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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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Asylum Seekers and Overstayers

Asylum Seekers and Overstayers

(p.183) 7 Asylum Seekers and Overstayers
Born Out of Place

Nicole Constable

University of California Press

This chapter tells the stories of the most precarious of the mothers, those who are overstayers (sometimes referred to as “illegal” or “undocumented” migrants) and those who file asylum or torture claims to extend their time in Hong Kong. This chapter and the previous one describe “tactics” that mothers use, in de Certeau’s sense of the arts of the unempowered. Both chapters illustrate the importance of remaining in Hong Kong after a baby is born, the value of “time” and the means by which women manage to stay and to subsist. Unlike most political refugees, who experience as “wasted time” the time they spend in Hong Kong waiting for their claims to be processed and waiting for resettlement, most of the mothers in this chapter eagerly utilize time-consuming legal processes to remain in Hong Kong as long as possible. Their stories—including those of time spent in prison—show how bureaucratic processes provide time to adjust to parenthood, to create “temporary marriages,” to break the news to parents back home, to file paternity claims, to make money, or to formulate future plans.

Keywords:   marginality, tactics, torture claims, asylum claims, prison, illegal work, time, temporary marriage, paternity claims, legal claims

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