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.