Beginning in the 1990s, migration scholars in the United States began to pay greater attention to the experiences of youth and the children of migrants. Heeding the call of Portes and Zhou (1993), many looked to the experiences of children to measure the extent of immigrant integration. In contrast, children including young persons have remained largely invisible in studies of migration in Asia (Alipio et al. 2015). Perhaps this is because most do not migrate but instead stay behind in the country of origin as members of transnational families (Beazley and Ball, this issue; Parreñas 2005). It is only in recent years that scholars have begun to focus on the question of youth and children in Asian migration. In 2015, Children's Geography dedicated a special issue to Asian children and transnational migration, which it identified as comprising four primary groups of left-behind children of migrant parents, educational migrants, child labor migrants, and adoptees. This special issue advanced the literature by looking at migration from the point of view of children including “young people.” Suggesting the continued need to rectify the absence of children and youth in the literature on Asian migration, Children's Geography in 2018 published another special issue that focused specifically on the emotional responses of South and Southeast Asian children to their experiences of migration.

Our special issue builds on these previous discussions and the knowledge they advance on the everyday experiences of Asian children and youth in two ways: in an expansionist sense and by adding more nuance. As for the former, we develop these discussions by foregrounding the macrostructures that shape migrant experiences. As we do so, we also include in our examination of migration the perspectives of children and youth, thus adding more nuance to existing debates and analyses. Articles in this special issue examine how states and economies shape migration through the experiences of children and youth. By foregrounding the macro in our analysis, we are able to provide a critical perspective on the structural inequalities that define migration in Asia. This special issue calls attention to the ethnic exclusion faced by Vietnamese settlers in Cambodia (Rumsby, this issue) and undocumented and stateless children in Sabah, Malaysia (Cheong, this issue), the gendered statelessness that confronts Korean-Vietnamese children when they return to Vietnam (Iwai, this issue), and the geopolitical and economic inequalities that shape migration flows within Asia including Indonesia-Malaysia (Beazley and Ball, this issue), Hong Kong–Mainland China (Waters and Leung, this issue), and South Korea–Philippines (Choi, this issue).

To call attention to the rise of South-to-South migration, this special issue solely examines migration flows within Asia. In doing so, we show the emergence of “unlikely” destinations, specifically drawing attention to the flow of Korean migrants to the Philippines, Vietnamese migrants to Cambodia, and Korean-Vietnamese children to Vietnam (see also Kondakci, Bedenlier, and Zawacki-Richter 2018; Yang 2018). As illustrated in this special issue, “youth and children in Asian migration” represent a diverse group. Educational migrants, for instance, are diverse in composition as they include daily border crossers between China and Hong Kong (Waters and Leung, this issue), primary and secondary students from mainland China in Singapore (Huang and Yeoh 2005), and Korean English-language learners in the Philippines (Choi, this issue). Likewise, the “second generation” includes not only children of immigrant parents but also children from international marriages, undocumented children of temporary labor migrants, children raised in transnational households, and stateless children born outside the territorial boundaries of their citizenship. Not all qualify for permanent residency. Some are authorized while others are unauthorized. And lastly, some have crossed borders while others have always been territorially bound (e.g., children of undocumented migrants in Cambodia or Malaysia; see Cheong and Rumsby, this issue). Their political status—whether as stateless children, children who are ineligible for sponsored migration, or undocumented children—is one we pay critical attention to in our analysis of their experiences.

Children of Migration and the State

Globally migrant and nonmigrant children and youth have become central to contests around national, ethnic or racial and class boundaries—and moral panics around them. In her pathbreaking book Children and the Politics of Culture, the anthropologist Sharon Stephens (1995) ventured the argument that children have emerged as important points of reference in the diverse identity claims that constitute various cultural contests around the world. Children have come to be included in the increasing preoccupation, if not obsession, with the guarding of boundaries and borders of national identity, ethnic purity, and the family—and, thus, the subject of various forms of exclusion. Such trends and developments warrant the need to bring the study of children and youth migration into the analysis of politics, economics, and culture globally as well as in regional contexts, as for example “Asia.”

