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Immigration in America

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Presentation on theme: "Immigration in America"— Presentation transcript:

1 Immigration in America
Songhua Hu Sociology Department Stanford University

2 Part I Chinese, Koreans, Japanese Asian Americans Asian American Immigration

3 Basic Questions: What were the immigration experiences of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans who first came to the United States? What happens to Asians who immigrate to the United States? How has the American experience transformed Asian identity? What motivates solidarity between different groups from Asia?



6 Why do people immigrate to the United States?
Involuntary Immigration Many African Americans in the U.S. are descendants of forced immigrants Slavery Voluntary Immigration Push Factors Political or Religious persecution Refugees War Economic Environmental Pull Factors Work Family Education Quality of Life

7 Asian Immigration History: the Chinese Experience
Chinese immigration begins mid 1800s first to Hawaii, then to California (mostly San Francisco) Push factors: Many were escaping intense conflict in China: British Opium Wars ( and ) Peasant rebellions (I.e. Red Turban Rebellion, ) Bloody wars between the Punti (local people) and the Hakkas (guest people)

8 Asian Immigration History: the Chinese Experience
Pull Factors: Cheap labor and docile work force: “making about 210lb sugar per day. . .They could make four times as much by increasing the size of kettles. . .They have to work all the time – and no regard is paid to their complaints for food. . .Slavery is nothing compared to it.” William Hooper, first person to establish a sugar plantation on the island of Hawaii. Hopes for economic opportunities: “Americans are very rich people. They want the Chinaman to come and make him very welcome. There you will have great pay, large houses, and food, and clothing of the finest description. . .It is a nice country. . .Money is in great plenty and to spare in America.” 1860s, in China a man might earn $3-5/month while in America he could make $30/month working for the railroad companies.

9 Asian Immigration History: the Chinese Experience
White laborers rose up against the Chinese with racism and violence. Because of the pressures of European laborers, the United States enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882. Severely limited the number of immigrants from China From , Angel Island was used to detain those who were trying to come the U.S. from China. In 1882 the Chinese Exclusion Act had cut off nearly all Chinese immigration. The first laws creating a quota for immigrants were passed in the 1920s, in response to a sense that the country could no longer absorb large numbers of unskilled workers, despite pleas by big business that it wanted the new workers. Ngai (2003) shows that the new laws were the beginning of mass illegal immigration, because they created a new class of persons - illegal aliens - whose inclusion in the nation was at once a social reality and a legal impossibility. This contradiction challenged received notions of sovereignty and democracy in several ways. First, the increase in the number of illegal entries created a new emphasis on control of the nation's borders - especially the long Canadian border. Second, the application of the deportation laws gave rise to an oppositional political and legal discourse, which imagined "deserving" and "undeserving" illegal immigrants and, therefore, just and unjust deportations. These categories were constructed out of modern ideas about crime, sexual morality, the family, and race. In the 1930s federal deportation policy became the object of legal reform to allow for administrative discretion in deportation cases. Just as restriction and deportation "made" illegal aliens, administrative discretion "unmade" illegal aliens. Administrative law reform became an unlikely site where problems of national belonging and inclusion played out.

10 Asian Immigration History: the Chinese Experience

11 Asian Immigration History: Chinese Women’s Experience
Sugar plantation owners saw that Chinese women could be used to control the Chinese laborers. “. . .the thousand possible ills which may arise from the indiscriminate herding together of thousands of men! Let the sweet and gentle influence of the mother, the wife, the sister, and the daughter be brought to bear upon the large and yearly increasing company of Chinese in our midst. . .”

12 Asian Immigration History: the Japanese Experience
Japanese first came to Hawaii and the U.S. starting in the 1880s. Between 1885 and 1924, over 200,000 Japanese arrive in Hawaii. By 1920, Japanese represent 40% of entire population of Hawaii. Push factors: After the 1868 Meiji Restoration, the Japanese government began to industrialize and modernize. In order to pay for industrialization, Japanese farmers were heavily taxed. During the 1880s, over 300,000 farmers lost their land because they couldn’t pay the new tax. Because of the economic hardship they faced in Japan, many farmers and poor Japanese looked to migrate to Hawaii for better economic opportunities (the emigration “netsu” – fever).

13 Asian Immigration History: the Japanese Experience
Pull factors: Economic opportunities: “money grows on trees” Higher wages - $1/day (2 yen) vs. .66 yen/day (carpenter) Divide and Rule Strategy by Plantation owners: “Keep a variety of laborers, that is different nationalities, and thus prevent any concerted action in case of strikes, for there are a few, if any, cases of Japs, Chinese, and Portugese entering into a strike as a unit.” George H. Fairfield, manager of plantation. After the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, Chinese laborers were restricted to enter the country. Japanese were a replacement for the labor shortage.

14 Asian Immigration History: Japanese Women’s Experience
Picture Brides (shashin kekkon – “photo marriage”) Japanese government (and plantation owners) encourage immigration of women to raise the moral behavior of Japanese men in the U.S. Picture Brides are based on the established custom of arranged marriages (omiai kekkon) 60,000 enter the U.S. as picture brides. By 1920s, women represent 46% of Japanese population in Hawaii.



