Financing Illegal Migration: Chinese Underground Banks and Human Smuggling in New York City (BOK)
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Smuggling people into industrialized countries has become a growing industry globally, and Chinese human smuggling represents a significant source of illegal immigration. The financing of the illegal immigration process, however, is a vastly under explored area. This book provides an in-depth understanding of the relationship between informal financial systems, illegal migration and human smuggling, tracing a trajectory of the evolution of Chinese underground banks in the US over the past two decades. With a focus on a border-spanning informal financial system from the perspective of their clients, this book elicits firsthand information from an extremely understudied population illustrating the motivation, patterns, and tendencies of their use of illegal fund transfer systems. Through extensive ethnographic fieldwork, this study illuminates the varied experiences of the undocumented Chinese immigrant population, providing revealing insights into the financial element of the migration and settlement process. Alongside discussion of policy implications for law enforcement in the US and China, Zhao explores whether Chinese underground banks represent a key mechanism in the larger social problem of illegal migration aided through human smuggling. Moreover, the book addresses the important question: is the Chinese underground banking system an integral part of organized crime, or is it a new type of ethnic-specific illegal enterprise?