Haitian migrant crisis leaves thousands in limbo
The deportation of thousands of Haitians from the US back to their country of origin could result in a continent-wide crisis
by Theodore Williamson
A continent-wide crisis is currently unfolding across Mexico, Chile, and the US, with thousands of Haitians being deported from North and South America, followed by a humanitarian emergency landing on Haiti’s shores in Port-au-Prince.
Ferry boat full of people in Haiti. Photo courtesy of David Mark via Pixabay.
In the US, Texas has seen the highest rate of deportations to Haiti. This has left thousands of families impoverished in a homeland they have not seen in years. Many of them have children born abroad, among others in the US, who have never lived in Haiti. Yet they are expected to build a life in an unknown country.
With this massive influx of citizens, the Government of Haiti is struggling to provide housing and aid due to the substantial inflow rate of arrivals.
As a result, large numbers must live in little better than tents with little or no sanitation access.
Given that the world is still battling a global pandemic, the situation in Haiti right now is nothing less than a ticking timebomb disguised as the fight on illegal immigration. After all, Haiti is a developing nation and so lacking funds to acquire vaccines and mechanisms to offer a nationwide rollout. In an interview with the BBC, many families who found themselves back in Haiti report an increase in gun and gang violence. Plenty of young women feel unsafe and at risk, whereas in the US – they argue – they felt safer and had better life prospects. Now they have nothing.
Children on a beach in Haiti. Photo courtesy of David Greenwood-Haigh via Pixabay.
“They are arriving here with nothing. They lost their ties with their families here, most of them. They do not know where to go” – a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration told the BBC. “The situation in Haiti is critical” – they added – with buses and planes carrying those deported arriving all day, non-stop. Neither the migrants’ situation nor the helping mechanisms were aided by an earthquake a few weeks ago either.
The lack of concern and solidarity shown by bigger American nations who have chosen to deport migrants by the busload calls into question the values of being not just open to all but also the land of the free. They have donated millions of vaccines via the global COVAX program giving 73 countries, including Haiti, access to vaccines that have proven to be impossible to be obtained by them. However, the US, Mexico, and Chile are still putting the lives of thousands at unnecessary risk during a pandemic simply because many of these families had no choice but to enter the country illegally.