Illegal Immigration and Party Machines
One of the most curious aspects of anti-Chinese policies was officials’ practice of hiring immigrant Chinese interpreters, thus foiling exclusionary laws. The clash of two titans, Yip On and David Lew, shows how political alliances across racial lines compromised enforcement of anti-Chinese immigration policies. The study of interpreters and the politics through which they won, held, and lost their posts reveals a new understanding of how immigration policy was made. As an ethnic collaborator, the interpreter engaged in policy-making from a distinctive position. He had a duty to carry out the mandates of Parliament, but he gained political leadership from supporters who viewed anti-Chinese laws as illegitimate.
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