Since September 2017, I’ve been living in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, conducting research among recent deportees for my doctoral thesis in anthropology. After years studying Central American transit migration through Mexico, I came to Honduras to get a firsthand look at what is driving people to flee this country in steadily increasing numbers. In the process, I’ve been able to see how those who were sent back negotiate life after deportation.

She didn’t know there was a thing called asylum. She just knew she had to go.

Maribel left Honduras three weeks after accidentally witnessing the disposal of a body. A recruiter for Avon, she was making her rounds in the neighborhoods outside of Choloma, a city in the far north of the country, when she saw a group of young men carrying big, heavy bags. At first she didn’t realize what she...

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