How Thousands of Haitian Immigrants Reach the Texas Border | global development

Every night, the cow was shot and fell asleep. Gangsters fighting in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince were fighting in the city center.

During the day, the country was hit by bloody protests against the lack of food and fuel. Interruptions to tire burning were common, and police responded with tear gas and batons.

“I was afraid to go out,” said Guy. “We have no choice but to get out of Haiti.” He began making plans to reach the United States—and he wasn’t alone.

Officials in the Texas city of Del Rio, Texas, declared a state of emergency on Friday after nearly 12,000 migrants (mostly from Haiti) gathered under and around a bridge on the Mexican border.

The influx overwhelmed local officials, presented Joe Biden with new challenges and exposed the growing immigration crisis caused by the many overlapping disasters that have plagued Haiti.

For many immigrants, crossing the Rio Grande is the last small step in the odyssey that extends beyond the Caribbean to the depths of South America.

Most people fly from Haiti to Ecuador, but visitors to Haiti do not require a visa and are looking for jobs in Brazil or Chile or traveling north through the dangerous jungle of the Darien Gap to Central America . Head to Mexico.

At every level, they are at the mercy of security forces targeting travelers and the unstable infrastructure of organized crime groups and people-smuggling businesses.

Guy was one of thousands of immigrants, again mostly Haitian. They recently got stuck in Necocli, a beach town in Colombia, where local ferries to Panama could not meet demand.

Like many others, he lived in Brazil, where he was engaged in informal construction work. However, as his work was finished and his welcome was recognized from the Biden administration, he headed north.

“We follow what’s in front of us,” Guy said yesterday afternoon. “It doesn’t matter if it’s dangerous or not.”

Armed groups dominate Haiti’s Port-au-Prince Martian district, hit by a recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake. Photo: Orlando Barria/EPA

Others have opted for a more direct but equally dangerous journey to the United States, pursuing life on the high seas. On Monday, the Coast Guard intercepted a 35-foot-long boat carrying 103 people 18 miles off the Florida coast. They stayed at sea for 6 days.

There are many reasons to avoid Haiti. The poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere have long been plagued by violence, corruption and poverty, but became even more destabilized after the mysterious assassination of President Jovanel Mois in July.

Natural disasters also regularly affect the country due to climate change and poor planning. On 7 August, a devastating earthquake struck southern Haiti, killing at least 2,200 people and leaving more than 30,000 homeless.

Anxiety is suppressed in Port-au-Prince. Gangsters, often with political backing, launch violent campaigns that have been compared to a civil war. Civilians can be involved in gunfire, robbed in an instant, or kidnapped for ransom. Meanwhile, there are few public services. Garbage is not picked up and thousands of homes do not have running water or toilets.

“Port-au-Prince no longer has a normal life,” said Louis Henri Mars, who is implementing a peacebuilding initiative in a gang-controlled slum in the capital. “There are 165 gangsters in Port-au-Prince, who are more armed than the police, so they cannot be driven away without collateral damage.”

Michelle Mitterstadt of the Immigration Policy Institute said the Joe Biden administration’s belief that Donald Trump would treat immigrants more compassionately was wrong, even though he was involved in a surge in arrivals. Rice field.

“From the Trump administration, which essentially did everything it could to limit migrants, whether legal or illegal, to view migrants as net worth and migrants as security and economic. We have moved into a regime that Which we do not see as a threat,” Mitterstedt said. “People understand that there may be windows to act here.”

However, the arrival of Haiti, which craves a welcome mat when it is processed, may have caused a rude awakening. The Biden administration changed the post-earthquake deportation suspension to Haiti. A flight full of immigrants has left for Port-au-Prince this week, and eight more are reported to leave next week.

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