Chinese Immigration


There are approximately 2 million Chinese immigrants the United States, making them to be the fourth largest immigration set in the country. The major immigration flows of the Chinese people took place in the period between early 1990s and 2000s. Immigration has continued to accelerate in the 2000s, and at the present, there are equally the same numbers of native U.S. citizens who are of Chinese origin as the Chinese immigrants (Modern America, 2007).

The Impact of the Immigration on the Type and Composition of Chinese Immigrants in the U.S

Immigration to the U.S. was considered to be rather limitless in the nineteenth century. By the beginning of the 20th century when the Europeans started sponsoring massive immigration, some Chinese had already settled in the U.S. By the end of the first 10 years of the 20th century, the U.S. was already home to almost 9 million immigrants. After the U.S. became a multinational nation, the authorities began to institute some exceptions, most of which were designed to be in line with the federal immigration laws. Among the most inflexible laws was the exclusion of the Chinese foreigners. In the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the United States’ government appreciated the grave danger that the presence of the Chinese laborers posed to the union. According to the authorities, the labors who were termed as unskilled did pose a huge threat to the stability of the economy. This led to the exclusion of illiterate Chinese above the age of sixteen years of age (Zhou, 2009). Additionally, criminals, sex workers, poor people and anarchists were excluded. This meant that there would be a huge decline in mass immigration from China.

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Later, the authorities enacted the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, also known as the Asian Exclusion Act, which aimed at reducing the number of Asians immigrating to the U.S. Immigration was limited to 155, 000 people yearly, and several other temporary quota systems were instituted. This Act limited the number of individuals who were viable for citizenship to just a few Asians. The Act did work, irrespective of the fact that many people considered it to be racial. It blocked immigration to individuals on the basis of the fact that they were non-white. The desire to regulate immigration went further, and after the passage of the Immigration Act of 1940, the number of people arriving to the U.S. was reducing further (Zhou, 2009).

By 1946, the situation began to improve with the enactment of the Luce-Cellar Act which offered citizenship and eliminated the quota system for all people. By the end of the Second World War, further transformation of the immigration regulations took place. Refugees, displaced people, and wives of those who served as enlisted men during the war were allowed to become a part of the U.S. immigration group, a group that would be eligible for citizenship. The Displaced Persons Act was instituted for the purpose of giving way to 205, 000 refugees to immigrate to the U.S. The Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 did away with the quota system, allowing the further immigration of 290,000 people annually.

The Main Modes of Incorporation into the U.S. Labor Market and Business for Chinese Immigrants

The mode of incorporation into the U.S. labor market was quite varied, considering that the Chinese laborers were supposed to undergo a literacy test. This mode of incorporation was put in place after it was discovered that the Chinese were becoming a threat to the U.S. The authorities thought that the Asian group, particularly the Chinese, would be a threat to the economy as they would destabilize it. The United States and the Japanese governments made a Gentleman’s agreement in 1908 which aimed for Japan to not to give émigré laborers travel documents, and, in return, the U.S. would offer assistance to those Japanese laborers who met the set criteria (Romero, 2004). This was, clearly, an attempt to eradicate the Chinese laborers who were in constant competition with the natives. The Department of Commerce, under the Johnson’s Act, endeavored at putting in place quotas for the individuals who sought entry into the U.S. However, leaders in South West touted several American government officials with the aim of ensuring that this Act did not apply to their territory. The removal of quotas, however, ushered in the institution of several forms of labor certification. The aim was to protect the laborers before putting in place and maintaining economic steadiness. Consequently, no worker would be allowed to enter the U.S. without the permission of the Secretary of Labor, stating that there are not enough workers and that the worker would not make any changes to the wages and working stature (Romero, 2004).

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The Transformation of the Ethnic Community and its Influence on Social Mobility of Chinese Immigrants

Before the coming of the Europeans, the Chinese played a major role in trade in a place called Nanyang. This led most of the Asian ports to become ports for silk and porcelain among other processed goods. Unlike the present day, the early trade needed one to travel from one point to another, and this necessitated taking temporary refuge in several territories along the way. The Chinese traders, merchants, and artists moved from one place to another selling their products from China to Nanyang. This led to the formation of the Huashang class and a stable foreign Chinese community (Romero, 2004). By the time the English and other Europeans arrived, trading between Asia and America was sophisticated. The trade was what had led to the pre-colonial Chinese migration. In this regard, most of the immigrants were the Huashang, their workers, as well as members of their families. Those who remained in such foreign lands as America played the role of middlemen, a situation which made some of these home places to become business areas. The enhanced level of trading prompted an increased immigration.

Currently, the evidence of the early Chinese activities is demonstrated by the ethnoburbs. The ethnoburbs are a new form of ethnic settlement that one may find in the suburbs. It is mainly a composition of immigrant Chinese people due to the socio-economic and political background. The Chinese living in these suburbs aim at improving their social, economic, and political representation. Many people in America admit the fact that the immigration of the Chinese has ushered in business growth, as well as in improvements in labor supply. Most of the Chinese who migrated to the U.S. have been assimilated into the society (Ngai, 1998). The Chinese are known to be morally sensitive and focused on community work, a situation that has enhanced their participation in such aspects of life as civil liberties and politics. Mutual support and a sense of identity have enabled the Chinese people to improve their economic status, as well as other aspects of societal life. The acceptance of the Chinese into the American society has stabilized the socio-economic fabric of the country. The Chinese American themselves have greatly improved, and this has helped to facilitate their incorporation into the society. The Chinese integration into the American society has enabled them to experience improvements in language, culture, and socio-economic aspects (Ngai, 1998).

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The immigration of the Chinese to the U.S. has been increasing over last few decades. The relationship between the Chinese and other U.S. citizens has greatly improved. The oppressive Acts have been overturned, and this has allowed the Chinese businesses to flourish. Even though there has been negative publicity regarding the Chinese, their social fabric has enabled most of them to stay away from such crimes as drug abuse, and they have concentrated on those activities that play a significant role in developing of the U.S. economy. China has also benefitted from the immigration as there has been some form of cultural exchanges. China has also been opening up to the world, and specifically to the West. This has all been possible, mainly, because of the Chinese immigration into the U.S. (Ling, 2004).