he was excited to see The Statue of Liberty.
From "wretched refuse" of Italy he became an engineer, and a well-respected and successful man. My family sought a new life in America, and found it.