By Misha Louis
When Haitian migrant and asylum seekers attempt to come to the United States, the U.S government responds with prohibition policies and detention. This paper will examine the way Haitian refugees were and continue to be discriminated against and the struggle they face throughout the world's largest immigration detention regime. The modern detention regime was constructed with vindictive purposes from the beginning towards Haitians. The history of detention in the United States is part of a much larger shift towards restriction of Haitians.
While researching information for my capstone, I thought of my own family's journey to America in 1991. I remember my older sister and me being driven in a car, passing dead bodies and burning cars. We were fleeing from our hometown of Port-au-Prince. At the time I was only 10 years old; my sister was 16. My mother had decided to stay behind to handle my father's financial matters while he was incarcerated during an attempted coup. I remember crying for the duration of the flight to the United States, the JFK airport in Queens to be exact.
We traveled alone and our uncle whom we had never met picked us up and took us in. We were enrolled in school in Queens and it took me time to adjust. Upon arriving in the U.S I only spoke French, so I was placed in ESL classes to learn English. I missed my parents dearly and would always cry when we spoke to my mother on the phone. American culture was a shock. I attended public school, so seeing the other children in regular clothing instead of uniforms was new to me. The fast food restaurants, the trains and public buses were new to me. My uncle did not know how to cook, so therefore most morning we would go to school early just to eat breakfast. Everything was foreign to us. However, it helped us realized how lucky we were in comparison to the Haitians trying to enter the U.S today by any means possible. This also opened my eyes to the oppression and discrimination Haitians faced for hundreds of years and continue to face. My parents were able to come to America in 1992, and we were all granted political asylum. Unfortunately, I now have a felony which means I no longer have asylum protection. I am now considered a refugee and am ordered to be removed from the U.S after serving my sentence.
A refugee is someone who has fled her or his country or is unable to return to it. They are at risk of serious human rights violations and persecution there. The risks to their safety and life were so great that they felt they had no choice but to leave and seek safety outside their country because their own government cannot or will not protect them from those dangers. Also, fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, military or other problems. whether on an individual basis or as part of a mass exodus. Convention and protocol refugees have a right to international protection.
An asylum seeker is someone who is also seeking international protection from dangers in his or her home country, but whose claim for refugee status hasn't been determined legally. Asylum seekers must apply for protection in the country of destination-- meaning they must arrive at or cross a border in order to apply. Seeking asylum is a human right. This mean everyone should be allowed to enter another country to seek asylum.
A migrant is someone who leaves their country because they want to work, study or join family; others migrants feel they must leave because of poverty, political unrest, gang violence, natural disasters or other serious circumstances that exist in their home countries. Migrants are still entitled to have all their human rights protected and respected, regardless of the status they have in the country they moved to. Migrants should never be detained or forced to return to their countries without a legitimate reason.
History of Haiti
Let me introduce my country's real history. In the late 1700s, Haitian revolutionaries expelled French colonizers and abolished slavery. The belief that Haitians are more threatening goes back to the 18th century: The Haitian Revolution was the first in history that overthrew the slave- owning class, and that successful revolution created a fear of black Haitians among white foreigners. Between September 16,1779 through October 18,1779 was one of the bloodiest battles during the American Revolutionary war. At the time British forces numbering 3,200 troops had occupied Savannah, then the capital of Georgia, for a year. They were challenged by 600 Continental troops led by General Benjamin Lincoln who were supp01ied by 3,500 French soldiers led by First Lieutenant Count d'Estaing, including 800 troops from Saint-Domingue (later Haiti) and other French Caribbean colonies. Haitians also helped Mexico, Panama, Brazil, Guyana, Venezuela, Costa-Rica, Ecuador, Columbia, Northern Peru, Bolivia, and Nicaragua to gain their independence from Spain. Haiti became a Republic in 1804, then provided refuge for victims of enslavement and colonialism elsewhere. Haiti beat three world powers, France, Britain and Spain. In 1816 Mexican General Martin Javier Mena Larrea traveled to Haiti for support to gain independence from Spain. The U.S. didn't want to recognize Haiti's independence because southern plantation owners were fearful of a similar revolt. In the article In a Black Hole it states "Haiti came to be identified with black freedom, and throughout the 19th century there were proposal in the US to conquer Haiti and 'reimpose order' on black people there, who were seen as threatening because they were unwilling to be dominated by whites," (Misra, 2022, p. 24). France and other countries wanted reparation for their lost ''p10perty" meaning human beings, therefore Haiti had to pay a debt to France throughout the 19th century. France finally recognized Haiti's independence in 1825, in return for a large payment (nearly 100 million francs) that was to be paid at an annual rate until 1887. Many French people are still profiting of Haiti's repayments to France.
