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Immigration discourse and the fragmentation of Mexican online communities in Vancouver, Canada

Authors: Maria Cervantes*, University of British Columbia
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Political Geography
Keywords: highly skilled migration, online communities, class, vulnerability, transnational relations
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper explores how highly skilled Mexican expats in Vancouver, Canada, deploy their social, cultural, economic and political capital in online spaces to maintain or neglect their ties with Mexico. According to the Institute of Mexicans Abroad, Mexican immigration to Canada is traditionally from upper middle classes with education credentials, however, this paper argues that the demographics are changing since many Mexicans are looking towards Canada to find refuge from increased immigration enforcement in the United States. Given the demographic composition of the Mexican population in Vancouver, changes in demographics are seen as a threat to the status quo.

Mexican expats living in Vancouver employ a series of strategies to align themselves with the Canadian “we” rather than a Mexican “them” that allow them to reproduce a particular class habitus in order to combat the upward and downward mobility they are constantly facing while living in Vancouver. A Facebook group of Mexicans in Vancouver becomes a discursive battleground where members of one national community police each other in an attempt to guard themselves from further exclusion from their new home. My research uses interviews with 18 highly skilled Mexicans living in Vancouver that allows me to explore the tensions that they face in their everyday lives interacting with other Mexicans online and in the city of Vancouver.

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