In many subregions of Asia, human mobility is typically perceived as a challenge to norms of state sovereignty and noninterference on which governments place high importance, partly as the result of unfinished nation-building projects in the context of decolonization (Asis, Piper, and Raghuram 2019). Intraregional migration in Asia has a long history but the increased involvement of nation-states in promoting, controlling, or limiting migratory movements has occurred on the basis of a specific regulatory framework: strictly temporary contract migration. Yet, while many Asian nations doggedly defend their national sovereignty, in reality management of cross-border migration has proven difficult. This can be attributed to physical geography and ethno-cultural composition of Asia's societies divided by artificially drawn and porous borders, faced with demographic challenges and the political economy of global supply and care chains—and migrants’ ability to circumvent and navigate rigid and formal regulatory frameworks (Piper, Rosewarne, and Withers 2017). As far as regional governance of migration is concerned in a formal sense, however, the overall trend in Asia indicates the supremacy of economic interests and security concerns to which a rights-based approach to migration is typically subordinated, as evident from the difficulties encountered in adopting a declaration for migrant workers’ rights and other rights-based frameworks that exist in most other regions in the world (Piper 2017).

In Asia, the prioritization of economics and security over rights manifests in the plight of stateless children, meaning “children without a state” (Bhabha 2011: 1). Statelessness emerges from either the absence of a legal identity (de jure and de facto statelessness) or from the inability to prove one's legal identity (effectively stateless). The issue of children's statelessness is one that migration scholars have ignored, since, according to Bhabha, “states have innocently overlooked the problems of migrant children and their correlative duties because of a dual perception lacuna: on issues of migration, they have focused on adults; on issues of child welfare, they have focused on citizens” (19).

As states prioritize economics and security over rights, temporary labor migration schemas may result in child statelessness as we see with the case of multigenerational transnational families in Indonesia (Ball, Butt, and Beazley 2017), children “born out of place” in Hong Kong (Constable 2014), or return migrants in Thailand (Ishii 2016). In their study of four known rural migrant-sending communities in East Lombok, Indonesia, Leslie Butt and her colleagues found a mere 12 percent rate of birth registrations among children in transnational families. Without legal documents, most children are rendered effectively stateless. Migrant workers from this area are often low-skilled laborers who, as part of multigenerational transnational families, are caught in a “cycle of high-risk mobility” (Ball, Butt, and Beazley 2017: 318–21) and a “multigenerational legacy of statelessness, poverty, and unauthorized migration” (321). They confront various structural barriers to child registration including the high registration fees required by the government, the stigma of single motherhood, or the fulfillment of traditional social norms such as meeting the requirement of the signature of both parents (Ball, Butt, and Beazley 2014: 9).

The trumping of security over rights also manifests in the legal status of children and youth “born out of place” to domestic workers in Hong Kong, who are rendered de facto stateless by their birth in a territory where jus sanguinis determines citizenship and where migrants are ineligible for permanent residency or are without rights to reproduction. According to Constable (2014), children born to domestic workers in Hong Kong live “bare lives” (Agamben 1998) in “zones of social abandonment” (Biehl 2005). Countries where we find a similar situation of statelessness among children of domestic workers would include most of their other known destinations including Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan in East Asia and Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and among others Saudi Arabia in West Asia. In all of these countries, domestic workers not only are ineligible for permanent residency but also cannot sponsor the migration of their dependents. De facto statelessness applies to other groups of children of migration in Asia, including multigenerational ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia whose ambiguous legal status results in discrimination against them in the labor market and schools (Rumsby, this issue). Korean-Vietnamese children including youth who return to the rural villages of their migrant mothers in Vietnam after growing up in South Korea also face de facto statelessness (Le 2016), as described by Iwai in this issue, because of gendered policies that require paternal consent for the registration of the child, which poses a challenge for mothers who flee situations of domestic abuse or nonconsensual divorce.

Finally, children and youth also experience statelessness affectively as it emerges in their feelings or experiences despite their legal claim to a territory. This is the case among Japanese-Thai children returning to Thailand with migrant mothers after the failure of a cross-border marriage. According to Ishii (2016), mismatched nationality results in feelings of exclusion from full citizenship for these children; they face exclusion for not being “proper” Thai (127), do not attain rights or privileges from having a Japanese nationality in a rural Thai village (131), and are at risk of becoming undocumented migrants in Thailand. Affective statelessness also applies to Japanese-Filipino children who confront feelings of “ambivalent citizenship” (Suzuki 2015). Beginning in 2008, children born out of wedlock to Filipino women and Japanese men could finally obtain Japanese nationality. However, legal membership in Japan has not protected them from ethnic discrimination, which they cannot flee by returning to the Philippines where they would no longer be considered citizens (Suzuki 2015: 130). This double displacement, according to Suzuki, renders these children effectively stateless.