From 1915 to 1934 Haiti was controlled by United States Marines. The United States claimed that its action was justified under the Monroe Doctrine (the right of the United States to prevent European intervention in the Western Hemisphere) as well as on humanitarian grounds. However, Haitians believed that the Marines had actually been sent to protect U.S. investments and to establish a base to protect the approaches to the Panama Canal. Haiti signed a treaty with the United State originally for 10 years but later drawn out, establishing the United States financial and political power. In 1918, in an election overseen by the United States Marines, a new constitution was introduced that allowed foreigners to own land in Haiti. In 1924 the creation of the border patrol and Immigration Restriction Act was created. The border patrol has a racist history that began in the early 1920s, when a brotherhood was formed consisting ofKlu Klux Klan members and racist Texas rangers. Nations Refugee Convention was drafted by former Jewish refugees from the holocaust and their allies. In October 1930 Haitians chose a National Assembly for the first time since 1918. It elected as president Stenio Joseph Vincent. Finally, in August 1934 the United States deserted its right to individually intervene in the internal affairs of other nations and President Franklin D Roosevelt withdrew the U.S Marines from Haiti. However, The U.S military occupation of Haiti had lasting social and political consequences.
It was unknown to me about the Haitian massacre in the Dominican Republic. In 1937 Dominican Republic dictator, Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, ordered the slaughter of fifteens thousands of Haitians living near the border of Dominican Republic. The operation was handled by the Dominican military, and civilians volunteered to murder innocent Haitians. It was considered to be the extermination against all Haitian residents. Until today no individuals were punished for the 1937 Haitian Massacre.
Even though the United States maintained direct economic control of Haiti' until 1941 and indirect control over Haiti until 1947, prior to 1954, the immigration policy of the United States was to detain almost all those seeking to enter the U.S until a final decision could be made on their acceptability. In 1954, the U.S government ended its policy of detention replacing it with a policy of "Parole" which gave the U.S Attorney General the discretion to parole any alien into the United State temporarily. This applied to all but those who were a threat to public health or national security. In the same period when the U.S government was implementing its policy of blanket denial of asylum for Haitians it was also using its "parole" authority to facilitate the entrance of other groups from its Cold War enemies. From 1965 to 1970 more than 600,000 Cuban refugees were paroled into the United States and more than 200,000 Indochinese refugees entered under the "Parole" authority. According to the practice of the Immigration Naturalization Service (INS), and the U.S State Department, Cubans and Vietnamese were legitimate refugees, but Haitians were not." Ninety percent of the Haitians come here looking for work" stated INS Deputy District Director Richard Gullage, "Most of the political asylum applicants do not even come close to meeting the United Nations definition of refugee" (Lindskoog, 2018, p. 14).
Frarncois Duvalier, called "Papa Doc," was elected president of Haiti in September 1957. After an attempted coup, Duvalier organized a paramilitary group, the so-called Tontons Macoutes ("Bogeymen") to terrorize the population. In 1964 Duvalier, by then firmly in control, had himself elected president for life. Haiti under Duvalier was, in effect, a police state. Before his death in 1971, he elected his son, Jean-Claude, aged 19 and nicknamed "Baby Doc," to be president for life. The younger Duvalier was all about economics, he partnered with the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) and other international financial institutions to turn Haiti's economy toward commercial agriculture and export-oriented manufacturing. The combination of fierce repression of the Duvalier dictatorship and economic hardship resulting from the restructured economy forced a new wave of Haitians to seek refuge abroad. The Duvalier's government was a useful anticommunist ally for the U.S government as it tried to contain the threat of communism posed by Cuba. If America had accepted those fleeing Haiti as refugees would have been formal acknowledgement that the Haitian government had committed human rights violations which would seriously harm U.S/ Haiti relation. The regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier sought international respectability. The U.S strengthened the Duvalier's era by assisting the anticommunist dictatorship in Haiti. There had been non-stop foreign intervention in Haiti's politics. However, the U.S. refused to acknowledge the repression in Haiti. Many Haitians began to flee to other countries such as Canada, Dominica, St Vincent, and other French speaking islands.
