Chinese Illegal Immigrants and US Tourist Visa (B-2 Visa)
of Fujian Illegal Immigrants from
1. The Issue
Current issue of
illegal immigrants from
On the early 19th century, the first
On the other hand, in spite
of the significant improvement of their living standards, millions of people
in the Mainland China still lead poorer lives when compared to Chinese immigrants
According to estimates from
Weekly Reader Corp (Kwong, 1997, as cited in U.S. Department of State's 2004),
40,000 Chinese, mainly young men, enter the
History of Chinese Immigrants
18th century or earlier: First
documentation of Chinese immigrants to the
Mid-18th century: Large scale immigration began due to the California Gold Rush.
1920: Chinese population
1943: Such events as the Chinatowns
of US cities turning from crime and drug-ridden places to quiet, colorful
tourist attractions, well-behaved and school conscientious Chinese children
being welcomed by public school teachers, and
Table 1: Immigrants
Source: US Bureau of Census, Immigrants by Country of Birth
Current illegal immigrants
Since the 1970s, the Fujianese has come to the
"These people have established a foothold,"
says Kwong (Kwong, 1997, as cited in U.S. Department of State's 2004). "Some
of them did very well. And they are not facing the kind of problems as the
newcomers." In a recent paper, Liang describes the trends of emigration
from Fujian Province over time. According to his findings, in 1990, Fujian
Province had already surpassed Guangdong, the province where most of the earlier
immigrants came from starting on the 18th century, (29,580 versus
18,688) and ranked third (after Shanghai and Beijing). By 1995, however, Fujian
Province ranked first in the number of emigrants, sending 66,200 people (or
Fujianese: the majority of illegal immigrants
At present, most of the illegal immigrants from
Fujian Province worked in restaurants, garments factories, etc. Since most
of Fujianese immigrants are poorly-educated, non-English speaking, and lack
marketable skills, they have to work in restaurants or garment factories where
they get paid from $3-4 per hour, 60-90 hours a week. It takes 3-5 years to
pay back the cost for smuggling. It is not as high according to the pay standards
According to Einhorn (US State
Statistical Bureau.1994, as cited in Einhorn, 1994). as many as 100,000
Fujianese were living in New York in 1994 and an additional 10,000 enter each
year. The exact number of Fujianese in New York today is difficult to obtain
because the lack of documents for illegal immigrants. Their significant impact
on the Manhattan’s Chinatown is noticeable. Fujianese-owned businesses, such
as driving schools, dating services, service centers for naturalization, and
employment agencies have sprouted on East Broadway in Chinatown. With a large
influx of Fujianese into New York each year, the Fujianese, as new blood in
Chinatown, are playing a greater role in the Chinese community and in many
ways are rivaling the old-timers from Guangdong and
Why they risk their lives to come to the
To most of the illegal immigrants from
The Fujianese people are certainly poor according
to the standard of living in the
In their research, Liang and Ye have identified
another essential reason besides poorer lives of Fujianese in
Other reasons, such as seeking political or religious
asylums, escaping from birth-control policy from
3. Related Cases
4. Author and Date: Qinbo Gao, April, 2004
5. Discourse and Status/Policy Issue:
Some of the negative impacts of illegal immigration follow:
Source: Illegal Aliens US
Other illegal immigrant origin
6. Forum and Scope/Existing Policy Framework:
International Asia, Europe,
Regional: Northeast in the
Local: New York City, San Francisco
7. Decision Breadth/Stakeholders/Policy Actors:
US, Chinese Governments/ Residents in both countries/ Legislative branch, Congress, Department of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc., of both countries.
8. Legal Standing/Legal Regulatory Framework/Suggested Policy Intervention:
Significant Historic Dates Affecting US immigration
Act of 1790-Stipulated that "any
alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the
1875-Supreme Court declared that regulation of
1882-The Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited certain laborers from immigrating to the
1885 and 1887-Alien Contract Labor laws that prohibited certain laborers from immigrating to the
1891-The Federal Government assumed the task of inspecting, admitting, rejecting, and processing all immigrants seeking admission to the
1892-On January 2, a new Federal
1903-This Act restated the 1891 provisions concerning land borders and called for rules covering entry as well as inspection of aliens crossing the Mexican border.
