Transnational Chinese Immigrant: Smuggling via Mexico and Cuba, 1882–1916

Friday, January 2, 2009: 1:00 PM
Park Suite 1 (Sheraton New York)
Robert C. Romero , University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Unbeknownst to most, Chinese immigrants were the first “illegal aliens” to be smuggled into the United States from Mexico. Legally excluded from immigrating to the United States as a consequence of the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinese immigrant laborers circumvented American exclusionary policy through the use of Mexico as a surreptitious gateway into the United States.  The international immigrant smuggling ring was organized by entrepreneurial Cantonese immigrants of the San Francisco Chinese Six Companies in cahoots with transnational agents in China, Mexico, Cuba and the United States. This essay shall examine in detail the transnational smuggling networks and various strategies and techniques developed by Chinese immigrants to circumvent United States Exclusionary policy during these years.
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