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Week Ahead – The Recovery Continues

Week Ahead – The Recovery Continues



The latest employment report had every economist scratching their head.  The stunning 2.51 million jobs created in May is leading many investors to become even more optimistic that the underlying economy is improving.  The worst might be behind us but risks remain to the outlook.  Some investors believe unprecedented stimulus from global central banks will drive the economic rebound and continue to support their dollar bearish bets.  If the global economic revival continues, a tall task at hand when you consider the China risk and coronavirus second wave concerns, the greenback losing streak could continue.

The week ahead will focus the Fed’s upcoming rate decision and reopening momentum across the globe. Two highly coveted reports will also be released by the World Bank and the OECD, which will only represent their best guess on how the global economic recovery will turn out.  Investors will also pay attention to the euro-area finance ministers’ next round of talks with the EU’s recovery package and the Eurogroup presidency succession.  US-China trade tensions will also remain a focal point as both sides continue to exchange jabs.



After getting an A for their swift and strong response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Fed now needs to wait and see how the recovery unfolds.  Wednesday’s policy decision announcement should be an easy one for Powell and company.  The next natural step seems for them to consider adopting yield-curve control.  This would make the Fed target yields for possibly two-or five-year maturities.

Following a surprisingly robust nonfarm payroll report, many investors will start to doubt we may see another strong fiscal response by the US government.  Stimulus provided stocks a safety net, but now the next part of the rally will solely rely on improving economic activity.

The reopening of the US economy continues with New York City expected to reach their first phase of reopening on Monday.  While New York continues to have the right trajectory regarding new coronavirus cases, concerns are growing that the recent protests could result in a significant spike of cases.  Health experts are also growing cautious that many parts of the country are starting to see higher cases and that could eventually derail many states from reaching their next reopening phase.

US Politics

President Trump was always in re-election mode, but now he can resume in-person funding.  Trump’s first fundraiser in two months will take place on Thursday in Dallas with 25 attendees.  The election is under five months away and the recent trend has former-VP Biden slowly widening his lead.  It is still very early, but financial markets will soon need to start pricing in the possibility that Biden could win the Presidency and that the Democrats could take the Senate back.


The economy is continuing to reopen, despite widespread concern about whether measures are being unwound too soon. Still, the numbers continue to improve. That will be tested in the coming weeks though, especially if the good weather continues and people flock to beaches and parks.


The ECB increased purchases under PEPP by €600 billion this week and extended it until June 2021, taking the program to €1.35 trillion and asset purchases under all programs this year to a record €1.4 trillion. The move comes on top of the proposed recovery package from the European Commission last week and no doubt contributed to the ongoing rally in equity markets this week. Central banks once again proving that any talk of policy tools being exhausted is extremely premature.


The lira has steadied over the last few weeks. It’s more than 6% off its lows but still around 15% below January levels. The decline in the dollar recently may have alleviated some of the pressure on the currency, if that reverses, the lira’s good fortune could change fast. But the economy is emerging from the lockdown and reported coronavirus cases have fallen considerably. The crisis is far from over and the economy had major problems long before the pandemic but the situation appears to be improving.


China Balance of trade released on Sunday. Deterioration expected. Large miss either way will set the tone for Monday in Asia. Otherwise markets will be susceptible to increased trade/Hong Kong rhetoric.

Hong Kong

Protests have died down for now over the securities law. Possible resurgence this weekend. HSBC and Stan Chart under fire for backing China’s HK security law. No significant data this week.


Economy starts reopening this week which should be positive for markets. Standoff with China continues in the Himalayas and non-bank financial woes continue to impact sentiment. No significant data.


AUD and equity rally continue with strong momentum. NAB biz confidence Tuesday and Westpac cons. Confidence Wednesday. Neither are likely to have more than short-term impact. AUD and Aust. equities are a strong proxy for global recovery. Sentiment and news in that space will be the primary risk/driver.


Japan’s final GDP Q1 on Monday. Machinery orders and PPI Wednesday. Industrial Production Friday. Nikkei has performed strongly, but repeated outbreaks of COVID-19 in Tokyo could sap sentiment. Supplementary budget before Parliament this week.