1907-The US immigration Act of 1907 reorganized the states bordering Mexico (Arizona, New Mexico and a large part of Texas) into Mexican Border District to stem the flow of immigrants into the US.
1917 – 1924-A series of laws were enacted to further limit the number of new immigrants. These laws established the quota system and imposed passport requirements. They expanded the categories of excludable aliens and banned all Asians except Japanese.
1924 Act-Reduced the number of
1940 the Alien Registration Act-Required all aliens (non-US citizens) within the
1950 Passage of the Internal Security Act-Rendered the Alien Registration Receipt Card even more valuable. Immigrants with legal status had their cards replaced with what generally became known as the "green card" (Form I-151).
1952 Act-Established the modern day
1968 Act-Eliminated US immigration discrimination based on race, place of birth, sex and residence. It also officially abolished restrictions on Oriental US immigration.
1976 Act-Eliminated preferential treatment for residents of the Western Hemisphere.
1980 Act-Established a general policy governing the admission of refugees.
1986 Act-Focused on curtailing illegal
1990 Act-Established an annual limit for certain categories of immigrants. It was aimed at helping
of the USCIS 2003-As of March
1, 2003, the
Source: US Immigration Information
III. Geographic Clusters
9. Geographic Locations
a. Geographic Domain:
b. Geographic Site:
c. Geographic Impact:
10. Sub-National Factors:
1. Name: Fujian Province
2. Area: 121,400 square kilometers
3. Population: 34.71 million (2000 population census)
4. Provincial Capital: Fuzhou City
is located in the southeast coastal area of
There are rich biological resources in Fujian
It is one of the main forestry zones in south
economy has witnessed rapid development since
Table 2: Characteristics of Major Immigrant-Sending Regions in Fujian Province, 1993
Average Salary (yuan)
US$1 » CN\8.23
Per Capita Income (yuan)
US$1 » CN\8.23
Source: State Statistical Bureau (1994).
8. People's life: Based on 2000 statistics, the total wages of staff and workers reached 33.462 billion Yuan. The net per capita income for rural households was 3,230 Yuan. The average annual wage of staff and workers was 10,584 Yuan. The per capita annual consumption of staff and workers was an average of 5,638.74 Yuan; that of rural households 2,409.49 Yuan. The number of hospital beds was 2.73 per 1,000 and the number of professional medical personnel was 2.95 per 10,000. The savings deposit balance hit 176.759 billion. (United Nations. Population Program Database. 2003)
9. Education: At the end of 1997, Fujian had 28 institutions of higher education with 131,300 enrolled students and, 9,800 full-time teachers. For the secondary school, the numbers were 1,921, 2,335,000 and 120,700 respectively. The numbers for primary schools were 13,939, 3,691,000 and 183,500. (United Nations. Population Program Database. 2003)
Due to the large number of emigrants of young, male Fujianese people, the demographic characteristics of cities like Changle, Fuzhou, and Xiamen, have been significantly changed in the past 20 years. The 1990 census showed that the proportion of unmarried males was higher than that of females and the gender ratio of the unmarried population was 152.45: 100. (United Nations. Population Program Database. 2003)
State of California,
The largest Chinatown outside
First Chinese immigrants- two men and one woman - arrive in San Francisco on the American brig, Eagle
"The Chinese School" was created. Chinese children were assigned to this "Chinese only" school. They were not permitted into any other public schools in San Francisco.
California’s Anti-Coolie Tax
California passes a law against the importation of Chinese, Japanese, and "Mongolian" women for the purpose of prostitution
Anti-Chinese ordinances are passed in San Francisco to curtail their housing and employment options. Queues are banned.
