Tomorrow I am giving a presentation at a conference, China-US Relations under the Obama Administration: Theory & Policy. I am speaking about Chinese immigration and U.S. border control. I don’t have very long but, while emphasizing the U.S. as a welcoming “country of immigrants,” I am also going to run down the history of increased gate-keeping that began with the Chinese exclusion laws (California’s 1875 Page Law and the federal 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act) and culminates in Arizona’s witch-hunt and the interminable squabbles in Washington about how to manage immigration. I am then going to point out that despite recurrent anti-immigrant sentiment both past and contemporary Chinese immigrants do very well in the U.S. Chinese immigrants mounted many successful attempts to challenge and circumvent discriminatory legislation in CA and the country between 1875 and 1927. Contemporary Chinese immigrants generally have higher educational occupational attainments and household incomes than other immigrant groups and even the average U.S. resident.
At America’s Gates by Erika Lee
2006 American Community Survey, Dept of Census
US Census 2000
Department of Immigration Statistics, 2000 – 2009 Yearbooks of Immigration Statistics and Estimates of Unauthorized Immigrants Residing the in the U.S. January 2009