News and Highlights

Highlights

2021 ISLAC HIGHLIGHTS

About Haiti and Haitians

Director of ISLAC Dr. Padilla, is sharing some thoughts about about the current situation with Haitians in the Americas.

In January 2010, an earthquake shook Haiti. Haiti had still no recovered from such catastrophic event, when in mid-August 2021 another earthquake shook the country again.

One of the many consequences of the 2010 earthquake was that thousands of Haitians left their native land, in a journey throughout Latin America. At that time, Brazil needed labor to build the infrastructure for the Soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games, so it offered humanitarian visas to Haitians, who traveled by bus, foot or plane to the promised land. While many found work during the years of growth, once the World Cup and the Olympics were over, they became dispensable, so many of them continue they journey of migration to other Latin American countries. Likewise, Chile attracted many Haitians with job offers, but in 2018, the country changed its migration policies, forcing many to leave. However, what was common for Haitians in Brazil, Chile and other Latin American countries where they passed was racism and discrimination.

As the attractiveness of Brazil and Chile wore out, many Haitians began a new journey, from South America to the US-Mexican border. Many Haitians requested asylum in Mexico and thousands have been waiting in Mexico to cross the border to join family members living in the US. Haitians started arriving to Mexico as early as 2016; it has not been out of the blue, yet .

In May, the Biden administration announced that it would grant Temporary Protection Status to Haitians already in the US, however such measures, many times, tend to be misinterpreted. It is in this context that many Haitians crossed the border in Texas, and that border patrol officers, in horses and holding whips, tried to stop them. The images are inhumane and the actions a violation of human rights. In addition, many Haitians are being deported to their country of origin, which has no conditions to receive them, as people are still living the repercussions of the 2021 earthquake. We cannot forget that Haiti is the poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean, so if there is something that Haiti and Haitians need today is support and aid.

I feel that as an antiracist migration scholar, it is my duty to inform the ISLAC community about these events. People requesting asylum must be heard and protected, there are international laws and treaties that must be respected, racism should not prevail.

Florida is home to the largest Haitian community in the United States, my solidarity goes to them.

Dr. Beatriz Padilla-ISLAC Director