Theorizing the affective statelessness of children, Allerton (2014: 8) asserts that “in considering statelessness, we must not neglect broader issues of justice and human rights, or the fact that children of migrants may not simply desire ‘documents’ but recognition of their right to be considered ‘people from here.’ ” To write an ethnographic account of statelessness, it is not statelessness that must be overcome, but rather exclusion from the nationality to which migrants feel they belong (2). Stateless children do not suffer deprivation of a nationality, but an exclusion from the nationality/society in which they believe or want to belong to.

The specific way of state management of migration in Asia—as we see with the rise of statelessness among children of migration in the region—is, thus, related to specific constellations of state, market, and social relations linked to specific development pathways and ethno-cultural politics. The so-called national territories of modern South and Southeast Asia, for instance, were drawn after the departure of colonial powers several decades ago, when the new “developmental states and postcolonial imaginaries” also adopted the full package of Western governmentality, including the ideas of strict sovereignty and territorial delimitation. This provides a partial explanation for the tacit approval of refugee populations under conditions of nonratification of international instruments (Nah 2019; Moretti 2018).

International human rights treaties provide children and youth who reside outside of their country of origin, either accompanied by or separated from their parents or caregivers, with specific rights and obligate signatory states to provide for their protection. The 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children is an important codification of both children's age-distinctive entitlements and the responsibilities of duty bearers (i.e., states). The UNCRC happens to be the most widely (and rapidly!) ratified human rights treaty in history, with 194 countries as state parties, which means all countries in the world except for Somalia, South Sudan, and the United States. Yet the rights of children and youth in migration are only rarely asserted as such in Asia, either in courts or by civil society (although there is some variation across the subregions and individual countries in Asia). The main reason for this as suggested by Grugel (2015) is that migration is embedded culturally and in policy terms within the domain of labor markets and economic development, not as an established space where the rights of individuals are in play and asserted by law. Rights are typically equated with citizenship and citizenship in turn with nationality, while migration tends to be equated with economic processes that are seen as somehow beyond the control of states. Moreover, human rights debates are still primarily conducted by separating out civil and political liberties from social and economic rights. In Asia, the understanding is that the former cannot be granted before the latter are in place—that is, economic development has to precede the granting of civil and political liberties. In addition, the notion that migrants have everyday rights is a completely novel idea.

Despite the dominance of temporary migration and the insecurity involved in undocumented migration, migration is deeply embedded in economic, cultural, political, and educational life of a very large proportion of families in Asia. Its intraregional flows are deeply embedded in the lives of many poor families. The traditional pattern of migration, however, is seen as involving the departure of an adult—and given the feminization of migration in much of Asia, it is today more often the mother/wife—with children and youth being left behind. Yet children and youth are affected by migration in many other forms, through migration with their parents or having been born in the destination country but without recognition as citizens or as returnees to the country of origin or their mother's origin, but without holding their mother's or parents’ citizenship. It is not known how many are affected by migration in these various forms in Asia and elsewhere. Children and youth are often obfuscated in statistics and thus from policy making. They are neglected as persons, participants, and the locus of important events in the process of culture and politics in academic studies also. Although there is a growing sociology of childhood and the new field of geographies of childhood has moved beyond the West, children had for long been absent from theoretical discussions about citizenship, democracy, and governance (Kehily 2004; Kulynych 2001). It has been only fairly recently that children and their claims to rights have become more prominent along with the issues of social exclusion and governance (James, Jenks, and Prout 1998). The specific circumstances and experiences of children and youth in migration, however, are still marginalized in such concerns. The fact that childhood functions as a particularly important site for expressions of national identity and nation-building projects requires the inclusion of migrant children and youth in such debates.

