Haitians learn from experience to reach Mexico’s Tijuana By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Haitian migrants discuss after washing their garments at an Evangelical Church, getting used as a shelter for stranded immigrants on their option to the U.S., in Tijuana, Mexico, February 12, 2017. Image taken February 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

By Lizbeth Diaz

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) – Whereas hundreds of Haitians had been detained, deported or expelled from a camp on Mexico’s frontier with Texas final week, many others traveled west to the border metropolis of Tijuana, hoping to keep away from a crackdown geared toward stemming the rising tide of migrants.

Evading detection, paying hundreds of {dollars}, and shunning in style routes, these coming to Tijuana have drawn on the assistance of fellow Haitians who reached the doorstep of america 5 years in the past throughout one other spike in migration.

Contact with established Haitians within the metropolis, together with these in native enterprise, has smoothed the pathway north, in accordance with greater than two dozen vacationers who spoke to Reuters.

Since July, that community has additionally helped some Haitians to cross into america, they mentioned.

“Thank God, we made it,” mentioned Alexandre Guerby, a 26-year-old just lately arrived in Tijuana along with his spouse after a month-long journey from Chile, the place the couple had been dwelling for the previous 4 years with their Chilean-born daughter.

“I really feel a lot safer now,” added Guerby, who acknowledged the assistance of different Haitians in reaching Tijuana.

Mexico final week labored with america to clear an impromptu camp of a number of thousand Haitians that sprang up between Ciudad Acuna, Mexico and Del Rio, Texas. Many had come from Chile or Brazil to achieve america.

Guerby’s household is amongst a whole lot who’ve been trickling into town reverse San Diego this month, in accordance with new arrivals and operators of migrant shelters.

His journey mirrors that of predecessors who first fled a serious 2010 earthquake in Haiti and persistent poverty for South America. Many then moved north en masse for america in 2016 because the Brazilian economic system deteriorated.

A variety of Haitians got here with kids born in Chile, voicing the idea that will make it simpler for them to get into america. Chilean residents can enter america for as much as 90 days with a visa waiver.

Settling in varied elements of Tijuana, some Haitians work in eating places and factories, whereas others have companies starting from mobile phone outlets to automotive washes, gardening, plumbing and inside ornament, native promoting and residents say.

Most are cautious of going public about their achievements lest it trigger them issues with migration authorities or appeal to the eye of organized crime.

Diverson Pierre, an industrial painter, mentioned he had arrived in Tijuana in 2017 meaning to go to america.

“However as soon as I noticed that individuals handled us effectively right here, I made a decision to remain,” he mentioned. “My intention was to search out work, and I discovered it.”

Reuters spoke to greater than 20 Haitians and Mexicans in Tijuana who mentioned they had been advising new Haitian arrivals the place to remain, or had provided them rooms to lease themselves.

“They’ve extraordinary communication with one another. All of them pull in the identical course,” mentioned Jose Garcia, director of town’s Juventud 2000 shelter. “They’ve telephones of their hand on a regular basis and all the time understand how issues are on the border.”

Wilner Metelus, a Haitian who heads advocacy group the Residents Committee in Protection of Naturalized Individuals and Afro-Mexicans, mentioned earlier arrivals had proven the newest inflow of Haitians find out how to keep away from official raids and make progress.

New arrival Guerby additionally needs to achieve america, however plans first to work in Mexico to replenish his exhausted financial savings, having spent hundreds of {dollars} getting north.


Afraid of being deported house, or despatched again to southern Mexico, and even to Guatemala, Haitian migrants mentioned they traveled in small teams to keep away from detection.

Generally that even meant moving into personal automobiles or taxis so they might dodge authorities by avoiding the primary roads.

“All the things on the best way was way more costly as a result of we didn’t have papers,” mentioned Astride Petit, a 25-year-old Haitian.

Migrants generally needed to pay as much as 500 pesos ($25) for stretches that will often price 80-100 pesos, Petit famous. Nonetheless, the extra price made for safer journey, he mentioned.

Different Haitians had been in a position to journey by way of Mexico like common vacationers, regardless of missing the requisite papers. A quantity confirmed Reuters early morning bus tickets they’d purchased to get north from the japanese city of Poza Rica.

In distinction to the arrival of Haitians to Tijuana in 2016, many arrived with assistance from “coyotes” or guides, who took them straight to boarding homes and residences, making them much less conspicuous, the heads of 5 migrant shelters instructed Reuters.

That has additionally made it tougher to estimate what number of Haitians are in Tijuana, native officers say.

The largest Mexican metropolis on the U.S. border, Tijuana has lengthy been a serious thoroughfare for migrant site visitors, and there may be robust sympathy for the Haitian migrants in some quarters.

“In Tijuana, our expertise has been they’re very laborious working. They need to be given an opportunity,” mentioned Ruben Iturriaga, a neighborhood hairdresser who mentioned he had many Haitian shoppers.

“We Mexicans are additionally immigrants: we go to america and that is why we should not shut the door on them.”

Footage broadcast on tv and social media confirmed Mexican officers at occasions utilizing heavy-handed strategies to beat again migrants, prompting sharp protests from rights teams and even criticism from President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Baja California, the state the place Tijuana lies, has historically been one of many fastest-growing in Mexico, and native labor minister Luis Algorri mentioned the Haitians are welcome.

“We’re open to the migrants getting jobs shortly,” he mentioned. “We’ve got 25,000 posts to be crammed on the coastal area.”

($1 = 20.0490 Mexican pesos)

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