In 1972 Haitians refugees arriving on the U.S soil were fleeing the Duvalier dictatorship which only led to arrest and jail, denial of asylum and quick expulsion. Twenty-five thousand Haitians were among the mass migration of over 150,000 asylum seekers who arrived in South Florida in 1980. Negative stereotypes and fear of Haitians became the only topic in the news. Haitians were perceived by many to be disease-ridden, uneducated, unskilled peasants who could only prove to be a burden to the U.S. Starting in 1981, the U.S. adopted a policy of interdicting and processing Haitian migrants at sea. This essentially instituted a loophole and allowed the U.S to bypass the principle of non- refoulement and send Haitians back home.
The case of Haitian Refi1gee Center v. Civilleti, was the first major case to shut down the government's Haitian detention policy. In the case of Jean v. Nelson, Judge James Lawrence King ruled that "The Government was discriminating against Haitians in detaining them ... " and clearly
stated in his ruling "this isn't just national origin discrimination, this is racism. This is the first significant increase of black asylum seekers here, they're the only ones you're treating this way, and this is racism at play". So the Judge overturned the government's Haitian program, which included a Haitian detention policy, and he ordered them free. (Hamilton-Jiang, 2022, p. 14) However, much of the racism towards Haitians comes from the U. S.
Immigration detention became a formal part of U.S immigration policy. The main purpose of detention of Haitians in the 1970s and the 1980s was to discourage future asylum seekers and unauthorized migrant. Haitians coming to the United States by boat without proper travel documents dates back at least to the 1970s. In mid 1970s," the boat people" were working class, urban displace Haitians who staiied to come by boat and ships trying to put in asylum claims. Labor leaders religious and civil right organization started a movement for the Haitian refugees. Spring of 1974, Patrick. E. Gorman, Secretary Treasurer of the Amalgamated Meat Cutter and Butcher Workman of North America wrote to President Richard M. Nixon to urge asylum for the Haitian refugees. The President of the Dade County Federation of Labor issued a statement of support for fair asylum hearing and work authorization for Haitians. Cesar Chavez, the President of the United Fann Workers sent letters to California Senator John.V.Tunney and Allan Cranston, urging them to support asylum for the Haitians. The leaders of the Illinois chapter of the American Indian Movement offered their support in securing freedom and asylum for jailed refugees.
In March 1975, Labor, Civil Rights and Haitian community groups staged demonstration in front of the New York City offices of the U.S. State Department. In May 1976, U.S District Judge James Lawrence King ruled in favor of Marie Sannon. In Sannon V. United State. He ordered the INS to grant the plaintiffs a new asylum hearing. "The Haitians aren't criminal, their reason for leaving their homeland are as valid as those of Cuban, Vietnamese and Eastern European refugees, yet the federal government, for all its tarnished trumpeting about human rights goes on behaving toward the Haitians like the villain in a grade B political prisoner movie with the exception of the Haitians, the U.S has never made it a policy to detain people seeking political asylum" ( (Lindskoog, 2018, p. 20) In August 1976, eight members of congress which included Claude Pepper, William Lehman and Dante Fascell from Florida. Shirley Chrisholm, Edward Koch and Frederick Richmond from New York. Charles Rangel and Charles Diggs from Michigan, wrote to Joshua Eilberg, chair of the house of the subcommittee on immigration citizenship and international law asking the State Department and the Immigration Services to cease all deportation of exiles to Haiti. The members of congress were urging the subcommittee to pressure the State Department and Immigration service to allowed the Haitians to find employment to pay their legal counsel and support themselves. In spring of 1977, the jailed refugees at the Collier County Stockade Detention Center in Florida issued an appeal to the INS district supervisor. The Haitian refugees at "lmmokalee" what they called Collier County Detention at that time, felt as if they were stuck between the violence of Duvalier and the imprisonment and violence of the U.S. Government. Haitians prisoners in the El Paso Alien Detention facility were also seeking freedom by appealing to outside supporters. All refugee's bonds were between $500 and $1000 for release, However, all of them are without money and have no way of securing that amount for bail. Haitians became an example for other refugees. The government appealed and the case went to the Supreme Court in November 1977.