17 Asian Immigration History: the Japanese Experience
Discrimination Against Japanese in America and Coming to America 1906: Law segregates whites and Asians in schools (modeled on “Jim Crow” laws) 1913: denial of right to own land to persons “ineligible for citizenship” (aimed at Japanese farmers) 1924: Immigration Act denies entry to virtually all Asians

18 Asian Immigration History: the Japanese Experience
World War II and its impact on Japanese Americans: December 7, 1941: Japanese nation attacks Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. December 8, 1941: U.S. formally declares war on the Imperial Government of Japan.

19 Asian Immigration History: the Japanese Experience
Japanese Internment: “all persons of Japanese ancestry” are given 2-5 days notice to dispose of their homes and property and report to the “camps” 120,000 Japanese Americans detained in the camps 80,000 were U.S. citizens 40,000 were younger than 19 years of age $400,000,000 worth of Japanese property lost



22 Asian Immigration History: the Japanese Experience
Restitution (payback) for Internment 1987: House of Representatives votes (243 vs. 141) to make an official apology to Japanese Americans 1988: U.S. Senate votes (69%) to support redress for Japanese Americans 1989 President George Bush signs into law an entitlement program that pays $20,000/person to each survivor of the camps.


24 Asian Immigration History: the Korean Experience
By 1888 a small number of Koreans were in America (ginseng merchants, political exiles, and migrant laborers) But before 1900 there were fewer than 50 Koreans in the U.S. Unlike Chinese and Japanese, Koreans came from all different social classes including farmers, common laborers, government clerks, students, policemen, miners, domestic servants and even Buddhist monks (most were from urban areas).


26 Asian Immigration History: the Korean Experience
Pull factors: Like the Japanese and Chinese, Koreans were drawn by the possibility for economic gain. Plantation owners wanted to pit Koreans against an increasingly organizing Japanese labor force (strike breakers). Push factors: Economic poverty in Korea Political motivations Japan colonizes Korea in 1910. Many Koreans came to the U.S. to flee Japanese persecution. Many Korean immigrants in early 1900s were patriots trying to find a way to fight for Korean independence from Japanese colonial rule.

27 Asian Immigration History: Korean Women’s Experience
Early Korean migration already included many women Nearly 10% of immigrants between were women. Many took their wives and children because they were afraid they would not be able to return to a Korea that was ruled by Japan. Picture Brides: “At one time, he might have been tall and handsome, but now he was toothless and an old man and humped over. When he went for a haircut, they teased him and called him names (probably because he had no hair). I was helplessly married now.” Park Soon-ha

28 Contemporary Asian Immigration
Importance of the 1965 Immigration Act The 1965 Immigration Act dramatically changed the criteria (or categories) for judging immigration applications. Up to 20,000/country were allowed entry per year. National origin was no longer a criterion used to influence immigration chances. Because Asian immigration was severely restricted before 1965, this new act helped many Asian groups enter America.


30 From Chinese, Japanese, Koreans to Asian Americans
What happens to Chinese, Japanese, Koreans who have been in the United States for a long time or their entire lives (second generation and beyond)?

31 Melting Pot or Salad Bowl
Melting Pot (Assimilation) Discard old identity Adopt American culture, tastes and habits No longer feel ethnic or close to immigrant identity Salad Bowl (Pluralism) Maintain “old” culture and identities Share common goals of the nation

32 Asian American Stereotypes in U.S.
Asian Males portrayed in U.S. media Everybody knows kung-fu Everybody is good at math Sexually harmless Asian Females portrayed in U.S. media Submissive and quiet (China Doll) vs. The “dragon lady” Sexually exotic and desirable


34 Asian American Political Involvement
Events that galvanized (led to) Asian participation in politics Vincent Chin case (1982) Chinese American laborer murdered by laborers 5 days before his wedding. Economically motivated – laborers blamed Chin for “taking away their jobs” – they thought he was Japanese Murderers only received 3 years of jail time – very little for the crime committed. Became a martyr of the Asian American movement and brought together various different Asian groups to work together. LA Riots (1992) After policemen were acquitted for the beating of Rodney King, many people were upset and began rioting in LA. The main business district that was targeted Korea Town. Mobilization of Korean War Veterans – because police were not stopping the rioters in Korea Town (were protecting more affluent areas like West LA)


36 Asian American Organizations
Asian American Bar Association Asian American Journalists Association Asian Community Mental Health Services Asian Law Caucus Asian Professional Exchange Asian Business Association Asian Pacific Women’s Center Asian American Government Executives Network Asian Family & Community Empowerment Center Asian American Youth Alliance Asian American Institute Asian American Political Association Etc

37 Asian American (bigger) Politicians
Senator (Hawaii) – Daniel Inouye U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights – Bill Lann Lee Governor (Washington) – Gary Locke Secretary of Labor – Elaine Chao Secretary of Transportation – (Norman Mineta) Assistant to Secretary of Defense (North Korea mission) – Philip Yun

38 Part II Recent Immigration Debate


40 Hay muchas inmigrantes ilegales viven en los estados unidos.
En la década de los ochenta (80s), había un millón, trescientos mil inmigrantes ilegales (1.3) totales en los estados unidos. Pero en la década de los noventa, había aproximadamente siete millónes. Y por ultimo, el año pasado, había diez millones, trescientos mil (10.3) inmigrantes ilegales.


