Miao Lin

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Committee Member

Paul Leighton, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Liqun Cao, PhD

Committee Member

Roger Kernsmith, PhD


It is puzzling why Fujianese are willing to pay seventy thousand dollars, which could entitle them to a comfortable life in China, to be smuggled to the United States. Despite the voluminous body of research, the life of Fujianese illegal immigrants has not been systematically explored. This study confirmed that people smuggling is a phenomenon that combines cultural, economic, and political factors. Furthermore, Fujianese who came to seek an American dream have lost something much more valuable than what they have gained, such as their youth and family connections.

In addressing the smuggling strategies, causes, and experiences of Fujianese immigrants, this thesis has relied on interviews with former illegal immigrants from Fujian Province, China, as well as literature reviews. The respondents in this study are average people among tens of thousands of illegal immigrants. Their true stories provide a vivid picture of Fujianese emigration.

Included in

Criminology Commons