Call centres in Monterrey, Nuevo León, where the main requirement for getting a job is being able to speak English, are proving to be a lifeline for some Mexicans deported by the United States.
Major U.S companies have moved their customer service infrastructure south of the border to take advantage of the phenomenon of a burgeoning workforce of deportees and returning migrants who speak English with American accents.
The call centres contract with major U.S companies such as Time Warner, Dish Satellite and Best Buy. They pay lower Mexican wages, as little as $4 an hour, while their customers may not realize they are speaking with someone in a foreign country. Some say that the call centres exploit returning migrants while they are still jarred from the trauma of being uprooted from the United States in a country they barely remember, if at all.
Monterrey is home to a large number of such call centres, such as Teleperformance, Sutherland, CMS, Global Telesourcing and Language Line, to name a few. According to unofficial numbers provided by unidentified internal sources, close to 60% of their employees are Mexicans who have been deported from the United States.
In 2015, the U.S. deported 242,456 Mexicans, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
With Trump´s new immigration policies set to crackdown on millions more undocumented immigrants, there is speculation that the number will see a massive increase.
Although the federal government has vowed support repatriated Mexicans, it has yet to offer a clear employment program for them. In the meantime, call centres may continue to be the answer for some.