Life After Deportation: Surviving as a Dominican Deportee
thesisposted on 27.02.2015, 00:00 authored by Evin Rodkey
Each year the U.S. deports hundreds of thousands of people to their countries of birth. While many of these deportees are undocumented migrants, many others are long-term legal permanent residents convicted of crimes known as “aggravated felonies,” which include offenses classified as misdemeanors for U.S. citizens. In this thesis, I examine the deportation of long-term legal permanent residents of the U.S. who were sent to their country of birth, the Dominican Republic, after facing conviction for a crime. In examining the lives of these deportees, I make extensive use of their own words and direct references to their lived experiences. In focusing on their survival strategies, I detail cases of deportees who use their English language capabilities and U.S. cultural sensibilities to work in customer service call centers for U.S. businesses that have off-shored this work, thus linking them back to the U.S. I draw on my ethnographic research, which entailed my working in a Dominican call center, to posit this survival strategy as a form of transnationalism. This work also has important implications for conceptions of citizenship and the exercise of state power, as well as the ways deportees construct their identities in a new home.