Educational Migration

There are currently 5 million international students enrolled in postsecondary educational institutions outside of their home country for degree courses or language acquisition (ICEF Monitor 2015; Institute of International Education 2017). More than 58 percent of international students are from the advancing capitalist Asian economies of China, India, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea, where global and technological transformations of the political economy have paralleled major changes in the class structure of various Asian societies (Chu 1996). The continent of Asia has played an important role in the aspirations and imaginations of students and continues to operates as the largest regional sender of international students for institutions of higher education (Brooks and Waters 2011; Collins 2013). Western imaginaries and languages continue to inform the national development projects of postcolonial and postimperial states (N. Kim 2008; Park 2011), with the most popular destinations concentrated in North America and western Europe (Waters 2005, 2006). The increasingly disparate pathways of migration to places beyond traditional destinations in the West/Global North offer a window into understanding the larger hierarchical landscape of educational destinations in the global economy.

Earlier literature examined educational migration as a lens for understanding the cultural reproduction practices of what Robinson and Goodman (1996) have called Asia's new rich. Contemporary Asian elites, faced with low college admission rates, began to send their children abroad to Western countries to reproduce their privileged status (Brooks and Waters 2011; Waters 2006; Ong 1999) distinguishing their families from the expanding local middle classes through the acquisition of Western credentials. These “flexible citizens,” as Aihwa Ong (1999) has called them, enjoyed documented status and were best positioned to maximize opportunities for social reproduction through specific credentials either by returning to their home country to be part of the elite or by leading flexible lives across borders. Because initial studies were concerned with a small “flexible minority” who had the freedom of “choice” to appreciate the trappings offered by an increasingly globalized world, critical research on educational migration was delayed, which Findlay (2011: 165) argued “treat the topic in an unproblematic fashion seeing the process as temporary, invisible and not worthy of theorization.”

Contemporary works have unpacked some of the earlier assumptions of educational migration as a phenomenon of the elite. Following the 1997 Asian financial crisis, educational migration grew dramatically among first-generation middle-class and working-class families who, despite being some of the hardest hit, viewed it as their only recourse in securing economic futures for their children in uncertain times (Huang and Yeoh 2005; Kang and Abelman 2011; Park and Abelmann 2004; Park and Bae 2009). With their heavy focus on the reorganization of families across space (E. Ho 2002; Jeong, You, and Kwon 2014; Le 2016), these works were some of the first to interrogate the broader scope of the global educational landscape, documenting the rise of budget-friendly localized higher educational zones (Waters and Leung 2013) or “regional educational hubs” (Collins et al. 2014; Mok 2011; Sidhu, Ho, and Yeoh 2011) as alternatives to the West and underscoring critical ways that student migration regimes produce stratified pathways for social mobility and for residency in receiving destinations (Luthra and Platt 2016; Pan 2011; Wilken and Ginnerskov-Dahlberg 2017). Incorporating the larger landscape of student demographic and geographic diversity, these studies served as a starting place for exposing the inherent contradictions of capitalistic international education as a neutral or even liberatory process as well as the ways that differential pathways can also mirror the class and gender stratification in home societies (Park and Abelmann 2004).

In this issue, Johanna Waters and Maggi Leung's article on mainland Chinese children's commutes to schools in Hong Kong is an important update to the literature on children's educational migration/mobilities. Challenging dominant paradigms of educational migration as a unidirectional country-to-country phenomenon, this article exposes structural challenges of interregional, cross-border educational mobilities within Asia and the underlying ways it can produce class, educational, and regional inequalities. Their article demonstrates this through the case of “double not” children—that is, children born in Hong Kong to mainland Chinese parents—and how it has given rise to the phenomenon of cross-boundary student migration as those residing in the mainland are ineligible to attend mainland schools because of their Hong Kong citizenship. While attending schools in Hong Kong signals their participation in a localized form of elite education, their experiences as working-class and rural children confronted them with the everyday realities of state governance of children's bodies and futures.

Parallel to the scholarship on educational migration, researchers of youth mobilities and children's geographies have introduced key conversations to existing debates that have challenged the dominant assumptions about the temporality, directionality, and linearity of young people's moves. By centering on the lived experiences of children and young people themselves, these works have highlighted the growing fragmentation and discontinuities of young people's transitions in rapidly changing late capitalist societies and how the structural shift toward flexible labor models has transformed the meaning of adolescence, adulthood, and the life course. Concepts such as “emerging adulthood” (Arnett 2000) and “mobile transitions” (Robertson, Harris, and Baldassar 2018) highlight the ways in which traditional linear pathways from youth to adulthood have become prolonged, destandardized, inverted (Frändberg 2014), and increasingly mobile. Anthropologist Cho Hae-joang (2015), for instance, explains how in South Korea people in their thirties and forties perceive themselves as youth because of their difficulties in securing long-term employment during the current economic crisis and their political opposition to an authoritarian developmentalist regime.