Presbyterian Mission Home for Chinese women (later renamed Donaldina Cameron House) is established
Page Law bars Asian prostitutes, felons, and contract laborers
The US and China sign a treaty giving the US the right to limit but "not absolutely prohibit" Chinese immigration. California's Civil Code passes anti-miscegenation law. The first Chinese Baptist Church founded.
The1882 Chinese Exclusion Act bans immigration
of Chinese laborers to the United States and prohibits Chinese from becoming
The “Chinese School” was renamed the" Oriental School," so that Chinese, Korean, and Japanese students could be assigned to the school.
Tung Wah Dispensary opens in Chinatown
Chinese Exclusion Act extended for another 10 years
Chinese Exclusion Act made indefinite
Chinese Chamber of Commerce formed.
Angel Island Immigration Station opens and operates as a detention and processing center for Chinese immigration; thousands of Chinese immigrants spend months detained, undergoing rigorous interrogations by
Chinatown YMCA is established
Chinatown YWCA is established
Chinatown Public Library opens.
The "Oriental School" was renamed Commodore Stockton School. Alice FongYu was the first Chinese teacher. Students were barred from speaking Chinese in school or on the playground.
The Nam Kue School is built. The Tung Wah Dispensary is relocated and renamed the Chinese Hospital.
The Chinese Playground is built
The Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act is enacted by Congress and grants Chinese aliens naturalization rights
Chinese Historical Society of America founded
Immigration Act of 1965.
First Miss Teen Chinatown Pageant
First Chinese American women seen regularly on national television
Immigration Reform Act of 1995
Commodore Stockton Elementary School was renamed Gordon J. Lau Elementary School in honor of the late civic leader and advocate for the Chinese community
Source: Tiger Business Development
The Chinatown in Manhattan, New York City is currently
the biggest community of illegal immigrants from Fujian Province,
Today’s Chinatown is a tightly packed yet sprawling neighborhood that continues to grow rapidly despite the satellite Chinese communities flourishing in Queens. Both a tourist attraction and the home of the majority of Chinese New Yorkers, Chinatown offers visitor and resident alike hundreds of restaurants, booming fruit and fish markets and shops of knickknacks and sweets on torturously winding and overcrowded streets. (Waxman, Sarah. 2004)
11. Type of Habitat:
Traditionally, Chinese immigrants like to live in a bigger community. From the oldest Chinatown in San Francisco to the latest Chinese community in Flushing, New York, a significant amount Chinese work and live within the insulated society. The reasons are:
IV. Trade Clusters
12. Type of Measure:
Illegal immigrants are major labor resources for
restaurants, garment factories, dating services, driving schools, nannies,
constructions etc. Their wages ranges from $5/hour to $20/hour. Living in
13. Relation of Trade Measure to Environmental/Tourism Impact
a. Directly Related to Product: The increasing
Chinese immigrants in the
b. Indirectly Related to Product: Illegal immigrants also have high demands like above. But their demands are more difficult to measure.
c. Not Related to Product: Commodities: food, clothing, living items, schools, etc.
d. Related to Process: International remittance
14. Trade Product Identification/Trade and Services:
Imports of commodities from
15. Economic Data
In year 2003, the
16. Impact of Trade Restriction:
The international tourists have significant economic
impact on the
17. Industry Sector:
Restaurants, garment manufacturing, travel industry, etc.
18. Exporters and Importers:
Since Chinese tourist expenditures in the
19. Environmental Problem Type/ Environmental Aspects:
The high density of Chinese immigrants in
Manhattan Chinatown, New York City has brought many huge effects on the community.
Problems such as limited water resource, living space, traffic congestion,
water and air pollution, wastage disposal and sewage systems, will be worse
by 2020 when
20. Resource Impact and Effect:
21. Urgency and Lifetime/Urgency and Policy Review: Medium
With the rapid economic growth in the past 20
22. Substitutes/Alternative Policies:
Some alternative policies in favor of illegal immigrants include permitting illegal immigrants the right to have driver’s licenses, health care, education, amnesty, etc.
