A Chinatown Matchmaker. An Immigration Crackdown. Who Decides What Love is?

Matchmaking has been an ingrained cultural practice in China since the Zhou Dynasty 2,000 years ago. But whereas historically, marriages were not considered valid if the couple did not get approval from their parents and trustworthy matchmakers, parties in a modern-day arranged meeting are free to decide if they are interested in their match, and would therefore like to build a relationship together.

In light of tightened immigration policies under the Trump administration, meeting and marrying someone through Chinese matchmaking could be the solution for undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. But business has plummeted since 2016, said Lee, who said that people are now more wary because they believe the new administration will be stricter about determining whether a marriage is valid or not.

Increasingly restricted immigration policies have “heightened fear” among the Chinese immigrant community, said Philip Kasinitz, a sociology professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Without papers, unauthorized immigrants cannot get work permits, Kasinitz said. Although it’s easier for them to get away with working without a permit in places like Chinatown, the types of jobs available in the ethnic enclaves are limited and often fall below the expectations of college-educated immigrants.

“They can only do the lowest jobs, which most immigrants didn’t have in mind,” Kasinitz said. “They didn’t come for that and are stuck with an undesirable job.”

Submitted on: FEB 8, 2019

Category: GC Press Coverage