Tens of thousands of Haitian migrants have already landed on U.S. soil, and many more could be on their way.
By Emily Faith Grodin, Staff Writer
Last month images emerged from the Haitian refugee camp at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. Border patrol agents could be seen on horseback among the many migrants under an overhead bridge.
The situation is still currently developing, but the public and human rights activists are already concerned. Some drastic measures have been taken. In the last few weeks Gov. Greg Abott of Texas ordered a makeshift border be created using vehicles. The fear of further mass arrivals looms overhead, and the public has kept a close eye on the matter as it develops. Valley student Mercedes Gonzalez says that the U.S. should be a better nation and take care of its brothers and sisters.
“It feels incompetent and entitled,” said Gonzalez. “There are certain privileges we Americans take for granted.”
Haitians have long come to the U.S. seeking refuge. But the extreme numbers currently seen could be the result of a chain of events suffered in Haiti, as well as a massive miscommunication.
On May 22, Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced a temporary protective status for Haitians residing in the U.S. by July 29, 2021. Mayorkas listed lack of basic resources and crippling poverty as reasons for enacting the protection. Two months after the announcement was made, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated by a group of mercenaries. Just over a month later on Aug. 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the Tiburon Peninsula in the Caribbean nation of Haiti. It was only a few weeks later on Sept. 17 that the media began reporting the increasing number of Haitians arriving in the U.S. and speculating the reason for the sudden surge.
NBC News reports that Customs and Borders Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis “all had information as far back as July that indicated that large groups of Haitians were making their way north from South and Central America to the U.S. border,” according to three unnamed U.S. officials. But the information was not efficiently shared in regard to the mass numbers, or speed of which the Haitians would arrive. Now that they are here, it is a matter of figuring out what comes next for migrants. English major Erick Macias says he knows it is bad and that refugees need help.
“We can’t help the whole world but at least help provide housing and food,” said Macias. “Figure the rest out later.”
According to the Associated Press, Haitians make their way to the U.S. by way of a commonly known and used route. Their journey begins by flying to Chile, Brazil or somewhere else in South America. They must then make their way through Central America and Mexico. The last step is to wait in one of the cities close to the border for the right opportunity to cross into U.S. territory.
While the story is still unfolding, CNBC reported on Sept. 24 that there are no longer migrants camped underneath the Del Rio bridge. Many went back to Mexico voluntarily. Some have been allowed into the country but must appear in court on a scheduled day and roughly two thousand have been taken back to Haiti.