23. Policy Implications
To maximize the economic
benefits brought by Chinese outbound tourists, the
VII Other Factors
Immigration has contributed significantly to school overcrowding, traffic congestion, the health care crisis, environmental degradation, social tension, and other negative impacts on our country. The new influx of immigrants from Fujian Province has significant impacts on the culture of the Chinese community. The restaurant business of Chinatown in New York, for example, is under the control of Fujianese people since their population has surpassed that of early immigrants from Guanzhou Province after mid 1990s.
Since most of Fujianese people are pro-Chinese
government compatriots, supporters of the Communist Party of China (CPC),
the strength of previous dominant power supporting Kuomintang Party is weakened
with the significant growth of Chinese from Mainland. (Kuomintang Party: the
largest party in
26. Trans-Boundary Issues:
Trans-boundary issues include security, taxation, voting, education, health care, driver’s license etc.
There have been long-term arguments on the rights
for illegal immigrants in the
Take the recent issue of driver’s license as an
example. “On April 6, Florida Governor Jeb Bush (Republican) has endorsed
a bill to allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, saying they are
in the state anyway and officials should accept that fact…The issue comes
up just four months after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a fellow
Republican, fulfilled a campaign promise by repealing a law that would have
allowed an estimated 2 million illegal immigrant drivers there to begin applying
for licenses…Last week, Illinois lawmakers rejected letting illegal immigrants
obtaining driver’s licenses. Arizona legislators are moving to toughen the
state’s requirement that driver’s license applications provide proof of authorized
presence in the
28. Relevant Literature
Edgell, David L (1999). Tourism Policy: The Next Millennium.
Einhorn, Bruce. (1994). Send Your Huddled Masses, and a Hot and Sour Soup. Business Week. Retrieved April 15, 2004 from http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/ea/chinaaliens/kwongexc.htm
Farrington, Brendan. (2004, April 7). Gov. Bush Backs Licenses for Immigrants. Washington Post, p. A32
Illegal Aliens. US. 2004. Impacts. Retrieved April 15, 2004, from http://www.illegalaliens.us/impacts.htm
Immigration. The Journey to
Kwong, Peter. (1997). Forbidden Workers: Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American. Retrieved April 15, 2004, from http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/ea/chinaaliens/kwongstory.htm
Liang, Zai and Wenzhen Ye. (2001). From Fujian to New York: Understanding the New Chinese Immigration. Global Human Smuggling: Comparative Perspectives (Chapter 7). The John Hopkins University Press.
Lii, Jane H. (1996a). The Chinese Menu Guys. New York Times, sec.13, pp. 1-2 and 11-12, "The City." July 28.
Portes, Alejandro. (1997). Immigration Theory for a New Century: Some Problems and Opportunities. International Migration Review 31:799-825.
Price Water House Coopers. (2001). Research on the Chinese Outbound Travel Market Report for the Canadian Tourism Commission, March 2001.
State Statistical Bureau.1994. From Fujian to New York: Understanding the New Chinese Immigration. Retrieved April 15, 2004, from http://usinfo.state.gov/regional/ea/chinaaliens/smuggling1.htm
Tiger Business Development. (2002-2004). History of San Francisco Chinatown. Retrieved April 15, 2004, from http://www.sanfranciscochinatown.com/history/
United Nations. Population Program Database. Population and Family Planning
US Bureau of Census. (2004). Immigrants by Country of Birth. Retrieved April 15, 2004, from http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/foreign.html
US Census Bureau. (2004). Trade (Imports, Exports and Trade Balance) with China 2004. Retrieved April 15, 2004, from http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html
US Immigration Information. Significant Historic Dates Affecting US immigration. Retrieved April 15, 2004, from http://www.rapidimmigration.com/usa/1_eng_immigration_history.html#declaration
Waxman, Sarah. The History of New York's Chinatown. Retrieved April 15, 2004, from http://www.ny.com/articles/chinatown.html
Ye, Wenzhen. (1995). An Analysis of Illegal Immigration from Coastal Region of Fujian Province. Historical Study of Overseas Chinese (in Chinese) 1:28-36.