After much back and forth, it seems OPEC + is poised to meet over the weekend to finalize a production cut extension deal.  The holdup was Iraq and late on Thursday they announced they will fully implement their share of oil production cuts by the end of July.  Oil prices headed for a sixth weekly gain but are slightly softer as energy traders are taking the Iraqi announcement “with a grain of salt.” Iraq has a new government and is desperate for cash, so compliance is likely to be short-lived. A deadlock could have flooded the oil market and undermined the unprecedented oil price recovery.

Now that the Saudis and Russians are working together again, the focus for this next round of OPEC+ talks are with the cheaters, primarily Iraq (Nigeria, Angola and Kazakhstan).  The risk seems low that they will fail to reach an agreement to extend cuts for one more month, but if talks stall oil prices will tank.  There still could be a chance that they manage to stretch the cut deal to three months, but energy traders would be extremely skeptical that compliance would remain high beyond July. Floating oil storage levels have moderated over the past few weeks and tank top concerns have eased, but if the floodgates are released, we could see another major selloff.  OPEC+ should still be motivated to keep prices firm here, but if WTI crude rallies above $45, they will be saving the US shale industry.

A big part of yesterday’s oil rally came from American Airlines announcement that they will boost their July flights by 74% from the prior month, as the US consumer seems ready to return to travel.  The crude demand recovery expects air travel to lag, so any surprises with improving air travel will be very supportive for oil prices.  The 74% increase would however only represent about 40% of what was done last year.  Jet fuel and diesel products saw sharp increases. Some insiders are also questioning the inventory data and that the government may have overreported.  If we see a correction with the reporting of US inventories, that may help bring the market to balance a lot faster. Hurricane season is here, and fears are high this could be one of the worst ones since 2005 when we had Hurricane Katrina.  Tropical Storm Cristobal has already forced some oil platforms to be evacuated as it still has a chance of strengthening to a hurricane.  The US Gulf’s offshore energy region is bracing for Cristobal and it seems that unexpected disruptions to production could be a recurring theme this summer.


Gold prices have been under pressure after a miraculous stock market run that seems to be showing some signs of plateauing.  Friday’s surprisingly strong nonfarm payroll report also dealt a strong blow to gold bulls, taking prices well below the $1700 level.  Gold is looking vulnerable in the short-term, but should still be supported as a choppy global economic recovery will continue to see the majority of central banks remain accommodative. Despite some calls for the Fed to slow down, the amount of stimulus that is being pumped into the global economy will provide a nice safety-net for gold prices.

With the Presidential election under five months away, tensions with China are unlikely to be alleviated anytime soon and that should provide underlying support for gold.  Eventually the tit-for-tat trade war will force China to come down on US tech and that will put significant pressure with this historic stock market rebound.  The dollar is weakening, trade tensions are here to stay, risks for a second wave of the coronavirus are just a handful of reasons why it will be difficult for a downtrend to form for gold.


Bitcoin traders had some humble pie after the latest attempt above $10,000 saw a main crypto-exchange deliver another key outage during another volatile trading day.  Bitcoin mania was making a comeback as institution interest grows and hedge funds scramble for risky bets to make up for underperformance.

Institutional traders will not tolerate exchange crashes, so it will be interesting to see if Bitcoin interest starts to fade again.  The only thing certain about Bitcoin is that volatility is likely to remain elevated.  Bitcoin’s true believers however seem determined to see this out until prices return to record territory, so extreme selloffs should not surprise anyone.

