Exploring the Experiences of
Reintegration in Trinidad and Tobago from
the Perspective of of Male Deportees
Cheryl-Ann Boodram
Overview of the Presentation
Background and Statement of the Problem
Purpose and Objectives
Theoretical Framework
Methods: Design, Sample, Data Collection &
 Themes, Findings and Discussion
 Implications for Social Work
 Recommendations for Future Research
Trinidad and Tobago
 Since 1996, there has been a significant increase in the
number of persons deported for criminal convictions to the
 This increase has been as a result of the changing
immigration laws of metropolitan countries, including the
United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
 Most significant are:
 The retroactive nature of the immigration laws
 The inclusion of felonies and “sins against moral
turpitude” as deportable crimes
 Limited to no provisions for appeal of the deportation
Statement of the Problem
 The significant increase in the number of deported persons was tabled as an
issue at the Caribbean Community Security Conference in 2001 and
successive Heads of Government meetings and other regional meetings .
 There is a perceived link between deportation and the increase in crime and
violence in the Caribbean which has led to stereotyping and discrimination
 Experiences of detention and deportation are traumatic life events for male
 Deported men face reintegration challenges due to stigma and
discrimination and limited support
 There is a paucity in the literature on the experiences of male deportees to
the Caribbean
Purpose of the Study
 Understand the experiences of male deportees and their
experiences of reintegration after their return to Trinidad
and Tobago
Examine the challenges that male deportees encountered
upon their return and during their attempts at reintegration
Identify the sources of support which assisted males in
reintegrating into Trinidad and Tobago.
Examine the extent to which the sources of support
assisted in the reintegration of males upon their return
Research Design
 Qualitative Research
 Phenomenology
 In-Depth Interviews
Sampling Strategies
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
Purposive convenience sampling
 Participants were drawn from ‘Vision on
Mission In-transit Centre’ and ‘Rebirth House’
Selection Criteria
 Males
 Deported for criminal convictions
 Nationals of Trinidad and Tobago
 Age 18 and over
Participant: Demographics
 Age Range: 25 – 60 years
 No. of Years in deporting country: 5 – 30 years
 Period since deportation: 2 months to 5 years
 Included participants who were married, single or
 Convicted of crimes including violation of restraining
order, drug use, services fraud and murder
Themes Emerged
1. Psychological Emasculation
2. Ecological Embededdness:
3. Deferred Dependency /Sustainable Return
Deportation and Masculinity
 Participants described deportation as a source of
“Psychological Emasculation” . AS men, they felt that
they were:
 “Stripped of role as the ‘provider’ for relatives and children”
 Resulted in female headed households and poor attempts at
transnational parenting
 Reliance of family abroad (where possible) to send money
 Cessation of remittances to local relatives. One participant
claimed that he “returned in shame because he was unable to
send money to his family”.
 Resulted in deportees perceiving themselves as being “less of
a man”
Psychosocial Reintegration
Permanent Loss
loss of accumulated assets, resident status, family members
Double Rejection
First rejected by a country they have grown to call “home” then
rejected by their country of birth
Stressful / Traumatic Life Transition
Nightmares, loss of appetite, inconsolable crying, anger,
profound sadness
Identity and citizenship
Identity confusion relating to citizenship
Economic Reintegration
Challenges facing deportees included inability to
achieve economic embededdness
Inability to find sustainable employment
loss of assets accumulated during the period spent
inability to access suitable housing or materials for
Difficulty in developing small businesses
Lack of opportunity to make economic contribution to
Trinidad and Tobago
Social Embededdness
Sources of support during reintegration were related to the
extent of Social-Network developed by the individual:
Connections with social networks provided a sense of
belonging and assisted migrants in reintegrating
Networks included faith based organisations, NGOs
and Social Capital
Access to and the strength of the social networks of
the individual influenced the reintegration experience.
Deferred Dependency
 Reintegration efforts and social work intervention
seemed to “Defer Dependency”
 Reintegration was not an event but a process. Deportees slid
along that continuum
 Support was short-term and insufficient to achieve sustainable
 Intervention did not focus on examining the skills and strengths
of the individual
 When support from social services ended or lessened,
dependency returned
Implications for Social Work
 Human Rights implications- > citizenship and the rights
associated with citizenship
 Research :
 Contributes to literature on resettlement of involuntary
returned migrants, particularly males deported for criminal
 Findings will contribute to knowledge base for social work
practitioners in the Caribbean;
 Need for a coordinated and specialized approach by social service
agencies and NGOs to provide greater support to deportees.
Policy: Need for International and Caribbean policy makers to
advocate for a re-examination of social justice and human rights issues
related to deportation.
Recommendations for Future Research
 Additional Research on:
 Sustainable Return for Involuntary Returned Migrants
 Transnational Studies to examine the effects of
deportation on the families in deporting and receiving
 Relationship between identity, citizenship and
reintegration of deportees
 The establishment of a coordinated approach to
intervention with deportees to provide subsistence such as
food, shelter, medical and psychosocial care.
 Advocacy for the development of policies which allow
deportees to return or have access to the assets which they
accumulated abroad (Certainly should be included as an
agenda in International Social Work practices)
 Provision of psychosocial intervention to deportees.
Including support groups, transnational intervention with
the families across borders, substance abuse intervention
 The establishment of family enrichment services which
will provide counseling activities involving members of
the families that are left behind in the deporting country
and families in the receiving country. An avenue for
social work intervention can be means of strengthening
approaches to transnational parenting.
 The provision of livelihood assistance which will
promote the employability and employment of
individuals deported.
 National Education campaigns to reduce stigma and
discrimination of deportees
 Deportation and the process of resettlement were
stressful life transitions.
 Deportation resulted in permanent loss, double
rejection and psychological emasculation
 Challenges in reintegration to Trinidad and Tobago
included establishing ecological embededdness, most
significantly economic embededdness
 Sources of support for reintegration included social
services provisions, the deportees social capital and
social networks
Thank You!