In the last couple of decades, we have also borne witness to the ways in which young people have become a key cornerstone in the disciplining and development of new-age forms of citizenship and membership within governmentality regimes of postcolonial and postauthoritarian states. Johanna Waters and Maggi Leung point out in their article in this issue how children's mobilities are linked to the idea of what Mitchell and Kallio (2017) refer to as “embodied statecraft,” whereby states are produced through the everyday movements of ordinary people. For instance, young people are becoming increasingly linked to national and regional policies for migration such as working holiday programs and the EU Erasmus Program (Robertson, Harris, and Baldassar 2018) to advance national interests for economic development, cultural diplomacy, and global competitiveness. While such institutional moves have indeed smoothed existing channels for travel and lowered costs and barriers to entry, they have also produced multiple, overlapping structural challenges to navigating the legal, racial, gender, and status-based barriers of receiving societies and regions, challenges faced as well by those who have “voluntarily returned” (Lachica Buenavista 2018) to originating societies.

Young people are no longer going abroad just to gain competitive advantage through education but also to earn an income, develop global skill sets (i.e., language), gain cosmopolitan exposure, and seek new freedoms within a variety of different migratory configurations such as working holiday makers, volunteers, tourists, and English-language learners (Chun and Han 2015; Inkson and Myers 2003; Jones 2011; Kawashima 2010; Loker-Murphy and Pearce1995; Yoon 2014). With the length of migration becoming increasingly shorter, multistep, and multidirectional, much of the research on youth mobilities has focused on documenting the diversity of young people's movements and the ways in which they respond to global flows of information, goods, and capital with the liberalization of borders across the Global North and Global South. In particular, the expansion of the global educational marketplace to destinations in the Global South has allowed for a clearer observation of the stratified educational mobilities that can arise under a deregulated and global capitalist model of education. For instance, Carolyn Choi's article in this special issue examines the regionally segmented mobilities of South Korean working-class youth who learn English in cost-effective rural destinations in the Philippines as they aspire to meet growing demands for English-language competency in a globalizing South Korea. Her article establishes the stratification of mobility among English-language learners from South Korea with the haves likely to migrate to the Global North and the have-nots limited to the Global South.

With education as a central theme, this special issue will focus on the intersections of children's geographies, student and educational mobilities, and youth mobilities and how the repositioning of Asia (and Asian educational destinations) in the shifting topographies of the global educational landscape has shed light on the new stratifications and inequalities that arise in an increasingly deregulated neoliberal global educational marketplace. In these new circumstances of increased regional and national competition and global literacy, there is a need to challenge our previous assumptions of educational mobilities/migration as East to West/South to North, youth to adulthood, and mobile/immobile and ground our theorizations within the everyday experiences of the young people who take more diverse pathways.

Children, Youth, and Transnational Families

The limited rights of migrant workers clearly manifest in the emergence of transnational families, which results from the ineligibility of migrant workers to sponsor their dependents, the lesser cost of reproduction in sending societies, the attachment of migrants to their country of origin, or the conflicts posed by workplace demands (Parreñas 2005; Parreñas 2015). Family separation across international borders is the norm for migrant workers all over the globe. In the Philippines, approximately 25 percent of children have at least one migrant parent abroad (Parreñas 2005). In Moldova, it is believed that 31 percent of children younger than the age of fifteen are left behind by a migrant parent (Salah 2008). The parents of these children are likely to be unskilled temporary migrant workers who are disqualified from sponsoring the migration of their dependents. Indeed, this is true for construction workers in the Middle East; farm workers in Canada, United States, and European countries; factory workers in South Korea and Taiwan; and domestic workers across the globe.

