Coming to America

The long, harsh odyssey of a Chinese illegal smuggled from Fujian province to New Jersey

It was the most dangerous thing Chen Canting had done in his life. But as he crouched in a small fishing boat in the south China province of Fujian, he had no idea just how perilous. A dozen others huddled in the boat. Some of their faces were familiar, but the 20-year-old knew none of them by name. They had just one thing in common: all were bound for America. Illegally.

Chen told no one he was going except his father. The 50-year-old farmer from Meiyou village was not really surprised. Canting, the second oldest of his five children, was the...

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