Church of St. Pierre in Baradères, Haiti

St. Pierre parish, Baradères, Haiti — sister parish of St. John the Baptist Catholic Community, Silver Spring, Md. 
 


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Haiti: Giving Hope a Second Chance

Patrick is embarrassed about the shame he will likely cause his relatives: US deportees are regarded as vile thugs in Haiti. “I have a sense of morality,” he tells me defensively. Struggling to keep his dignity as he wipes his eyes, he continues imploringly, “I just hope I can find work and that others can learn from my experience.”

In a country where fewer than half of all adults are literate, Patrick’s credentials—a year of community college, fluent English and fluent Spanish—are impressive. Yet they will be of marginal use without French, the language of Haiti’s educated elite. His chances of getting a job of any kind are a long shot in a land with nearly 80% unemployment.

Patrick’s fate is part of a recent trend. Every year the United States deports thousands of foreign-born youths with U.S. criminal convictions to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Few among them are drug kingpins or sophisticates from the ranks of organized crime. Most have already completed U.S. prison sentences when the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) scoops them up and sends them “home.”

 

 

“My children are everything to me,” Caman tells me as he walks his son Malcolm to school. “My sister Rose keeps telling me she’ll take my son and raise him in the U.S. I don’t know what I should do. It will give him a better life, but I want to be there for him.”


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