Argentina once prided itself on a border policy so open that during the early 20th century it built an “immigrant’s hotel” in the port of Buenos Aires. Inaugurated in 1912, the massive building could lodge up to 3,000 new arrivals, who received free board, job training and help finding employment.
At the time, more than half the city’s population was foreign-born; the economy was booming, and immigration – mostly from Europe – was associated with modernity and progress.
Much has changed since then. Nowadays, less than 5% of Argentina’s population is foreign-born and the old hotel, after surviving an attempt to turn it into a shopping mall, now houses an immigration museum.