Life After Deportation: Surviving as a Dominican Deportee
thesisposted on 27.02.2015, 00:00 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.