The Good Immigrants

Politics and Society in Modern America

Book 114
Princeton University Press
Free sample

Conventionally, US immigration history has been understood through the lens of restriction and those who have been barred from getting in. In contrast, The Good Immigrants considers immigration from the perspective of Chinese elites—intellectuals, businessmen, and students—who gained entrance because of immigration exemptions. Exploring a century of Chinese migrations, Madeline Hsu looks at how the model minority characteristics of many Asian Americans resulted from US policies that screened for those with the highest credentials in the most employable fields, enhancing American economic competitiveness.

The earliest US immigration restrictions targeted Chinese people but exempted students as well as individuals who might extend America's influence in China. Western-educated Chinese such as Madame Chiang Kai-shek became symbols of the US impact on China, even as they patriotically advocated for China's modernization. World War II and the rise of communism transformed Chinese students abroad into refugees, and the Cold War magnified the importance of their talent and training. As a result, Congress legislated piecemeal legal measures to enable Chinese of good standing with professional skills to become citizens. Pressures mounted to reform American discriminatory immigration laws, culminating with the 1965 Immigration Act.

Filled with narratives featuring such renowned Chinese immigrants as I. M. Pei, The Good Immigrants examines the shifts in immigration laws and perceptions of cultural traits that enabled Asians to remain in the United States as exemplary, productive Americans.

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About the author

Madeline Y. Hsu is associate professor of history and past director of the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her books include Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home and the coedited anthology Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Apr 27, 2015
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781400866373
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Americas (North, Central, South, West Indies)
History / United States / General
Law / General
Political Science / Public Policy / Cultural Policy
Social Science / Black Studies (Global)
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / General
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Content protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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