Key Economic Releases and Events

Saturday June 6th

Possible OPEC+ meeting 

Sunday, June 7th

Possible OPEC+ meeting

Australian Markets observe Queen’s Birthday

CNY China May Trade Balance: $40.0Be v $45.3B prior; Exports Y/Y: -6.5%e v +3.5% prior; Imports Y/Y: -7.8%e v -14.2% prior

7:50pm JPY Japan Q1 Final GDP Q/Q: -0.5%e v -0.9% prelim; Annualized SA Q/Q: -2.1%e v -3.4%prelim

7:50pm JPY Japan Apr Current Account (JPY): 360Be v 942.3B prior

Monday, June 8th

ECB President Lagarde attends European Parliament hearing

2:00am EUR Germany Apr Industrial Production M/M: -15.5%e v -9.2% prior

4:30am EUR Eurozone Jun Sentix Investor Confidence: No est v -41.8 prior

8:15am CAD Housing Starts: No est v 171.3K prior

9:00pm NZD Jun Prelim ANZ Business Confidence: No est v -41.8 prior

9:30pm AUD May NAB Business Confidence: No est v -46 prior

Tuesday, June 9th

OPEC Meetings

5:00am EUR Eurozone Q1 Final GDP Q/Q: -3.8%e v -3.8% prelim; Y/Y: -3.2%e v -3.2% prior

6:00am USD NFIB Small Business Optimism: 91.5e v 90.9 prior

9:30pm CNY May CPI Y/Y: 2.6%e v 3.3% prior; PPI Y/Y: -3.2%e v -3.1% prior

9:30pm AUD Jun Westpac Consumer Confidence M/M: No est v 16.4% prior

Wednesday, June 10th

OPEC+ Meetings

The OECD releases its economic outlook

2:45am EUR France May Industrial Production M/M: No est v -16.2% prior

8:30am USD Apr CPI M/M: 0.0%e v -0.8% prior; Y/Y: 0.3%e v 0.3% prior

10:30am Crude Oil Inventories

2:00pm FOMC Interest Rate Decision: No changes to interest rates expected; could discuss yield curve control

2:30pm Fed Chair Powell Press Conference 

Thursday, June 11th       

Euro-area finance ministers meet to discuss the EU’s recovery package and Eurogroup presidency succession.

2:30am EUR May Bank of France Ind. Sentiment: No est v 48 prior

8:30am USD Weekly Initial Jobless Claims

6:30pm NZD New Zealand May Business Manufacturing PMI: No est v 26.1 prior

6:45pm NZD New Zealand May Food Prices M/M: No est v 1.0% prior

Friday, June 12th

5:00am EUR Eurozone April Industrial Production M/M: -20.0%e v -11.3% prior; Y/Y: -30.0%e v -12.9% prior

10:00am USD Jun Preliminary Michigan Sentiment: 76.0e v 72.3 prior

1:00pm Baker Hughes US rig count

Sovereign Rating Updates after the close:

–        Fitch on Germany

–        Fitch on Spain

–        DBRS on UK

–        Moody’s on Norway

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Vaccine-skeptical mothers say bad health care experiences made them distrust the medical system

Vaccine skepticism, and the broader medical mistrust and far-reaching anxieties it reflects, is not just a fringe position in the 21st century.

Women's own negative medical experiences influence their vaccine decisions for their kids. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Why would a mother reject safe, potentially lifesaving vaccines for her child?

Popular writing on vaccine skepticism often denigrates white and middle-class mothers who reject some or all recommended vaccines as hysterical, misinformed, zealous or ignorant. Mainstream media and medical providers increasingly dismiss vaccine refusal as a hallmark of American fringe ideology, far-right radicalization or anti-intellectualism.

But vaccine skepticism, and the broader medical mistrust and far-reaching anxieties it reflects, is not just a fringe position.

Pediatric vaccination rates had already fallen sharply before the COVID-19 pandemic, ushering in the return of measles, mumps and chickenpox to the U.S. in 2019. Four years after the pandemic’s onset, a growing number of Americans doubt the safety, efficacy and necessity of routine vaccines. Childhood vaccination rates have declined substantially across the U.S., which public health officials attribute to a “spillover” effect from pandemic-related vaccine skepticism and blame for the recent measles outbreak. Almost half of American mothers rated the risk of side effects from the MMR vaccine as medium or high in a 2023 survey by Pew Research.

