Many Haitian Immigrants End up in the USA Through South America

After a photo of a US border patrol agent on horseback went viral, folks want to know: how did so many Haitian migrants get to Mexico?

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Sep. 22 2021, Published 2:19 p.m. ET

How did Haitian migrants get to Mexico
Source: Getty

Immigration has been a hot topic of conversation since Roman times. The word "barbarians" dates back to Ancient Rome and was used for folks who weren't of Greek or Roman heritage. It was a condescending term that made fun of the way non-Latin languages sounded.

Immigration has been a point of contention for thousands of years. Currently, people want to know how so many Haitian migrants got to Mexico.

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How did Haitian migrants get to Texas?

A now-viral photo of a US Border Patrol agent "rounding up" Haitian migrants attempting to cross the Texas/Mexico border has renewed a growing immigration debate in America. Vice President Kamala Harris has stated that she doesn't believe there is any "context [that] would make that appropriate."

The Guardian reported that "more than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants have been removed from the encampment at the Texas border town of Del Rio ..."

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas stated, "If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life."

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A caravan of people
Source: Getty Images

Many Americans were surprised to learn that a large number of Haitians were apprehended trying to cross into the United States illegally from Mexico, when Florida, which is closer to the Caribbean, would seem like a more logical entry point.

But there are a few reasons why this is the case. USA Today writes that "many of [these] migrants, experts say, were likely already in Central America, as powerful natural disasters and an often-dysfunctional government prompted a steady flow of out-migration for more than a decade."

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However, a professor of Political Science at Florida International University states that for many migrants who go to South America, "the end goal is always the United States" and that "the pattern is one that wasn't really begun by the Haitians, it was begun by the Cubans. They're the ones who set this trail."

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After the 2010 earthquake, many Haitians were forced to flee their homes and head to South and Central America. Refugees from Haiti were able to find work in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio. When employment opportunities dried up, many journeyed up north for better lives.

As for how the migrants reach Mexico, they usually charter flights to a South or Central American country and then take a series of buses up north across the continent.

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Some Haitian immigrants have been able to establish businesses and work in Mexican factories and farms.

AP News referenced how small neighborhoods consisting of Haitian restaurants and places of commerce have sprouted in Tijuana, but many are looking for job opportunities in the United States. The outlet spoke with one Haitian immigrant by the name of Exile (who joked about his name destining him and his family to be "on the run" from their native country) is urging others to stay in Mexico.

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The Biden administration has taken a strong stance against illegal immigration, and the recent "round up" in Del Rio is further evidence of that. Plans have been put in place to evacuate captured illegal immigrants to their countries of origin.

Other South and Central American countries have reportedly taken firm stances against Haitian immigration.

Chile's government has begun aerial deportations of Haitian migrants, but Mexico's stance seems to be softer. There are a large number of U.S. automotive manufacturers and agricultural farms where immigrants can secure work. Some 19,000 Haitians and counting have applied for asylum in Mexico this year alone.

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