The U.S Coast Guards has been prohibiting vessels carrying Haitians since 1981. Haitian migrants were considered alien and illegal whenever they attempted to come to the U.S. The U.S Government quickly introduced a series of reinforcing practice to enforced its policy of denial for Haitian asylum seekers. The U.S Committee for refugees' practices included detention in local, state jails and prisons, if released after posting bonds the Haitians were denied work authorization due to the program of blanket denial of asylum. Increased enforcement on border control and Coast Guards negatively affected all undocumented immigrants, but it singled out Haitians. Poor black migrants entering the U.S less than 20 years after the start of the Civil Rights Movement. "When a nation chooses to police and cage many millions of people who reside within its borders, the implications for everything else that takes place in that country are vast" (Lindskoog, 2018, p. 7).
In September 1981, the first Haitian rebellion occurred at Krome detention in Florida because they were to be transferred to Fort Allen detention in Puerto Rico and another facility at Glasgow Montana. The Haitian detainers attacked the guards. As a result, Immigration officials ordered a training for future riots, and those who they thought to be leaders of the rebellion were shipped to a Federal prison in Ottisville, New York, and places very far from Miami. The defiance of Haitians prisoners was expanding to other detention sites. A group of Haitians at a Federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky, staged a hunger strike for freedom before Christmas. Eighty- Eight Haitian Prisoners at Fort Allen engaged in an eleven-hour standoff with the guards because they did not want to allow the facility officials to remove the body of a 30-year-old Haitian man who had died. They were worried that these officials would cover up the investigation and rule his death a suicide. A full rebellion exploded two weeks later and on New Year's Eve another hunger strike took place.
In 1982, activist in Miami performed a series of protests outside of Krome Avenue Detention center, meanwhile inside the center, the 730 detainees were conducting a hunger strike to demand their freedom. The minute the protesters heard rumors that the detainees were denied medical care they forced themselves in the facility. A clash happened and protesters broke down a fence and a hundred prisoners escaped into the surrounding Everglades before Krome guards,
U.S. border patrol and the metro police overpowered the insurrection and captured them. Baby Doc Duvalier was force out of Haiti in 1986.
Presidents of both parties have participated in enforcing policies which disallows Haitian migrants from entering the U.S.
In 1980, the Jimmy Carter Administration introduced something called the Haitian Program, which was a set of policies designed to deter Haitians from coming in and if they were already here this policy placed them in detention facilities and local jail basically denying them their asylum claims and sending them back to Haiti. Haitian and Cuban refugees were on boats trying to reach U.S soil. President Jimmy Carter created a new immigration classification, and 18,000 Haitians were denied entrance while 600,000 Cuban refugees were paroled into the United State. The Refugee Act of 1980 had just passed, both Cubans and Haitians were placed in refugee camps on military based across the United State. But Cubans were released and allowed to stay with families while Haitians remained in detention longer.
Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981 and hundreds of Cuban- and Haitian refugees that came during the refugee crisis the previous year were in detention. The Cuban-Haitian Entrant Act of 1980 did not protect Haitians coming on U.S. shores. Those who remained in detention were not qualified for the entrant program. The Reagan administration introduced a new Haitian detention program and a new policy of interdiction. From October 1,1980 to May 1,1981 5,529 Haitians arrived in the United States, but when Ronald Reagan became President immigration detention primarily applied to Haitian asylum seekers. The flow of Haitians to U.S. shores continued. In May 1981, the INS applied a policy of detention to Haitians arriving in the U.S. The
Ronald Reagan administration claimed the right to do this under Section 235(b) of the Immigration and naturalization Act of 1952. The act stated" Aliens who may not appear to the examining immigrant officer at the port of arrival to be clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to land shall be detained for further inquiry to be conducted by a special inquiry officer" (Lindskoog, 2018, p. 74). In the fall of 1981 the (NAACP) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People sent a letter to President Reagan stating that the treatment of Haitians is a violation of the ruling in the landmark of Civiletti case and of the Refugee Act of 1980, then in July 1982 Reagan administration expanded the imprisonment policy that had originally included only Haitians in order to mandate the detention of all unauthorized migrants. According to the U.S immigration service, 433 boats were intercepted and 25,551 Haitians returned to Port-au-Prince under the interdiction program from 1981 to 1991.
By September 1991, the surprise coup d'etat of Roger Lafontant and company opened the refugee exile again. With George Bush in power, within six months the U.S coast guard stopped more than 38,000 Haitians at sea. From 1991-1994 Haitians refugees were again at the center of the government's attempt to expand its immigration detention system. The Haitian refugee crisis was the peak of political tensions that was in the making in Haiti for at least 20 years around the time where Papa Doc Duvalier, his son and other military government were the dictator. Eventually, 10,747 were allowed to seek asylum claims in the U.S but they had to be screened by immigration officials on board ships or at the U.S naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Guantanamo Bay According to Amy Nethery and Stephanie J. Silver man, Guantanamo Bay was called "The first modern immigration detention Centre." (Lindskoog, 2018, p. 6).
The Bush Administration repatriation plan led to the establishment of camps at Guantanamo Bay and the establishment of an in-country processing program at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince. The minute that the camp was filled up with 12,000 refugees, President Bush ordered that all Haitians picked up at sea be returned to Haiti. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling gave him liberty to do this, stating that the Refugee Convention did not apply on the high seas. Additionally, which Bush refused to accept Haitian asylum seekers and did everything the U.S. Government could to keep Haitians from being able to seek asylum.
After taking office in January 1993, President Bill Clinton implemented his predecessor's policies, which are the same policies he criticized in his 1992 presidential campaign. The Clinton Administration continued the policy of interdiction and sent boats of Haitian refugees to another country. The Haitian refugees of Guantanamo Bay were allowed to enter the U.S. to pursue asylum claims but those picked up at sea were quickly returned to Haiti, in spite of the horrible human rights situations in Haiti. In 1994, under serious pressure, the Clinton Administration decided to do an on-ship refugee processing. However, the single naval vessel selected for the screening became packed with Haitians within a ten-day period, with a total of 10,000 refugees. Furthermore, the Clinton Administration reached out to the Caribbean states to create a safe sanctuary zone for Haitians in the Caribbean. The Caribbean states refused to accept Haitians, therefore Clinton decided to send them to Guantanamo Bay. The flood of Haitians was so large in Guantanamo Bay that the U.S. decided to repair the democratic government to Haiti just to invade Haiti in September 1994. The 1996 lllegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act was signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton During his reelection campaign, this Act pretty much means that authorities could remove anyone for a crime that is deportable. Under IIRIRA, all noncitizens and those with legal permanent residents were subjects to formal deportation. "The former applied to anyone authorities apprehended within one hundred miles of the border whom they deemed inadmissible at the time of entry, while the latter encompassed individuals with prior formal deportations or voluntary departures." (Goodman, 2020, p. 177)
In 2009, The Obama administration tried to provide temporary legal protection for undocumented immigrants. In 2012, his office began a program known as Deferred Action for childhood arrival(DACA). This program offered permit and two-year deportation deferrals to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S as children and who don't have criminal records. Obama also pushed for congress to pass the DREAM act that legislation had first introduced in 2001, the act allows ce1iain undocumented migrants who entered the United State before their 16th birthday and before 2007 to obtain a renewable 2-year work permit and exemption from deportation, but the Supreme Court terminated the program in 2016. Many people participated and 1.7 million more were eligible. The DREAM Act- subject to the restrictions in sub-paragraph(D) states... The Attorney general shall cancel removal of and adjust to the status of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, an alien who is inadmissible or deportable from the United State... (H.R. 1582, sec 3,). Here is a remark on immigration on June 15,2012." My administration will take [action] to mend our nation's immigration policy, to make it more fair, more efficient, and more just, specifically for certain young people called DREAMers" (Obama). The Obama administration deported a record of 438,421 unauthorized migrants, all these migrants they had dreams too.
