On May 30, 2012, at 10 PM was awakened and told to dress. Seventy-two of us were chained and shackled again and put onto another plane. When we landed, we were told we were near Kingston, Jamaica, and the officers gave each of us a phone card. Most of the men were able to arrange to have family members pick them up. Six of us were stranded. I knew no one in Jamaica—I hadn’t been there in more than 20 years, and my whole family now lived in the United States. I didn’t have any money or even a change of clothes. I’d lost 40 pounds while in detention, and the jeans and thermal shirt I was wearing when I was taken from my house were practically falling off me….
That’s how I came to find myself back in rural Jamaica at age 41, having never visited since leaving as a boy of 17. It’s a very tough place—there are no jobs, and crime and poverty are rampant. There are murders every day. People who are deported back here are stigmatized—seen as criminals who must have committed some heinous crime in order to be sent back—and often become the targets of violence. We’re seen as disposable and worthless, not entitled to anything, not even a job.So I have to keep quiet about my circumstances as I scramble to make a living, desperate to find a way home.