Emmanuel Geurrier and 30 fellow Haitian quake survivors took to the sea last month with pretty much any port in mind.
"In Haiti, people are sleeping in the street and in the roadside, and I don't want to stay in a country where I have to live like a dog," he said Thursday, while in immigration custody in Jamaica. "I took a boat and said, 'I go anywhere!' Then I see Jamaica.
"Maybe I can stay."
On Sunday, three days after speaking to The Miami Herald about the challenges of living in Haiti after the quake, Geurrier was sent home. He is one of hundreds of Haitians who have landed on Caribbean shores in the four months since a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rattled the nation, killing an estimated 300,000 and displacing some 1.3 million people.
And while nations such as Jamaica and the Bahamas initially announced compassionate gestures toward their Caribbean neighbor, the welcome mat has been yanked. Fearing a deluge of Haitian migrants, Jamaica and the Bahamas — like the United States — have renewed repatriation policies for migrants captured at sea that were in place before the quake.
Haitian migrants have not swarmed the waters as many had feared, but officials are wary that the upcoming hurricane season will flood Port-au-Prince settlements and push people to take desperate measures.
Geurrier, who had been deported from Jamaica before, landed on the country's northeast coast on April 10. His group followed another boat of 62 migrants that had already been repatriated, including a handful of escaped prisoners.
But the second group included 11 children and a pregnant woman who gave birth three days after landing, raising issues about whether the mother and her Jamaican-born infant named Francisca should be allowed to stay.
To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.