Dear Lilith Barbieri,
Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!
While "religion" was not generally on the questionnaire for entry, there sections for "Race" and "Nationality." A very helpful source of information about Immigration Records at in the Holdings of the National Archives, and how to access them can be found here: https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration .
The Passenger Arrival Lists would be of primary interest (https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration/passenger-arrival.html ). Many of these have been digitized through our partnerships with Ancestry, Fold 3 and Family Search and are available on their websites. service. Familysearch.org is a free site. Ancestry and Fold3 are both subscription services that allow free searches of some or all index terms for each title. Free access to Ancestry.com and Fold3.com is available in all Research Rooms at the National Archives, including those in our regional archives and Presidential libraries. However, access to these facilities is limited due to Covid-19 precautions. Many local libraries also have free access to these services so it's always a good idea to check with them.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!
I thank you very much for this information its been quite useful, although I noticed a large section missing in the sources you provided and was wondering specifically where information on people from the Middle East would be. I apologize if this is too much to ask and wish you the best of days.
Dear Lilith Barbieri,
No apology necessary! The lack of helpful information specifically pertaining to Middle-Eastern and Arab Immigration to the US is likely due to the relatively small sample of immigrants, both prior, and following the Johnson-Reed Act. Please note, that the National Archives is working to identify and highlight records of under-represented groups within our holdings so this may change over time. You can get creative with your search terms using the National Archives Catalog. For example, a search of "Arab Immigration" yielded numerous results, including Immigration Quota maps from Record Group 263 (https://catalog.archives.gov/id/159083344?&sp=%7B%22q%22%3A%22Arab%20Immigration%22%7D&sr=4 ). Furthermore, If you have names of individuals, there are certain series that you can search on the Catalog which may be helpful when researching personal data series records like "Alien A Files."
Best of Luck!
US immigration law in those years did not call for information to be collected about an immigrant’s religion. However, for a few years ca. 1898-1903, at New York (Ellis Island), a local form entitled "Supplement to manifest of alien passengers" was in use to collect data about the nativity, language, nationality, and religion of alien passengers as a sort of “pilot” program. The data supported subsequent collection of “Race or People” data on the official manifests (authorized by the Immigration Act of 1903), but collection of data about religion discontinued.
One caveat: The official List of Races and Peoples included Hebrew, reportedly based on language (Yiddish). But it was always considered a religious marker by immigrant advocates, who protested until it was removed in the early 1940s.
The supplemental form and its content can be found interfiled among the pages of passenger lists for New York for those years. It is unknown whether all or most of the forms survived. I’m not aware of any project to account for their completeness when the passenger lists (and surviving forms) were microfilmed in the mid-1940s.
I looked at a few of the Bureau of Immigration Annual Reports 1900-1903 and cannot find the data they collected published there. Any compilation of those stats will likely be found buried in Record Group 85, Entry 7/NAID 1564919 .