Forbidden Workers: Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Labor

Forbidden Workers: Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Labor

by Peter Kwong


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Forbidden Workers: Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Labor by Peter Kwong

December 1997

"Nobody understands the complexities of Chinatown better than Peter Kwong. Forbidden Workers vividly describes and analyzes its population, and sheds new light on the problems of fresh immigrants as they strive to adjust to America."--Stanley Karnow, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Vietnam

As seen in headlines across the country, problems with immigration have become a serious national problem and concern. Across the political spectrum, popular sentiment against immigrants has reached brutal heights, especially against illegal immigrants. Few understand the forces driving men and women to come to this country or the conditions they face after their arrival. In Forbidden Workers: Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Labor, author Peter Kwong tells the full story of recent Chinese immigration in this country. With countless interviews of workers, activists, Chinatown power brokers, and "snakeheads" (smugglers who bring immigrants to the United States), Kwong traces real-life experiences. From the villages of Fuzhou province to mainland China to the restaurants and garment factories of New York City's and San Francisco's Chinatowns, Kwong exposes the contradictions in our national policy.

Combining these interviews with countless hours of research on immigration patterns in this country over the past two decades, Kwong creates a new analysis of Chinese immigration, labor, and integration into mainstream American society. He argues that controlling illegal immigration is not a matter of guarding borders or setting quotas but is really a labor issue.Forbidden Workers uses the examples of the Chinese experience to shed light on the dilemmas shared nationally by illegal immigrants and working people of color.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781565845176
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 05/28/1999
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

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.

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