Recommended vaccines go through rigorous testing and evaluation, and the most infamous charges of vaccine-induced injury have been thoroughly debunked. How do so many mothers – primary caregivers and health care decision-makers for their families – become wary of U.S. health care and one of its most proven preventive technologies?

I’m a cultural anthropologist who studies the ways feelings and beliefs circulate in American society. To investigate what’s behind mothers’ vaccine skepticism, I interviewed vaccine-skeptical mothers about their perceptions of existing and novel vaccines. What they told me complicates sweeping and overly simplified portrayals of their misgivings by pointing to the U.S. health care system itself. The medical system’s failures and harms against women gave rise to their pervasive vaccine skepticism and generalized medical mistrust.

The seeds of women’s skepticism

I conducted this ethnographic research in Oregon from 2020 to 2021 with predominantly white mothers between the ages of 25 and 60. My findings reveal new insights about the origins of vaccine skepticism among this demographic. These women traced their distrust of vaccines, and of U.S. health care more generally, to ongoing and repeated instances of medical harm they experienced from childhood through childbirth.

girl sitting on exam table faces a doctor viewer can see from behind
A woman’s own childhood mistreatment by a doctor can shape her health care decisions for the next generation. FatCamera/E+ via Getty Images

As young girls in medical offices, they were touched without consent, yelled at, disbelieved or threatened. One mother, Susan, recalled her pediatrician abruptly lying her down and performing a rectal exam without her consent at the age of 12. Another mother, Luna, shared how a pediatrician once threatened to have her institutionalized when she voiced anxiety at a routine physical.

As women giving birth, they often felt managed, pressured or discounted. One mother, Meryl, told me, “I felt like I was coerced under distress into Pitocin and induction” during labor. Another mother, Hallie, shared, “I really battled with my provider” throughout the childbirth experience.

Together with the convoluted bureaucracy of for-profit health care, experiences of medical harm contributed to “one million little touch points of information,” in one mother’s phrase, that underscored the untrustworthiness and harmful effects of U.S. health care writ large.

A system that doesn’t serve them

Many mothers I interviewed rejected the premise that public health entities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration had their children’s best interests at heart. Instead, they tied childhood vaccination and the more recent development of COVID-19 vaccines to a bloated pharmaceutical industry and for-profit health care model. As one mother explained, “The FDA is not looking out for our health. They’re looking out for their wealth.”

After ongoing negative medical encounters, the women I interviewed lost trust not only in providers but the medical system. Frustrating experiences prompted them to “do their own research” in the name of bodily autonomy. Such research often included books, articles and podcasts deeply critical of vaccines, public health care and drug companies.

These materials, which have proliferated since 2020, cast light on past vaccine trials gone awry, broader histories of medical harm and abuse, the rapid growth of the recommended vaccine schedule in the late 20th century and the massive profits reaped from drug development and for-profit health care. They confirmed and hardened women’s suspicions about U.S. health care.

hands point to a handwritten vaccination record
The number of recommended childhood vaccines has increased over time. Mike Adaskaveg/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

The stories these women told me add nuance to existing academic research into vaccine skepticism. Most studies have considered vaccine skepticism among primarily white and middle-class parents to be an outgrowth of today’s neoliberal parenting and intensive mothering. Researchers have theorized vaccine skepticism among white and well-off mothers to be an outcome of consumer health care and its emphasis on individual choice and risk reduction. Other researchers highlight vaccine skepticism as a collective identity that can provide mothers with a sense of belonging.

Seeing medical care as a threat to health

The perceptions mothers shared are far from isolated or fringe, and they are not unreasonable. Rather, they represent a growing population of Americans who hold the pervasive belief that U.S. health care harms more than it helps.

Data suggests that the number of Americans harmed in the course of treatment remains high, with incidents of medical error in the U.S. outnumbering those in peer countries, despite more money being spent per capita on health care. One 2023 study found that diagnostic error, one kind of medical error, accounted for 371,000 deaths and 424,000 permanent disabilities among Americans every year.