In the last decade, we have seen an explosion of studies on the separation of migrant families. Categorically labeling them “transnational families,” studies have been primarily attuned to the question of gender. Empirically, studies have asked two primary questions to get to the heart of gender relations in transnational migrant families. First, they have raised the question of “who cares for the children” (Abrego 2014; Dreby 2010; Lam and Yeoh 2018; Mazzucato and Schans 2011; McKay 2007). Second, they have asked, “How is mothering practiced”? (Hondagneu-Sotelo and Avila 1997; Madianou and Miller 2012. With limited exceptions (see Abrego 2014; Dreby 2010; Mazzucato and Schans 2011), most studies focus almost exclusively on the transnational households of migrant women. Additionally, few address the situation of children (for exceptions, see Abrego 2014; Beazley, Butt, and Ball 2018; Dreby 2010; Graham et al. 2012; Parreñas 2005), as more focus has been given on the experiences of the migrant parents or the left-behind caregivers (Bastia 2015). While this is the case, studies that do focus on children do not necessarily provide their perspective as some continue to rely on the opinions of caregivers to account for their welfare (Dobson 2007).

Studies initially attended to the question of children's well-being by asking the question of who provides care, particularly examining whether or not men provide care if children have been left behind by a migrant mother. One group led by the likes of McKay (2012) and Manalansan (2006) maintains that men do. Drawing from her ethnography of a migrant sending community in the Philippines, the geographer Deirdre McKay (2012) asserts that men respond positively to women's out-migration and accordingly care for children. Interestingly, she argues that those who would otherwise insist on women's continued maternal responsibilities upon migration assume “a universal understanding of intimacy” and reflect “contemporary, commonsense understandings of gendered family roles that predominate in the middle-class northern European West” (116). By advancing this argument, McKay assumes a universal difference between the West and the Rest. In so doing, she romanticizes the Philippines as a non-Western space inhabited by the Other and thus believes women in the Philippines must have uniquely different problems from women in the West. This is actually an exemplary example of Orientalism.

Not surprisingly, most studies disagree with McKay and found that women and not men are more likely to care for children in transnational migrant families. In her comparative study of children of migrant fathers and mothers in the Philippines, Parreñas (2005) found that men left behind in the Philippines fail to reciprocate for the income contributions of migrant women as most relegate the primary care duties of their children to extended female kin. Lam and Yeoh (2018) add nuance to the discussion as they found that men will perform some traditional women's work if women are not available to do it. Yet, in most instances, “other” women are available to do the work of mothers. Dreby (2010), who in her study of Mexican transnational families, also found that it is “middlewomen” who likely care for children in transnational families. More specifically, Dreby found that the vast majority of children of migrant mothers who are left behind in Mexico are cared for not just by a grandmother but in particular a maternal grandmother. Maternal grandmothers are those likely to care for children because migrant women, similar to the working women that Cameron Macdonald (2011) observed in Boston, are likely to seek those who can act as their extension or temporary replacement, which in effect magnifies not just women's but the mother's continued responsibility as the primary nurturer of children.

Also examining gender's constitution in transnational families are those who examine the practice of transnational mothering. Coined by Hondagneu-Sotelo and Avila (1997), “transnational mothering” refers to the organizational reconstitution and rearrangement of motherhood to accommodate the temporal and spatial separations forced by migration. Transnational mothering is not an exception but instead a normative feature of the experiences of migrant women, including among others, Ukranian migrant mothers employed as domestic workers in Italy (Solari 2006), Polish migrants in Germany (Lutz 2011), migrant women in the United States from Mexico (Dreby 2010), El Salvador (Abrego 2014), and Honduras (Schmalzbauer 2005), and migrant women in the Philippine diaspora (Parreñas 2005). According to Hondagneu-Sotelo and Avila (1997), transnational mothering signals a new form of motherhood that specifically expands the definition of mothering to encompass breadwinning, which in turn signals an advancement for women. Similarly, Madianou and Miller (2012), who advanced our understanding of transnational communication with their notion of polymedia (i.e., the view that the contours of intimate relations in transnational families change from one medium to the next), found that transnational migrant mothers neither reject nor fully retain their nurturance of children but instead maintain feelings of ambivalence. In doing so, they are said to question traditional notions of child-rearing.

