Haitian immigrants in Del Rio (Texas), who entered the United States through the Rio Grande, are waiting to be reported by the US authorities or stay to find a roof to sleep.
Many wonder how so many Haitian immigrants have come to Texas rather than Florida, the closest state to their nation. Experts say they were probably in Central America due to the natural disasters that have struck their country, and the government so dysfunctional that it has caused the flow of emigration from the country.
As is well known, job opportunities are extremely rare in Latin America, especially as the pandemic continues. Hence, Haitian immigrants began seeking asylum in the United States.
Eduardo Gamarra, the professor of political science at Florida International University, said: “The ultimate goal is always the United States. And the pattern is one that the Haitians did not start. The Cubans started it. They are the ones whom they marked this path. “
Possible antecedents that drove immigration
In 2010, a devastating earthquake occurred, causing many problems in Haiti, which led more than 1.5 million Haitians to move to South and Central America, leaving their homeland behind.
Haitian immigrants received work visas for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil (2014) and the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro (2016). In this sense, by doing this, they managed to obtain permanent residence for humanitarian reasons. In August 2020, around 143,000 Haitians were residing in Brazil.
In 2017, around 64,567 Haitians were residing in Chile. According to the Inter-American Dialogue (a group of experts based in Washington), they declared an estimated 150,000 Haitian inhabitants in Chile.
Jacques Jonassaint, former special envoy of President Emile Jonassaint to the Clinton administration, said: “They did not obtain those visas; the Chilean government refused to give them the visas, and the reason for that is that to obtain a permit to work in Chile there is a This process is very long and the majority of Haitians do not carry paperwork with them, “referring to the fact that Haitians did not obtain work visas throughout Chilean territory.
In the beginning, Haitian citizens could obtain tourist visas in Chile. Despite the year 2018, the then presidents of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, created a decree with which he canceled the temporary visas that allowed Haitians to go from tourists to migrants once they found a job.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit Latin America particularly hard in its entirety. Brazil, the country and the largest economy in the South American region, contracted 4.1% last year, and nearly 600,000 people have died from COVID-19.
The United States government was tasked with dispatching federal agents to border areas to increase security and prevent more Haitians from entering the United States illegally.
A few days ago, images of US border agents pursuing Haitian immigrants on horseback leaked online. The videos sparked media outrage, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki calling the images “horrible” and Democratic lawmakers demanding accountability.