Studies reveal particularly high rates of medical error in the treatment of vulnerable communities, including women, people of color, disabled, poor, LGBTQ+ and gender-nonconforming individuals and the elderly. The number of U.S. women who have died because of pregnancy-related causes has increased substantially in recent years, with maternal death rates doubling between 1999 and 2019.

The prevalence of medical harm points to the relevance of philosopher Ivan Illich’s manifesto against the “disease of medical progress.” In his 1982 book “Medical Nemesis,” he insisted that rather than being incidental, harm flows inevitably from the structure of institutionalized and for-profit health care itself. Illich wrote, “The medical establishment has become a major threat to health,” and has created its own “epidemic” of iatrogenic illness – that is, illness caused by a physician or the health care system itself.

Four decades later, medical mistrust among Americans remains alarmingly high. Only 23% of Americans express high confidence in the medical system. The United States ranks 24th out of 29 peer high-income countries for the level of public trust in medical providers.

For people like the mothers I interviewed, who have experienced real or perceived harm at the hands of medical providers; have felt belittled, dismissed or disbelieved in a doctor’s office; or spent countless hours fighting to pay for, understand or use health benefits, skepticism and distrust are rational responses to lived experience. These attitudes do not emerge solely from ignorance, conspiracy thinking, far-right extremism or hysteria, but rather the historical and ongoing harms endemic to the U.S. health care system itself.

Johanna Richlin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Is the National Guard a solution to school violence?

School board members in one Massachusetts district have called for the National Guard to address student misbehavior. Does their request have merit? A…




Every now and then, an elected official will suggest bringing in the National Guard to deal with violence that seems out of control.

A city council member in Washington suggested doing so in 2023 to combat the city’s rising violence. So did a Pennsylvania representative concerned about violence in Philadelphia in 2022.

In February 2024, officials in Massachusetts requested the National Guard be deployed to a more unexpected location – to a high school.

Brockton High School has been struggling with student fights, drug use and disrespect toward staff. One school staffer said she was trampled by a crowd rushing to see a fight. Many teachers call in sick to work each day, leaving the school understaffed.

As a researcher who studies school discipline, I know Brockton’s situation is part of a national trend of principals and teachers who have been struggling to deal with perceived increases in student misbehavior since the pandemic.

A review of how the National Guard has been deployed to schools in the past shows the guard can provide service to schools in cases of exceptional need. Yet, doing so does not always end well.

How have schools used the National Guard before?

In 1957, the National Guard blocked nine Black students’ attempts to desegregate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. While the governor claimed this was for safety, the National Guard effectively delayed desegregation of the school – as did the mobs of white individuals outside. Ironically, weeks later, the National Guard and the U.S. Army would enforce integration and the safety of the “Little Rock Nine” on orders from President Dwight Eisenhower.

Three men from the mob around Little Rock’s Central High School are driven from the area at bayonet-point by soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division on Sept. 25, 1957. The presence of the troops permitted the nine Black students to enter the school with only minor background incidents. Bettmann via Getty Images

One of the most tragic cases of the National Guard in an educational setting came in 1970 at Kent State University. The National Guard was brought to campus to respond to protests over American involvement in the Vietnam War. The guardsmen fatally shot four students.

In 2012, then-Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California, proposed funding to use the National Guard to provide school security in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting. The bill was not passed.

More recently, the National Guard filled teacher shortages in New Mexico’s K-12 schools during the quarantines and sickness of the pandemic. While the idea did not catch on nationally, teachers and school personnel in New Mexico generally reported positive experiences.

Can the National Guard address school discipline?

The National Guard’s mission includes responding to domestic emergencies. Members of the guard are part-time service members who maintain civilian lives. Some are students themselves in colleges and universities. Does this mission and training position the National Guard to respond to incidents of student misbehavior and school violence?

On the one hand, New Mexico’s pandemic experience shows the National Guard could be a stopgap to staffing shortages in unusual circumstances. Similarly, the guards’ eventual role in ensuring student safety during school desegregation in Arkansas demonstrates their potential to address exceptional cases in schools, such as racially motivated mob violence. And, of course, many schools have had military personnel teaching and mentoring through Junior ROTC programs for years.

