Friday, February 8, 2013

The Connection between Mexican Call Centers and U.S. Deportation Policy

I noticed an interesting thing the other day. It has been several times now that I have been wating at Metro Station Revolución and have been passed by groups of people speaking English, all with the same photo ID placards and a similar sense of style that is more Cholo and less like what you would see from the average Mexican here in Mexico. All of the people are in their young 20´s and all have a dialect that sounds like first generation Mexican-Americans from California. All of a sudden I realized why.

The area around Metro Station Revolución is known as the Tabacalera neighborhood. In this neighborhood are several bilingual call centers, all hiring people who speak English. There are many Mexicans who speak English very well and they work at call centers scattered throughout the republic. The people passing me at the metro station were clearly from the United States and this is something very unsual to see here......and then it dawned on me what was actually taking place.

In the United States there are thousands of kids that grow up within that nation´s boundaries but have done so without legal status to be there. They grow up learning and speaking English and are American on every level....but without the benefit of citizenship. If they end up in a situation where they get in trouble with the law, they are deported to their country of origin. In this case, México....a country which in many ways is completely alien to them. I know this happens all the time, having a friend that went through the same type of situation. It took her years of hoop jumping to get back to the United States legally but she finally did.

México is filled with English language call centers and they need people who can assist customers in the United States in a way that is convincing to the customer and the client. In México labor is much cheaper than in the United States so this economic outsourcing makes sense to a great number of companies but finding enough employees who speak English fluently is at times difficult. Enter the thousands of young people being deported yearly from the Unites States, often their only skill being the fluent speaking of English and you have a corporate solution. These companies are using the situation to their advantage by hiring the deported to work in call centers that serve the citizens of the country in which they were forced to leave. An interesting observation and one of the many socioecomic complexities that exist between two nations joined at the hip whether they like it or not.

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