Haitian migrants, a group that President Trump singled out as particularly unwelcome immigrants, have found a home in Mexico, as the United States turns away increasing numbers of asylum seekers at the border.
Thousands of desperate migrants traveling through Mexico in the hope of entering the United States are camped out on the Mexican side of the border. Most of the migrants are from Central America, but many are refugees from Haiti, one of the nations that Trump branded a “shithole country.” He also placed nations on the African continent in that category.
While there are large Haitian immigrant communities in the United States, the hostile immigration climate under the Trump administration has made them feel unwelcome. The administration announced last year that it intended to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haitians by the summer of 2018. Under that status, they had enjoyed temporary amnesty.
Mexico has been far more welcoming to Haitian migrants, where many of the refugees have found a home.
Most of the Haitians migrated to Brazil after the 2010 earthquake destroyed much of their homeland, according to the Associated Press. They found jobs when Brazil hosted the Olympics and World Cup. When the economy began to struggle, scores of them headed to the United States through Mexico. As the United States shut its doors to immigration, many settled in Tijuana.
Indeed, opportunities to legally enter the United States are diminishing. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that immigration judges should largely disregard asylum applications based on claims of domestic abuse or gang violence, the New York Times reported.
Things are not perfect for Haitians who are stuck in Mexico, but they have found employment and housing in an area that has become known as “Little Haiti.”
During a recent Mexican presidential debate, candidate Ricardo Anaya praised Tijuana for offering a home to the Haitian refugees.
“I get goose bumps. … That is the Mexico I want, a generous Mexico, a Mexico with arms open,” Anaya said, according to the Associated Press.