Those seeking to bring the National Guard to Brockton High School have made similar arguments. They note that staffing shortages have contributed to behavior problems.

One school board member stated: “I know that the first thought that comes to mind when you hear ‘National Guard’ is uniform and arms, and that’s not the case. They’re people like us. They’re educated. They’re trained, and we just need their assistance right now. … We need more staff to support our staff and help the students learn (and) have a safe environment.”

Yet, there are reasons to question whether calls for the National Guard are the best way to address school misconduct and behavior. First, the National Guard is a temporary measure that does little to address the underlying causes of student misbehavior and school violence.

Research has shown that students benefit from effective teaching, meaningful and sustained relationships with school personnel and positive school environments. Such educative and supportive environments have been linked to safer schools. National Guard members are not trained as educators or counselors and, as a temporary measure, would not remain in the school to establish durable relationships with students.

What is more, a military presence – particularly if uniformed or armed – may make students feel less welcome at school or escalate situations.

Schools have already seen an increase in militarization. For example, school police departments have gone so far as to acquire grenade launchers and mine-resistant armored vehicles.

Research has found that school police make students more likely to be suspended and to be arrested. Similarly, while a National Guard presence may address misbehavior temporarily, their presence could similarly result in students experiencing punitive or exclusionary responses to behavior.

Students deserve a solution other than the guard

School violence and disruptions are serious problems that can harm students. Unfortunately, schools and educators have increasingly viewed student misbehavior as a problem to be dealt with through suspensions and police involvement.

A number of people – from the NAACP to the local mayor and other members of the school board – have criticized Brockton’s request for the National Guard. Governor Maura Healey has said she will not deploy the guard to the school.

However, the case of Brockton High School points to real needs. Educators there, like in other schools nationally, are facing a tough situation and perceive a lack of support and resources.

Many schools need more teachers and staff. Students need access to mentors and counselors. With these resources, schools can better ensure educators are able to do their jobs without military intervention.

F. Chris Curran has received funding from the US Department of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the American Civil Liberties Union for work on school safety and discipline.

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Spread & Containment

Chinese migration to US is nothing new – but the reasons for recent surge at Southern border are

A gloomier economic outlook in China and tightening state control have combined with the influence of social media in encouraging migration.




Chinese migrants wait for a boat after having walked across the Darien Gap from Colombia to Panama. AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko

The brief closure of the Darien Gap – a perilous 66-mile jungle journey linking South American and Central America – in February 2024 temporarily halted one of the Western Hemisphere’s busiest migration routes. It also highlighted its importance to a small but growing group of people that depend on that pass to make it to the U.S.: Chinese migrants.

While a record 2.5 million migrants were detained at the United States’ southwestern land border in 2023, only about 37,000 were from China.

I’m a scholar of migration and China. What I find most remarkable in these figures is the speed with which the number of Chinese migrants is growing. Nearly 10 times as many Chinese migrants crossed the southern border in 2023 as in 2022. In December 2023 alone, U.S. Border Patrol officials reported encounters with about 6,000 Chinese migrants, in contrast to the 900 they reported a year earlier in December 2022.

The dramatic uptick is the result of a confluence of factors that range from a slowing Chinese economy and tightening political control by President Xi Jinping to the easy access to online information on Chinese social media about how to make the trip.

Middle-class migrants

Journalists reporting from the border have generalized that Chinese migrants come largely from the self-employed middle class. They are not rich enough to use education or work opportunities as a means of entry, but they can afford to fly across the world.

According to a report from Reuters, in many cases those attempting to make the crossing are small-business owners who saw irreparable damage to their primary or sole source of income due to China’s “zero COVID” policies. The migrants are women, men and, in some cases, children accompanying parents from all over China.

Chinese nationals have long made the journey to the United States seeking economic opportunity or political freedom. Based on recent media interviews with migrants coming by way of South America and the U.S.’s southern border, the increase in numbers seems driven by two factors.

