Féguenson Elie is one of thousands of Haitians who, after completing a dangerous journey of thousands of kilometers from south to north across the continent, was deported by the United States to Haiti. He has found an unknown, impoverished country and he only thinks of emigrating again.
With two little girls born in Brazil, who speak Creole with difficulty, and with no prospect of getting a job in Haiti, she plans to return as soon as possible to the South American country, where she lived for the last seven years.
But now he does not know how to collect the 120 dollars he has to pay to obtain each of his daughters’ Brazilian passports, after having spent all his savings, about 12,000 dollars, to pay for a three-month trip on foot through twelve Latin American countries. , which led him over a bridge on the southern US border and immediately onto a deportation flight.
The shame of coming back empty handed
Deported on October 1, Elie has taken refuge with his wife’s relatives in a slum in Port-au-Prince and has not yet been able to go home in Marchand Dessalines, in the department of Artibonite (north), although he admits that he is not raises it.
“We are ashamed to go back to our family. That is not how we wanted to come to see them. I have children in Haiti, I cannot go to see them because I have no means. I cannot even bring them a snack. We have a very complicated situation here,” he tells Efe, remembering that he cannot afford to buy clothes for his family either.
Elie has found herself in a country in crisis, with 40% of its population food insecure, and she doesn’t know what to do to get money to eat.
“You can’t do anything in this country. If you don’t have friends to help you, you run the risk of starving,” he laments.
The only help he has received in more than a week, he assures, is a donation he received from the Brazilian embassy, where he has gone to try to start the procedures to return to the country where his young daughters were born.
“We plan to return to Brazil, but we do not have the money. We are thinking about what we will do to return. (…) Brazil is a country that really loves immigrants.”
A dangerous journey
Elie had a job in Brazil, but earned little, and decided to travel to the United States to seek a better life for her family.
In the long three-month journey, he left Brazil through Bolivia, crossed Peru, Ecuador and Colombia until he reached the Darien jungle, the place that he remembers as the most dangerous of the trip.
“This forest is really difficult. The rain falls on you, it is muddy. Some hills go up and others come down. If you fall, you go to the cliffs if you can’t find a tree to lean on,” he remembers.
In the woods, Elie says that he has seen men who have abandoned their wives, women who have abandoned their children, wounded left on the road who have died from lack of assistance.
“There are people who have made the trip (through the Darien) in three days. I had to be patient with my wife and my daughters so that nothing bad happened to them. That is the reason why I made the journey in fourteen days. fourteen days, we left the forest, “he says, remembering that his money was stolen in the jungle.
After passing Central America, they concluded their trip on a bridge on the border between Mexico and the United States, where they were rejected and treated “worse than a dog.”
“The United States deported us like thieves. They chained our hands and belts. I am not a thief. I left Brazil to ask for political asylum in the United States. But they deported us with nothing and with our children.”
Since September 15, at least 7,500 Haitians have been deported from the United States, adding to the hundreds who have been repatriated from Mexico, Cuba, the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, and the hundreds of Haitians who are deported daily by land from Dominican Republic.