The Deported: an Endless Story

Her tears are heavy as they roll down her cheeks. She wipes away the tears from one eye as more tears spring from the other like a river of sorrow.

Estefany is the first of 127 migrants to be deported to Honduras today. She is one of the 920 that are sent back every year.

Confused, she looks all around her and fearfully hugs her body hard. She sits quietly; she seems to be talking to herself. She definitely does not want to return to Honduras.

After two years of living in the state of Georgia, 19 year-old Estefany was detained by the feared ICE agency in mid-December. Her last Christmas in the country was spent in a U.S. detention center.

Her few belongings, like those of the other migrants, are stuffed in a red sack made to carry oranges. Moments before, a group of volunteers from the Attention Center for Returned Migrants (CAMR) brought the sacks out to return them to their owners, calling out each name to claim the meager belongings.

While the migrants unpack their sacks, the volunteers call them up one by one to hand them their identification documents, or in some cases, the birth certificates that have been processed by CAMR. The mostly volunteer staff at the Center offers the deportees coffee and gives them a little money to buy a bus ticket home. Many migrants decide to try their luck again and continue their journey to the United States because attempting to return to their own neighborhoods would mean death.

Outside the center, some families wait anxiously for their sons or daughters, husbands, brothers or parents to exit. When they are reunited with their loved one, they cry, they hug, they kiss. But for most people coming out of the center, no one is waiting for them.

Some of the deportees were caught while attempting to cross the U.S. border and were thwarted in their attempt to reach the much sought-after American dream. This, however, was not the case for Allan Rosales, one of the many in today’s group of deportees.

He reported to the ICE office in Atlanta and was detained immediately. Allan was only sixteen in 2014 when he entered the United States by way of the international bridge in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. A coyote brought him from La Ceiba, Honduras, to the U.S. border for seven thousand dollars. There the coyote left him to walk across the bridge where he would pass through the immigration checkpoint. Rosales was seeking asylum because his life was in danger in his country and his family was trying to save him from being murdered.

In October of 2015, Allan reported to the immigration office. He did not know that a deportation order for him had already been processed. Immigration officers detained him on the spot. He was deported, and at 2:00 pm Allan’s plane touched down in San Pedro Sula, known as the most violent city in the world although the Honduran government claims otherwise.

Allan is 18 now, and he misses his classmates from Berkmar High School. Upon his arrival in San Pedro Sula he borrows a cell phone and calls his aunt to tell his mother that he’s back in Honduras. When he hangs up, he dries his tears and says, “I have to get back because I was working hard in school and I don’t want to lose the academic year.”

Return to Uncertainty

“Welcome Tulito—we’re glad you’re here”, it says on the poster. Rosario and her husband stand outside the Center to greet their nephew, who spent twenty years living up north.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen him, we’ve only seen him in photos,” they say, leaving the CAMR. His aunt and uncle recognized Tulito instantly and hugged him. They excitedly showed him their welcome sign, while taxi drives drove in circles around the other migrants, offering them rides to their old neighborhoods or to the central bus station.

Most deportees are between the ages of 18 and 28. They are young people who flee violence looking for a better future by immigrating north. “This year we anticipate that the number of deportations will increase,” says Geraldine Garay, one of the coordinators for the Attention Center for Returned Migrants.

It is five o’clock one cloudy evening in San Pedro Sula. The Center winds up its daily activities. Only empty chairs are left inside, that tomorrow will be filled with new deportees. And so the endless story of deportation continues.

Translation: Allana Noyes.

This story was originally published by Americas Program

More articles by:

Rubén Figueroa is an activist and human rights advocate and coordinator for the South-Southeast Mesoamerican Migrant Movement. He is currently researching conditions for returning migrants in Honduras.

July 19, 2018
Rajai R. Masri
The West’s Potential Symbiotic Contributions to Freeing a Closed Muslim Mind
Jennifer Matsui
The Blue Pill Presidency
Ryan LaMothe
The Moral and Spiritual Bankruptcy of White Evangelicals
Paul Tritschler
Negative Capability: a Force for Change?
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: ‘Social Dialogue’ Reform Frustrations
Rev. William Alberts
A Well-Kept United Methodist Church Secret
Raouf Halaby
Joseph Harsch, Robert Fisk, Franklin Lamb: Three of the Very Best
George Ochenski
He Speaks From Experience: Max Baucus on “Squandered Leadership”
Ted Rall
Right Now, It Looks Like Trump Will Win in 2020
David Swanson
The Intelligence Community Is Neither
Andrew Moss
Chaos or Community in Immigration Policy
Kim Scipes
Where Do We Go From Here? How Do We Get There?
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS Class Struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come