things that matter

Here’s Why Haiti Is Reaching Out To Mexico To Build Up Their Diplomatic Relationship

Guillermo Arias / Getty

Mexico has seen a steady stream of Haitian migrants entering the country since the 2010 earthquake that devastated Port Au Prince, Haiti. Many originally tried to settle in Brazil after the earthquake but the country’s recession prompted many to make the voyage to the United States, according to NPR. In 2016, according to TIME Magazine, the United States saw a spike in Haitian migrants trying to enter the country via Mexico. While some were allowed to come into the U.S. on humanitarian visas, the program ended in late 2016, leaving thousands of Haitians stuck in Mexico, particularly Tijuana. With no way into the U.S. and a country that has seen one natural disaster after another, these migrants have been left in limbo as they try to figure out what to do next.

In response to a change in U.S. immigration policies affecting Haitian migrants and the state of their island nation, Mexico has started to regularize some of the migrants, according to Haiti Libre. Regularizing, according to the Migration Policy Institute, is a way of integrating migrants into a country’s system. It’s also referred to as amnesty, normalization or legalization. Haiti Libre reports that almost 77 percent of Haitian immigrants have been regularized in Mexico. The minister of Haitians Living Abroad, Stéphanie Auguste, is asking Mexico for help with the diaspora.

The request to build a stronger partnership with Mexico comes at a time when Haitian migrants are waiting for long periods of time to get entry to the U.S. under asylum or refugee status. The Diaspora Support Initiatives Project for Local and Regional Authorities would set up a support network for Haitians living in Mexico because of these long wait times. According to Haiti Libre, Minister Auguste met with Mexican Ambassador Jose Luis Alvaro to discuss the plan. Alvaro said he would follow up on a plan to create such a system.

You can read more about the diaspora program and Haiti’s plea with Mexico here.


READ: Here’s What It’s Like To Be A Black Migrant In Mexico

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After Criticism, Border Patrol Announces It Will Close Immigration Checkpoints In Path Of Hurricane Harvey

things that matter

After Criticism, Border Patrol Announces It Will Close Immigration Checkpoints In Path Of Hurricane Harvey

Charles Ommanney / Getty

As Texas braces for Hurricane Harvey, officials have encouraged some residents to evacuate.

The hurricane, which has already made landfall in Corpus Christi and as of now has been upgraded to a category 3 hurricane, is expected to bring as much as 52 inches of rain in some areas through Wednesday.

“This is really going to stretch the emergency services in the state of Texas in the days ahead,” CNN meteorologist Tom Sater said.

For those people who have chosen not to evacuate, have taken precautions by getting supplies and boarding up their homes.

With so much chaos, you’d think that certain law enforcement would clear the streets to make room for serious emergencies, but that is not the case.

In some parts of Texas, the U.S. Border Patrol will still have checkpoints open.

NPR reports that the Border Patrol has “checkpoints up to 100 miles north of the border.” Typically, the undocumented immigrants that live in the area known as the Rio Grande Valley stay put in order to avoid the Border Patrol.

As Hurricane Harvey nears, undocumented immigrants that want to evacuate and remain out of harms away are now stuck. They can try to leave and get detained by the Border Patrol, or they can travel south back to Mexico.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the Border Patrol’s move to stay open was “disgusting.”

“As people seek refuge from Hurricane Harvey, they are likely to have to go north or west of Texas and would have to go through a checkpoint,” Lorella Praeli, ACLU director of immigration policy and campaigns, said in a statement. “By keeping checkpoints open, the Border Patrol is putting undocumented people and mixed-status families at risk out of fear of deportations. This is a disgusting move from the Border Patrol that breaks with past practices. The Border Patrol should never keep checkpoints open during any natural disasters in the United States. Everyone, no matter the color of their skin or background, is worth saving.”

This is the first time the Border Patrol has chosen not to close checkpoints during a hurricane.

According to NPR, ICE said that they will not make detainments at “evacuation sites, or assistance centers such as shelters or food banks,” but they will, however, enforce the law elsewhere.

“The laws will not be suspended, and we will be vigilant against any effort by criminals to exploit disruptions caused by the storm.”

Undocumented immigrants who chose not to evacuate out of fear of being deported now face an even bigger danger.

UPDATE:The Border Patrol just released a new statement saying they will close checkpoints that are in the path of the hurricane.

The Border Patrol just released a new statement on Friday afternoon, saying they will close checkpoints that are in the path of the hurricane.

“These closures will occur in a manner that ensures the safety of the traveling public and our agents. Border Patrol checkpoints that are outside of the path of the hurricane will remain operational.”

READ: This Man Was On His Way To Protest Texas’ ‘Racial Profiling’ Bill When He Was Racially Profiled By A Police Officer

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