Member Publication: Seeking transnational social protection during a global pandemic: The case of Chinese immigrants in The United States

Please check out the recent publication by OOW members Xuemei Cao, and Ken Chih-Yan Sun:

Cao, Xuemei, and Ken Chih-Yan Sun. 2021. “Seeking Transnational Social Protection during a Global Pandemic: The Case of Chinese Immigrants in the United States.” Social Science & Medicine 287, Online First.


Drawing on in-depth interviews with Chinese immigrants in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, this article examines the construction of immigrants’ transnational social safety net and its gaps as the pandemic struck their home and host societies successively. Building upon the scholarship on transnational migration and transnational social protection, we argue that understanding how immigrants manage moments of crisis requires a cross-border optic. As we show, transnational connections can be translated into valuable material and immaterial resources. However, such protections are contingent upon the reception of their local receiving communities. The perceived hierarchy between the sending and receiving society, coupled with the U.S.’ lack of experience with infectious disease outbreaks, limits the extent to which immigrants could put their transnational knowledge and resources to use. Our analyses shed new light upon the circumstances that empower and constrain immigrants as the global pandemic unsettles their daily routines.

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