Missing from discussions on transnational mothering is its reception by both society and the family, including the caregivers and children left behind. How does society receive the efforts of migrant mothers to reconfigure mothering? Although transnational mothers might redefine mothering as breadwinning for themselves, we should recognize that society back home might not necessarily accept their efforts. Indeed, they may reject such a redefinition. The backlash confronting migrant mothers in various home societies indicates this to be the case. In the Philippines, the public sees children of transnational mothers as victims who have been abandoned by their mothers (Parreñas 2005). This view is shared in many other sending countries of domestic workers, including Poland and Romania. A newsprint article on “Euro-orphans,” meaning children who have been orphaned by the outflow of migrant mothers to western Europe, for instance, quotes the minister of education in Poland as blaming failing test scores and growing truancy on parental migration. As she notes, “Kids get into trouble with the law, have social problems, behavior and attitude problems in school, and absences” (Chicago Tribune2008). Likewise, an article in the New York Times describes the out-migration of women as a “national tragedy” that has triggered social upheaval in Romania. The article blames not only the collapse of the Romanian family but also the abandonment and delinquency of children on the migration of women (Bifelski 2009). In this article, the migration of mothers is said to result in severe psychological difficulties among children, which can cause a number of them to commit suicide. However, academic studies do not necessarily support the negative assertions frequently associated with women's migration in news reports. Instead, they show that the maintenance of transnational families does not result in either the poorer performance of children in school or their increased criminal activities (Parreñas 2005; Urbańska 2009).

A third body of research advances discussions on transnational families with their singular focus on the well-being of children. One set of studies addresses the question of how children are responding to the reconstitution of their families, specifically the absence of migrant mothers from their everyday lives. Contrary to mainstream media reports on the adverse effects of transnational families on children, social science studies generally find that children are resilient and accordingly adjust to their circumstances (Dreby 2010; Hoang, Yeoh, and Graham 2014). In Vietnam, children are said to recognize their parent's migration and their household formation as a necessary livelihood strategy (Hoang and Yeoh 2014). In the Philippines, children of migrant fathers are those more likely to recognize the necessity of parental migration (Parreñas 2005). Finally, research studies also examine the health of children in transnational families, finding that their health is not necessarily better than that of children in nonmigrant families (Graham and Jordan 2013). For instance, exposure to tobacco does not differ for children in migrant and nonmigrant households (Sukamdi and Wattie 2013).

The robust literature on transnational families, which has dominated discussions of “children and youth in Asian migration,” suffers, however, from its singular concern with gender, a focus that has arisen with the increase in women's migration. Interestingly, the rise of transnational families from male migration has not elicited the same concern or interest from scholars, as this did not disrupt traditional notions of the family. Yet, the focus on gender has come at the expense of ignoring other factors that likewise shape household dynamics, including class and legal status. While cross-class comparative studies on transnational families remain thin, studies that examine how household dynamics would differ for authorized and unauthorized migrant parents and their children is missing in the Asian context (see Abrego 2014 for the case of El Salvador). Addressing this absence is the article by Beazley and Ball in this special issue; they describe the temporal limbo of “waiting” that confronts Indonesian children with unauthorized migrant parents.

The articles in this special issue expand our knowledge of children and youth in Asian migration as they move beyond discussions of educational migration from East to West and those concerning gender and the transnational family. They expand our knowledge on educational migration by focusing on “unusual” destinations such as the Philippines (Choi) and highlight the short-term migrations of children and youth (Choi, Waters and Leung). They also foreground the politics of citizenship and illustrate boundaries that delimit the membership of children and youth including (1) children from Vietnamese-Taiwanese and Vietnamese-Korean marriages who confront “legal ambiguity” in Vietnam following the dissolution of their parents’ marriage (Iwai); (2) Hong Kong–born Chinese from the mainland whose citizenship in Hong Kong mandates that they attend school in the territory as daily border crossers (Waters and Leung); (3) undocumented youth rendered stateless in Malaysia (Cheong) and Cambodia (Rumsby); and (4) children of undocumented parents who face the temporal displacement of perpetually waiting for family reunification (Beazley and Ball).

The articles also expand the parameters of migration studies to include children who have never moved as they highlight the existence of multigenerational undocumented settlement, in this case of “stateless” children (Cheong, Rumsby), and the temporal displacement of children waiting in limbo for the return of undocumented transnational migrant parents (Beazley and Ball). Overall, this special issue calls for more studies that document inter-Asian cross-border connections as the articles highlight distinct pathways of inter-Asian migration, underscore the ethnic (Rumsby, Cheong) and gender (Iwai) boundaries that lead to the marginalization of children and youth in Asian migration, and the stratifications that shape cross-border movements within Asia (Choi, Waters, and Leung).

This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) under Grant # 16H02737.

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