Haitian migrants struggle to start a new life in Mexico

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Published on: Amended:

Monterrey (Mexico) (AFP)

Haitian migrants turned back at the US border are struggling to adjust to life in Mexico, where crime, lack of jobs and difficulty obtaining documents are undermining their morale.

The United States announced Friday that the last of the migrants illegally camping under a bridge on the Texan side of the border had either left or evacuated, many of whom were deported to Haiti.

Hours later, Haitian migrants abandoned another makeshift encampment in Ciudad Acuna, on the Mexican side of the border.

But their departure was by no means the end of a crisis that has seen tens of thousands of Haitians arrive in Mexico since August in the hope of joining the United States.

Other cities like Monterrey in northeastern Mexico are now seeing an increased influx of migrants fleeing poverty and violence in their countries, or dwindling opportunities in the South American countries where they have emigrated there. years ago.

“We Haitians dream of reaching the United States for our families to have a better life, but the immigration authorities are not letting anyone through. That is why we are here,” AFP told AFP. Joseph Yorel, 34, in an overcrowded shelter in Monterrey.

Even in Monterrey, one of Mexico’s most industrialized cities, finding a job is no easy task for migrants Julio César AGUILAR AFP

For now, he has decided to stay in Mexico with his wife and seven-month-old son while his asylum claim is processed.

“If I find a job to live in Mexico and support my family… then I have no problem staying here,” he said.

– ‘Tip of the iceberg’ –

Yorel and his family traveled to Mexico by land from Chile, crossing a dozen countries, including the Darien Gap, a lawless strip of jungle between Colombia and Panama.

At least 19,000 Haitians are stranded near the Colombia-Panama border in hopes of following in his footsteps.

Thousands more are waiting in the town of Tapachula, in southern Mexico, for documents that would allow them to continue north.

Even in Monterrey, one of Mexico’s most industrialized cities, finding a job is no easy task.

“My cousin spent all day looking for work. I asked the company for a job there, but they told me there wasn’t any,” Yorel said, pointing to one. neighboring building.

Some migrants receive remittances sent by relatives from the United States, but they also rely on charity
Some migrants receive remittances sent by relatives from the United States, but they also rely on charity Julio César AGUILAR AFP

Migrants apply for refugee status with the help of volunteer lawyers, but the process can take months.

The Casa Indi hostel in Monterrey has seen a sharp increase in arrivals over the past week and is now providing assistance to around 2,000 migrants, mostly Haitians, spokesman Jose Salinas said.

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

“We expect a lot more to come from Tapachula because it’s a time bomb there. Not just Haitians but Central Americans and other nationalities as well,” Salinas said.

– ‘I can not go out’ –

Some migrants receive remittances sent by relatives from the United States, but the money is not enough and they also depend on charity.

They sleep on blankets on the ground, drink water from containers provided by the shelter and queue to receive food.

At nightfall, migrants avoid leaving the shelter for fear of being victims of crime or police abuse
At nightfall, migrants avoid leaving the shelter for fear of being victims of crime or police abuse Julio César AGUILAR AFP

Children spend their time playing soccer or skipping rope.

At nightfall, they avoid leaving the shelter for fear of being victims of crime or police abuse.

A migrant who did not want to be named said the thieves took $ 200 sent by a relative. Others say their cell phones have been stolen.

“We can’t go out to dinner. The police here are very bad. I don’t know about Mexicans, but the police treat us foreigners very badly,” Yorel said.


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