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Bernard Headley

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Giving Critical Context to the Deportee Phenomenon

Public opinion in the Caribbean has in recent years linked the region’s soaring crime problem to waves of former emigrants being forcibly returned home from countries of the North–mainly Britain, Canada, and the United States. Select findings from a study of deportations to Jamaica from the U.S. are reported here. The findings counter the widespread belief that deportees returned to Jamaica and other Caribbean nations are essentially hardened, violent criminals, who then, based on this profile, contribute disproportionately to their receiving countries’ high levels of crime. But neither the study, nor the portion of its findings presented here, “absolves” the U.S. of responsibility for what has developed into a regional problem. Rather, they reveal the effects of a “culture of control” on developments on U.S. immigration law and policy. The article further reports preliminary findings from follow-up survey of deportees in Jamaica trying to cope with the challenge of reintegration.

Jamaica, Caribbean, crime, deportation, deportee, immigration

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 33, No. 1 (2006): 40-56