National Archives at San Francisco Opens Immigration Files and Dedicates Tom Lantos Research Center
Press Release · Thursday, May 17, 2012


Tom Mills, Chief Operating Officer, National Archives and Records Administration

The Honorable Jackie Speier, U.S. House of Representatives (CA-12)

Dominick Gentile, Chief, Records Division, U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services

Keaton and Chanteclaire Swett (grandchildren of the late U.S. Representative Tom Lantos)

Jennie Lew and Jeanie Low, Co-Chairs, Save Our National Archives

Jeremy Frankel, Director, San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society

Rick Moss, Director, African American Museum and Library of Oakland


The National Archives and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services with the assistance of the late U.S. Representative Tom Lantos and U.S. Representative Jackie Speier joined to have the Alien Files (commonly known as the A-Files) re-designated as permanent records of enduring historical value.

The A-Files are immigration records created for each of the millions of aliens residing the United States since 1944. Incorporating records that date back to the early 20th century, these alien case files document the famous, the infamous, the anonymous and the well-known. They are an historical and genealogical goldmine with information about immigrants from more than 100 countries.

To honor the work of the late Representative Lantos, the National Archives at San Francisco will also announce the naming of the “Tom Lantos Research Center.”


10:00 AM, Tuesday, May 22, 2012


The National Archives at San Francisco, 1000 Commodore Drive, San Bruno, CA.

Photo Op

  • Immigration records viewed for the first time by the descendants of early 20th Century Asian American immigrants.
  • “Tom Lantos Research Center” dedication.
  • Demonstrations of how to access these immigration files.

Please note that no additional lights can be used.


The A-files, the Federal government’s immigration case files compiled since 1944, are a key to unlocking the fascinating stories of millions of people who traveled to the United States in search of opportunity. They include information such as photographs, personal correspondence, birth certificates, health records, interview transcripts, visas, applications and other information on all non-naturalized alien residents, both legal and illegal. The files represent over 100 different countries of origin. They will be of particular interest to the Chinese American community because a large number of A-Files supplement information collected in earlier Chinese Exclusion Act-era files (1882-1943) already housed in the National Archives.

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For more information, contact Marisa Louie, archivist, at 650-238-3501 or


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