Adolinae Marcinskas seems an unlikely candidate to be derided as an illegal immigrant. She had lived in New Jersey from 1907 to 1921, married there and had two children who were American citizens. But for some reason, her husband convinced her that life would be better back in their native Lithuania, and in 1921 he sent her and her children there, promising that he would soon follow. He never did, and in December 1922, she decided to return to the United States on her own, hoping to reunite with her husband. As a woman traveling alone, however, entering the United States was no easy task. In 1921, Congress had passed the first immigration restriction laws seeking to limit the influx of Eastern European immigrants through a system of quotas. She also faced another obstacle under the law prohibiting the entry of persons likely to become a public charge. A woman with no visible male provider caring for two children could be barred from entry because she lacked an identifiable means of support. Rather than taking her chances at a legal port of entry, where she would be subject to questioning by an immigration inspector who might send her away, Adolinae Marcinskas elected to bypass U.S. immigration laws entirely. Instead, she and her children traveled to Havana, Cuba and arranged to be smuggled to the Florida coast. After several days sick at sea-she could not remember exactly how many and after being transferred from a "big" boat to a smaller boat, eventually she, her children and the other six illegal immigrants on board were landed on a deserted, wooded shore in the middle of the night. With no other transportation in sight, Adolinae and her children began to walk. She estimated that they walked three or four miles until her children grew too tired to continue. In desperation, she flagged down a passing automobile. It turned out to be a police car.
Dorr, Lisa Lindquist
"Bootlegging Aliens: Unsanctioned Immigration and the Underground Economy of Smuggling from Cuba During Prohibition,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 93:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol93/iss1/5