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Porous BordersMultiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands$
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Julian Lim

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469635491

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635491.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 13 October 2019

“Hunting for Chinamen”

“Hunting for Chinamen”

Chapter:
(p.95) 3 “Hunting for Chinamen”
Source:
Porous Borders
Author(s):

Julian Lim

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469635491.003.0004

Through a close, on-the-ground reading of U.S. immigration records and newspaper accounts, this chapter shows how Chinese immigrants repeatedly improvised new cross-racial strategies to gain entry into the United States during the era of Chinese Exclusion. Their actions not only forced local immigration officials to continually adjust their own practices in response, but to focus increasing attention on racial differentiation. In the process of distinguishing Chinese from Mexican, and rooting out smuggling rings that depended upon the cooperation of Chinese sponsors and immigrants, Mexican guides, and black railroad workers, these street-level bureaucrats not only enforced U.S. immigration law, but did so through practices that rendered multiracial relations and identities suspect and illegitimate. Moreover, as immigration officials and the immigrants they sought to police drew the attention of the federal government to the El Paso-Ciudad Juárez border, they brought the American state into the borderlands. The chapter thus connects local enforcement practices at the border with the broader goals of federal immigration law and nation-building at the turn of the century.

Keywords:   Chinese Exclusion Act, Immigration law – United States, U.S. immigration officials, Chinese immigrants, Mexico, El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, U.S.-Mexico border, Smuggling – immigrants

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