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Deported Mexicans get new life in booming call centers that cater to American consumers

  • bdb59183d7af7410VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____-Mexico Dialing Deportees-1.jpg

    In this Aug. 13, 2014 photo, an overall view of the Firstkontact Center, a call center in the northern border city of Tijuana, Mexico. Many Mexicans deported under U.S. President Barack Obama are finding employment in call centers in Tijuana and other border cities. In perfect English, some don’t even speak Spanish, they talk to American consumers who buy gadgets and gizmos, have questions about warrantees and complain about overdue deliveries. A large number of workers spent nearly all their lives in the U.S. and still have family there, a major selling point for Mexico over English-language industry leaders like India and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Alex Cossio) (The Associated Press)

  • bdb59183d7af7410VgnVCM100000d7c1a8c0____-Mexico Dialing Deportees-2.jpg

    In this Aug. 13, 2014 photo, Jonathan Arce, 29, works the phones in his cubicle at the Firstkontact Center, a call center in the northern border city of Tijuana, Mexico. Arce came to the U.S. when he was 6 months old and as a teeanger was in and out of jail for stealing cars in Merced, California. After being deported to Tijuana in 2001, he quit crime and gangs, and joined Firstkontact about three years ago after a stint as a dishwasher. (AP Photo/Alex Cossio) (The Associated Press)

Thousands of Mexican citizens deported by U.S. authorities are finding refuge at call centers in Tijuana and other border cities.

In perfect English — some hardly speak Spanish — they converse with American consumers who buy gadgets, have questions about warrantees or complain about overdue deliveries.

Many of the workers spent nearly all their lives in the U.S., which is a major selling point for Mexico over English-language industry leaders like India and the Philippines. They can chat comfortably about the U.S. housing market and Super Bowl contenders. They know slang.

One consulting firm estimates that by end of the year, Mexico's outsourced call centers will have more than 85,000 workstations — which may be staffed two or three shifts a day. It expects Mexico to hit 110,000 in 2020.