September 17, 2007

Each day: 88 kicked out, 508 back in

Honduran deporteesDeportees arriving daily in Tegucigalpa
Photo: La Prensa, Honduras

As of September 7, 2007, the U.S. has deported 24,600 Hondurans, second only to Mexico, whose population is about 100 million more than Honduras. In 2004, total deportees numbered 9,350; in 2005, 18,154; and in 2006, 26,600.

Many Hondurans have lost their U.S. jobs due to cutbacks in the construction industry and immigration raids, and many others have trouble finding work because of new hiring restrictions.

In a recent poll taken by La Prensa, 86% of the respondents indicated that they are afraid that crime will increase with so many Hondurans being deported back to Honduras. They have a point. Hondurans caught in illegal acts in the U.S. are probably among the first to be deported. But even among the generally law abiding Hondurans (putting aside the illegal entry into the U.S.), they may come back angry, broke, and confused, with no options for employment. Many have been gone long enough that they no longer have friends or close relatives here.

Regarding the effect of deportations on remesas (funds sent from relatives in other countries − representing somewhere around 25% of the gross national income of Honduras), 77% believe that the increase in deportations will have a bad effect on the Honduran economy.

In an almost evenly split decision, 51% believe that the proposed government-business collaboration will generate jobs for the deported. You can't blame the other 49% for being skeptical when the people who live here now already have a 28% unemployment rate.

In another almost evenly split decision, 51% of the respondents believe that the U.S. is acting in reprisal for the relationship between Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

La Prensa, HondurasRather than highlighting one of the questions with a clear-cut consensus from the population, La Prensa choose to run this headline on the front page today:

Massive deportation is a reprisal from the U.S.

Shame on you, La Prensa. It may be or it may not be a reprisal, but that really isn't what your poll decided.

Some other statistics for your enjoyment:

Of the estimated 1,000,000 Hondurans who live outside of the country, an estimated 93.5% live in the U.S., primarily in Florida, Texas, and New York.

The process of deportation is now taking about 15 days. Previously it was about 90 days.

The U.S. is deporting an average of 88 Hondurans per day.
Honduras is exporting an average of 508 Hondurans per day.

Seems like a losing battle.

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