Digital transnationalism: strategies against vulnerability in the immigration journey of skilled Mexicans in Vancouver

Authors: Maria Cervantes*, University of British ColumbiaLiu Institute for Global Issues - Vancouver, BC
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Canada, Migration
Keywords: transnationalism, digital technologies, vulnerability, skilled migrants, social media
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 48
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper explores how skilled Mexican immigrants in Vancouver employ strategies to combat
the vulnerability they face by dealing with constant upward and downward mobility in their
immigration journeys. I argue that these strategies are transferred to their use of digital
technologies, particularly when interacting with other Mexicans online. To do this, I draw from
19 semi-structured interviews with highly skilled Mexicans in Vancouver. I find that this group
mostly uses digital technologies in a passive way to maintain their transnational relations with
friends and family, while distancing themselves completely from the Mexican state. I conclude
that instead of contributing to maintaining a sense of belonging to Mexico, digital technologies
reinforce existing social behaviours and Canadian media discourses that encourage expats to
refuse to be associated with the Mexican community, especially once they have settled in

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