Chinese Immigrants Cancel Trips After Trump’s Executive Order

Parcel delivery businesses feel the effects of Trump’s executive order (Photo by Shuhan Yu via World Journal)

“Many Fujianese immigrants don’t dare go back to China anymore. Many have cancelled their trips,” said people working in the delivery business in the Chinese community. This industry often relies on foot soldiers to bring packages back and forth between the U.S. and China. Since President Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-dominated countries took effect, they all found their businesses suffering a big blow.  

Although China is not among the countries affected by the ban, it has left many Chinese immigrants in a panic. Some tourist agencies are also holding their breath awaiting the visa policies Trump may announce in the future, and worry that the possible tightening on visas may affect those in the tourism industry that cater to the Chinese community.

Ms. Jiang, who runs Lang Qi Delivery, [which does business] between China and the U.S., said on Feb. 2 that many immigrants from Fuzhou worry that once they go back to China, they may not be allowed to return to the U.S. again. So many cancelled flights they had booked earlier. [Translator’s note: Many immigrants from Fuzhou were smuggled into the U.S. initially and obtained their immigration status by applying for political asylum. A rumor spreading in the community recently said the president was about to sign another executive order, this one banning asylum seekers who were able to go back to their home countries from entering the U.S. again.]

“Our business relies completely on the senior Fujianese immigrants who frequently go back to visit their families and friends. They are our deliverymen,” said Jiang. “Now they don’t dare go back anymore. Our business has dropped 70 to 80 percent.”  

Gecheng Lin, general manager of the New York office of Xiamen Airlines, said he heard about the panic among passengers brought by the president’s executive order. But he said the company’s nonstop route between New York and Fuzhou, which just was inaugurated on Jan. 15, has not been affected yet.  

Renrang Song Yuan, vice president of L&L Travel, a travel agency focusing on the Chinese market, said the majority of their clients are tourists from China. At the moment, their bookings have not been affected. But the protests at the airports brought some inconvenience for the tour guides who have to pick up and send off clients. “Our concern is that the unpredictability of the president may bring unforeseeable changes in the future. If the visa policies are tightened up, it will hit the tourism industry heavily,” he said.

Weiqing Gao, manager of the Trans Pacific Express, another travel agency in the Chinese community, said that since former President Obama announced that Chinese [tourist and business] visas would be valid for 10 years, the number of tourists from China to the U.S. has grown exponentially. But if Trump goes in the opposite direction to tighten immigration policies, curb tourist visas and raise tariffs, it will not only batter the tourism industry, but also reduce business interactions and hurt trade between China and the U.S.

But Gao said he believes in the pendulum effect in American politics. “Trump is not likely to go that far. The Democrats will hold him back. The U.S. has always been stretching its arms out to embrace immigrants from all over the world,” said Gao. “Chinese immigrants are known to be law-abiding. They should be fine.”    

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