Forbidden Workers

Illegal Chinese Immigrants and American Labor

A “gripping exposé” (Publishers Weekly) of the conditions faced by Chinese illegal aliens in the United States

“An astute and powerful analysis. . . . In the face of debilitated U.S. labor movement, this book offers critical insight into the present and future conditions for all workers in this country.” —Booklist

Hailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer as “a must-read,” Forbidden Workers tells for the first time the full story of recent Chinese immigration to this country. Widely praised from the Wall Street Journal to Asian Week, the book uses the Chinese experience to shed light on broader issues of immigration from countries around the world. Author Peter Kwong has interviewed countless immigrant workers, activists, Chinatown powerbrokers, and “snakeheads” (smugglers who bring immigrants to the United States) and has traveled to China to talk with families of immigrants. The result is an unprecedented look at an invisible community within American society—and at a billion-dollar industry whose commodity is workers who labor under conditions approaching modern slavery.


Forbidden Workers is destined to become a classic.”
The Wall Street Journal
“A provocative and alarming book that should appeal to a wide audience.”
Library Journal
“An honest look at an appalling situation.”
Kirkus Reviews

Books by Peter Kwong

Chinese America
The Untold Story of America's Oldest New Community

Peter Kwong, Dušanka Miščević

Chinatown, N.Y.
Labor and Politics, 1930–1950

Peter Kwong

Goodreads Reviews