In 2017, President Donald J. Trump came into office with immigration as a target. He declared an all-out war against immigrants and the current U.S immigration process. He blamed previous administrations fc)r not securing southern borders, and legal and illegal immigrants were at risk for deportation. During his first week in office he signed a list of Executive Orders, for the construction of a nearly 2,000 miles wall along the U.S Mexico Border; he hired 10,000 ICE officers and 5,000 border patrol agents. President Trump's motives were to restructure asylum, enforce deportation and border policies. Trump vowed to close the wall between the U.S- Mexico border to stop drugs, gangs and migrants from entering. Trump called it a National emergency and that helped him redirect money for the wall. Trump had a zero- tolerance policy and anyone caught crossing the southern border were arrested and prosecuted. It created family separation which became a policy. Trump increased border personnel and wanted to cut federal funding to so- called sanctuary cities and jurisdiction for those who refuse to execute federal immigration directives. Trump sought to end DACA, calling it unconstitutional, so intercepting boatload of migrant and sending them back is not unconstitutional? Denying Haitians, a chance for asylum isn't unconstitutional? He further restricted immigration amid the Covidl9 pandemic by limiting travel to the United States. Stopping asylum procedures and suspending many foreign workers visa and green cards. Trump was so malicious that he was using the public health crisis to further his anti-immigration agenda. Is that constitutional?
The Biden administration is under serious pressure to help the continuous flow of Haitians coming to U.S shores. Biden administration is trying to portray this image that they are not racist and want to help Haitians however his policies have yet proven to be different. The Biden administration is continuing the Trump administration illegitimate and unjustified use of Title 42, which continues to deny Haitians the asylum process they are entitled to by both their own federal law and international law. President Joe Biden pledged to reverse Trump's actions and reform the system but has yet to accomplish this task. Biden claimed he sent an immigration bill to congress which would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, expand visa and green card availability, broaden asylum eligibility and boost border security spending, but he needs enough republican support. The Biden administration set the Title 42 policy to end in May 2022, but it remains in place today under court order after litigation by state attorneys' general to block the termination. In recent months DHS began to process some vulnerable asylum seekers, including Haitians at ports of entry through humanitarian exceptions under the Title 42 order. The Title 42 is a blatant violation of refugee protection obligation under U.S and international law. This is another episode in a long history of discriminatory U.S. mistreatment of Haitian refugees
The Constitutional protections of due process and equal protection apply to everyone in the United States, including non-citizens even those not here lawfully. However, politically disqualified immigrants are an especially vulnerable group and are routinely denied these basic rights expressed in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The U.S. has the authority to control its borders and to regulate immigration but not in a way that denies immigrants their fundamental rights. Unfortunately, Haitians are routinely denied their Constitutional rights.
Article 3, from the U. Ns refugee convention stipulates non- discrimination by the receiving countries (by race, religion, and countries of origin). The principle of non-refoulement (non return) prohibits countries from returning migrants to dangerous conditions back home. In addition, The Fourteenth Amendment applied to all persons, without regards to any differences of race, of color or of nationality (118 U.S.356) and to aliens who has entered the country, and has become subject in all respect to its jurisdiction and a part of its population, although alleged to be illegal here. Furthermore, section one of the Fourteenth Amendment to the constitution enforce by the U.S Supreme court in 1886,1896 and 1903 exemplifies: no state shall "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law" (U.S. Constitution, amendment XIV, sec. I)
"Deportation in the early twentieth century was also connected to federal anticrime initiatives under the Eighteenth Amendment and the 1919 National Prohibition Enforcement Act (the Volstead Act). The Volstead act created a large, new federal agency: the bureau of prohibition within the bureau of Internal Revenue, with some 1,550 new federal enforcement agents. The federal government soon faced a unique array of new problems that led to a perceived need for effective exclusion and deportation laws". (Kanstroom, 2007, p. 136)
The detention of Haitian refugee is a violation of The United Nations protocol on the status of refugees and the denial of due process as a violation of the INS own operating instruction.
