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Forbidden Workers: Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Laborby Peter Kwong
Synopses & Reviews
Hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a must-read,” Forbidden Workers tells for the first time the full story of recent Chinese immigration to this country. Widely praised from the Wall Street Journal to Asian Week, the book uses the Chinese experience to shed light on broader issues of immigration from countries around the world. Author Peter Kwong has interviewed countless immigrant workers, activists, Chinatown powerbrokers, and “snakeheads” (smugglers who bring immigrants to the United States) and has traveled to China to talk with families of immigrants. The result is an unprecedented look at an invisible community within American society—and at a billion-dollar industry whose commodity is workers who labor under conditions approaching modern slavery.
Book News Annotation:
Kwang, well known on television for his work on Chinese immigrants, traces the experience of immigrants from their homes in China to the basements and sweatshops of Chinatowns across the US, exploring why they choose to indebt themselves to a smuggler and whether they can really expect a better life. He also looks at their impact on the US economy, and argues that illegal immigration is not a matter of territorial integrity, but a labor issue that government must address by enforcing labor laws and organized labor by reaching out to the growing workforce.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A radical new analysis of illegal immigration from one of the country's foremost experts on Chinese immigration and labor. Peter Kwong traces Chinese immigrants' lives and exposes the contradictions in our national immigration and labor policies. Kwong uses the specifics of the Chinese experience to shed light on the dilemmas shared by illegal immigrants of color in general.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 257-267) and index.
About the Author
Peter Kwong is the author of several books, including Chinese America (with Dušanka Mišcevic); Chinatown, N.Y.; and Forbidden Workers, all available from The New Press. He is Professor of Asian American Studies and Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College and a professor of sociology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
The pig trade: the contemporary version — Going to America — Snakeheads — The limits of kinship networks — Manufacturing ethnicity — The exclusion of Chinese labor — Ineffectual enforcement of immigration and labor law — Waiting for organized labor — The undocumented immigrant as part of American labor.
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