chapter  9
20 Pages

Deporting Diaspora’s Future? Forced Return Migration as an Ethnographic Lens on Generational Differences among Haitian Migrants in Montréal


Several years ago while carrying out research in rural Haiti about the life perspectives of local youth,1 I discovered for the fi rst time that the forced return of Haitian migrants (some of whom lacked a documented status, some of whom had been convicted of a criminal offence) constituted a signifi cant topic of public debate. In the Haitian villages these so-called depoté, marked by the stigma of expulsion, were both admired and scorned. They were not only associated with an aura of cosmopolitan worldliness, but also with issues of familial neglect, urban violence and organized crime. The latter phenomena were thought to come to Haiti from the outside and would eventually precipitate its ruin. For many Haitians the deportees were the prototype of the unsuccessful migrant, people who had passed up the chance of successful emigration-the dream of so many on the island-and who, after their return to Haiti, lived the lives of restless bandits.