Following the 20 l O earthquake Haitians migrated to several countries. Brazil, where there is an estimate of 85,000 who arrived between 2010-2017, had construction jobs for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympic. The Brazilian government also offered humanitarian visas to certain Haitians. As of 2020, Brazil's Haitian population grew to an estimate of 143,000. When President Jair Bolsonaro became President racism grew and some Haitians left for Chile. Chile was said to be a better destination, so more than 12,000 Haitians arrived and this number exceeded 103,000 in 2017, however the 2017 election of President Sebastian Pinera led to immigration restrictions. Chile begin requiring visas for Haitians in 2018.Sixty-nine percent of Haitian's visa request were denied with work permits, which was required for job offers. From Brazil or Chile, Haitians must pass through multiple Countries to reach Mexico. The dangerous journey could take from a few months to a few years, and it all depends on resources, meaning time spent in detention centers, stopping for short term work or connection to smugglers.
The most dangerous part of the journey is across the Panama- Colombia border, in a region known as the Darien Gap. Migrants must hike across the 150-kilometer (93 miles) jungle, which take anywhere between four and 11 days depending on the season and migrants most often run out of food, are robbed, are swept away by rivers during flash floods or are injured while crossing. Haitian migrant did not begin to arrive until 2016, when nearly 17,000 crossed. Panama has relied on a policy called "controlled flow" (flujo controlado) to receive Haitians in camps in southern panama where transportation is arranged for them to move northward towards Costa Rica. This lengthy process means that Haitians wait for anywhere from several weeks to several months in panama. With the increase in Haitian Migrants Central America countries have struggled to receive them. Nicaragua closed its borders in late 2015, leaving many Haitians stuck for months in Costa Rica. Large number of Haitians began travelling through Central America and were jammed during transit.
There were approximately 400 apprehensions in 2018, but more than 10,000 in 2019. The reason for the drop in Haitian migration was because the united states resumed deportation to Haiti in mid-2016 after a multi- year pause following the 2010 earthquake. Also in 2019 under pressure from the United States, Mexico stopped issuing exit permits (salvo conductos) which authorities had previously given to seized migrants from outside the region whom Mexico had difficulty deporting. This document allowed migrants to transit through the country towards the United States. Now, with the suspension of exit permits, Mexico has required apprehended Haitians without legal status to stay in its southern region. The end of exit permits forced some Haitians to apply for Asylum in Mexico. Some were issued one year humanitarian visas (visas porrazones humanitarias) others were declared stateless and issued residency permits and others attempted to find a way out of Southern Mexico. Late 2019 and early 2020, Mexico began deporting large number of Haitians. Many Haitians are running out of savings during these trips, and they are in desperate need of cash and are willing to do anything for cash to continue their journey, so therefore, with knowledge of this situation the Mexican Cartels are now offering Haitians cash for an organ and those who refuse are subject to be Abducted. Most Haitians accepts and the organs are removed and sold on the black market.
In 2021, several thousand children born to Haitians in Chile and Brazil have been apprehended and sent back to Haiti. 50,000 to be exact. Colombia officials estimated in July 2021 that 1,500 Haitians migrants crossed the border from Equator each day. In August 2022, Colombia agreed to join Panama and Costa Rica in the controlled flow policy and limit the number of migrants crossing into Panama, also this august U.S border patrol made more than 30,000 apprehensions of Haitians nearly all at the U.S-Mexico border. This marks the most Haitians ever apprehended at the U.S land border and the second largest since 1992, when authorities intercepted Haitians 38,000 times at sea, unbelievable! Recently thousands of Haitians living in Venezuela have also fled that country's political and economic instability. Most of the Haitians arriving at the border today come from Venezuela and Chile.