42 How big is the problem? About 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in the United States Each year some 500,000 to a million more enter the country Mostly through the US-Mexico borders Many are poorly educated, unskilled workers For example, much of California's agriculture relies on migrant labor



45 Why is it so charged? Polls suggest that a majority of Americans see illegal immigration as a very serious problem for the US.


47 Why is it so charged? Polls suggest that a majority of Americans see illegal immigration as a very serious problem for the US. It has also been reflected in the rise of Minutemen groups - citizens who have taken it upon themselves to patrol the US borders and to confront illegal workers in cities around the US.

48 Minuteman Movement

49 Why is it so charged? Polls suggest that a majority of Americans see illegal immigration as a very serious problem for the US. It has also been reflected in the rise of Minutemen groups - citizens who have taken it upon themselves to patrol the US borders and to confront illegal workers in cities around the US. Hundreds of thousands of activists marched in California to protest against plans to criminalize undocumented workers.

50 “Day without Immigrants”
Q&A: US immigration debate The immigration issue is a highly charged one in the US Illegal immigration is a deeply divisive issue in the United States, and a hot political topic ahead of the November mid-term elections. As Congress remains deadlocked over plans to reform immigration law, pro-immigration groups are stepping up their protests against a proposed toughening of the rules. On 1 May they are holding a mass protest called Day Without Immigrants - which includes a call to boycott jobs and schools, and not spend money - to show how much they matter to the US economy. How big is the problem? There are thought to be about 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the United States, and each year some 500,000 to a million more enter the country, mostly through the 2,000-mile (3,200-km) southern border with Mexico. Many of these people are poorly educated, unskilled workers, yet in their thousands they fill the sort of jobs that most native-born Americans will not take, at least not for the same price. Much of California's agriculture relies on migrant labour, for example. But some argue these jobs could be filled even without illegal immigrants. Most people agree that - at present - the US system is failing all its stakeholders: foreigners who want to enter the country, citizens who expect it to prevent illegal border crossings and employers who look to it for workers to fill jobs. Why is the debate so charged? Polls suggest that a majority of Americans see illegal immigration as a very serious problem for the US, and it is likely to be one of the key issues on which the public will judge politicians running for office in the November mid-term elections. Strength of feeling on the issue was illustrated in March 2006 when hundreds of thousands of activists marched in California to protest against plans to criminalise undocumented workers. It has also been reflected in the rise of Minutemen groups - citizens who have taken it upon themselves to patrol the US borders and to confront illegal workers in cities around the US. The issue is also politically awkward for Mr Bush's Republican party, because it brings into conflict two of its core constituencies - social conservatives and the business lobby. Several key players in the immigration debate are likely candidates for the White House in 2008. What are the key issues? The political debate over immigration reform is crystallised around several key issues. These include the enforcement of the country's land borders and existing laws on immigration, changes in the law to deal with people already in the country illegally, and how to offer a regulated route into the US for what the business community says are much-needed workers. Some advocate greatly expanding physical barriers, like fencing, that already exist along some 100 miles of the border near cities - and bringing in tougher penalties for businesses caught employing illegal migrants. Plans for various guest worker programmes, and provisions allowing the millions of illegal immigrants already in the US to remain legally, are also being hotly debated. What stage is Congress at? Last year, the House of Representatives passed a bill stuffed with tough new criminal measures and enforcement proposals, triggering a wave of demonstrations ahead of the Senate debate on the issue. The Senate has been wrestling to pass its own immigration bill, with key players fighting over the guest-worker scheme President Bush has been seeking. Senators also disagree about giving millions of undocumented workers an opportunity to become US citizens. Senate leaders claimed in early April they had found a workable compromise, but as lawmakers prepared to begin their spring recess, the deal collapsed. Whatever legislation emerges from the Senate will have to be reconciled with the House bill before it can be signed into law by the president.

51 Stanford, CA

52 Mountain View, CA

53 San Jose, CA

54 What are the key issues? The enforcement of the country's land borders (how to deal with undocumented immigrants) The reform of existing laws on immigration (how to offer a regulated route into the US for what the business community says are much-needed workers) Building a wall along the border The penalties against businesses caught employing illegal migrants Plans for various guest worker programs English as a unifying language

55 The debate National security Taking Americans’ jobs
Punish the employers Have tried amnesty, but it did not work Human rights and civil rights American dream Family ties Be practical Guest-worker program

56 Conclusion The history of Asian immigration in the USA
Melting pot or salad bowl Immigration debate

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