First, the most common path for immigration for Chinese nationals is through a student visa or H1-B visa for skilled workers. But travel restrictions during the early months of the pandemic temporarily stalled migration from China. Immigrant visas are out of reach for many Chinese nationals without family or vocation-based preferences, and tourist visas require a personal interview with a U.S. consulate to gauge the likelihood of the traveler returning to China.

Social media tutorials

Second, with the legal routes for immigration difficult to follow, social media accounts have outlined alternatives for Chinese who feel an urgent need to emigrate. Accounts on Douyin, the TikTok clone available in mainland China, document locations open for visa-free travel by Chinese passport holders. On TikTok itself, migrants could find information on where to cross the border, as well as information about transportation and smugglers, commonly known as “snakeheads,” who are experienced with bringing migrants on the journey north.

With virtual private networks, immigrants can also gather information from U.S. apps such as X, YouTube, Facebook and other sites that are otherwise blocked by Chinese censors.

Inspired by social media posts that both offer practical guides and celebrate the journey, thousands of Chinese migrants have been flying to Ecuador, which allows visa-free travel for Chinese citizens, and then making their way over land to the U.S.-Mexican border.

This journey involves trekking through the Darien Gap, which despite its notoriety as a dangerous crossing has become an increasingly common route for migrants from Venezuela, Colombia and all over the world.

In addition to information about crossing the Darien Gap, these social media posts highlight the best places to cross the border. This has led to a large share of Chinese asylum seekers following the same path to Mexico’s Baja California to cross the border near San Diego.

Chinese migration to US is nothing new

The rapid increase in numbers and the ease of accessing information via social media on their smartphones are new innovations. But there is a longer history of Chinese migration to the U.S. over the southern border – and at the hands of smugglers.

From 1882 to 1943, the United States banned all immigration by male Chinese laborers and most Chinese women. A combination of economic competition and racist concerns about Chinese culture and assimilability ensured that the Chinese would be the first ethnic group to enter the United States illegally.

With legal options for arrival eliminated, some Chinese migrants took advantage of the relative ease of movement between the U.S. and Mexico during those years. While some migrants adopted Mexican names and spoke enough Spanish to pass as migrant workers, others used borrowed identities or paperwork from Chinese people with a right of entry, like U.S.-born citizens. Similarly to what we are seeing today, it was middle- and working-class Chinese who more frequently turned to illegal means. Those with money and education were able to circumvent the law by arriving as students or members of the merchant class, both exceptions to the exclusion law.

Though these Chinese exclusion laws officially ended in 1943, restrictions on migration from Asia continued until Congress revised U.S. immigration law in the Hart-Celler Act in 1965. New priorities for immigrant visas that stressed vocational skills as well as family reunification, alongside then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s policies of “reform and opening,” helped many Chinese migrants make their way legally to the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s.

Even after the restrictive immigration laws ended, Chinese migrants without the education or family connections often needed for U.S. visas continued to take dangerous routes with the help of “snakeheads.”

One notorious incident occurred in 1993, when a ship called the Golden Venture ran aground near New York, resulting in the drowning deaths of 10 Chinese migrants and the arrest and conviction of the snakeheads attempting to smuggle hundreds of Chinese migrants into the United States.

Existing tensions

Though there is plenty of precedent for Chinese migrants arriving without documentation, Chinese asylum seekers have better odds of success than many of the other migrants making the dangerous journey north.

An estimated 55% of Chinese asylum seekers are successful in making their claims, often citing political oppression and lack of religious freedom in China as motivations. By contrast, only 29% of Venezuelans seeking asylum in the U.S. have their claim granted, and the number is even lower for Colombians, at 19%.

The new halt on the migratory highway from the south has affected thousands of new migrants seeking refuge in the U.S. But the mix of push factors from their home country and encouragement on social media means that Chinese migrants will continue to seek routes to America.

And with both migration and the perceived threat from China likely to be features of the upcoming U.S. election, there is a risk that increased Chinese migration could become politicized, leaning further into existing tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Meredith Oyen does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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