As of September 2022 no more than 500 migrants are allowed to cross into Panama per day. As of today, there are no large established Haitian communities in Central America, but in Mexico. It is important to know that Haitians for the first time represent the most common nationality of asylum applicants. Haitians migrant in Latin America have faced many challenges including intense anti-black and anti- immigrant attitude. Being refused work, not being allowed medical treatment or reporting a crime, however discrimination is always the experience of Haitian migrants in ways not experienced by non-black migrants. Haitian migrants also lack access to translator or interpreters when seeking jobs, legal protection and social services.
Haitians are obviously leaving Haiti because they are afraid, there are no jobs, there is no help for the poor, the Haitian government are corrupted, gangs are kidnapping and killing innocent people, invading the capital and chasing the population out. Haitians are taking the risk of traveling in boats made from large chunks of Styrofoam fastened together and outfitted with a sail or motorcycle engine, or large empty oil drums welded together and covered by a stretch of canvas according to pictures posted by the coast guard and other groups. After being stopped, Haitians are transferred to coast guard ship while crews spray paint ("CG OK) coast guards ok, on the side of the vessels and set them adrift in the current. The initials on the vessels are meant as a signal to loved ones awaiting them on shore that the passengers were picked up and are alive but in route back to Haiti. The Haitians are often dehydrated, hungry and broiled from the sun. they have no life jackets, no food, little water. The weather is bad, "overloaded boats and rough seas could turn the sea journeys deadly" (Cubans, Haitians are fleeing, 2022, p.5). So many Haitians perish at sea.
Haitians migrate to the U.S because they face economic and political instability, and to improve life for themselves and their relatives back home. The current wave of Haitian migrants fleeing Haiti is due to the country experiencing constant crises. Last summer, Haiti suffered a magnitude of 7.2 earthquake and tropical storms that have killed an estimate of 2,200 with a thousand more missing and injured. Also, the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise worsened the violence and instability in Haiti. After Moise's assassination, the Biden Administration could have met with civil- society leaders, among them the commission to find a Haitian solution to the crisis in Haiti, which has drafted an agreement that was recently signed by close to 900 organizations representing political, judicial, labor, feminist, agricultural and other groups. The Haiti that has forced so many to flee in recent years is in many ways incapable of dealing with their forced return. Yet other migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela, Afghanistan and now Russia are allowed to enter the U.S to seek asylum.
Today, the rates of Haitians being granted asylum continue to be the lowest of any nationality. According to an analysis of recent removals by the organization Washington Office on Latin America in May 2022, " no other country whose citizens are expelled by air comes close to Haiti" in terms of the numbers. (Misra, 2022, p. 24). This kind of calamity is what asylum was designed for in the period following World War II.
Haitians are risking their lives, getting on makeshift boats and travelling thousands of miles away from the only place they have ever known. They are taking a very dangerous journey to find sanctuary. Why is a population fleeing their country? Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere yet no other country is willing to help them. Now with the fear of gangs, cholera and economic instability, the Haitian population are just dying every day. The treatment of Haitian migrants is similar to African American during slavery and oppression of indigenous people. To begin to address the migration conflicts, one would have to recognize all the discouraging facts. Haiti's presently impoverished economy, tarnished environment and weak government capacity. Haiti faces years perhaps decades before grmvth. Haiti needs technical and financial assistance. Haiti have great difficulty for historical and political reasons and the prospect for significant improvements on these issues are not promising. Haiti's recovery will eventually depend upon its ability to compete in the international marketplace. Economic recovery will therefore mean challenging its Caribbean neighbors in the quest for a fair share of international capital, technology, markets and consumer and tourism dollars. But for now we could only hope that the
U.S could help the Haitian people who are trying to escape the turmoil in Haiti and seeking asylum abroad. Haitians are afraid to return to Haiti and take a dangerous journey to reach the U.S borders and soils. History always repeat itself and for Haitians this has always been our story.
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