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Born Out of PlaceMigrant Mothers and the Politics of International Labor$
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Nicole Constable

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520282018

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520282018.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Wives and Workers

Wives and Workers

(p.155) 6 Wives and Workers
Born Out of Place

Nicole Constable

University of California Press

Migrant mothers’ situations can be arranged along a continuum of privilege and uncertainty. Citizenship, privilege, and belonging are on one end, and marginality, exclusion, and illegality on the other. This chapter explores the two most privileged categories: mothers who marry local residents and mothers who manage to maintain their worker status. Women officially married to local residents are considered the luckiest and are most likely to gain the privileges of citizenship (or “right of abode”). Less privileged and excluded from citizenship—but with the right to work—are foreign domestic workers who get pregnant and give birth in Hong Kong. Most women return home or take their babies home to be cared for by relatives, then return to work and resume sending remittances, a rare few manage to keep their children in Hong Kong and to obtain residency. A few mothers successfully utilize legal tactics in a struggle for their own or their children’s right of abode, as in the famous case of the Domingo family.

Keywords:   citizenship, marriage, domestic workers, right of abode, permanent residency, heteronormative privilege, Domingo family, legal tactics

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