En Camino: Haitians and the journey through Central America and Mexico
This week the Franciscan Network on Migration’s monthly Facebook Live broadcast, En Camino, or “On the way,” featured staff of the Haitian Bridge Alliance and the Quixote Center discussed the situation of Haitians crossing through Central America and Mexico. You can watch below.
The focus on Haitian and other non-Latin American migrants has increased in recent weeks, as border closures and other restrictions have left many Caribbean, African and Asian migrants trapped in refugee camps in Central America and Mexico.
Last week, even PBS News Hour featured reports on the journey through the Darien Gap between Panama and Colombia, and the situation in Panama, where many are now trapped.
On Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala, camps are filled with migrants from Haiti, Cuba, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere. Unable to simply turn these people back across the border, Mexico detains some. Others, intending to come to the U.S. have opted to apply for asylum in Mexico instead. Otherwise they can not travel further.
Meanwhile, at the U.S./Mexico border, Haitians trying to journey north are stuck waiting with others, as the border is closed. Over the years Haitians arriving in Tijuana have set up mutual aid efforts to assist each other. For many the future remains very unclear.
For those who attempt to cross and get caught, there is no asylum process now available. They will simply be expelled – many detained incommunicado without any kind of reference number until space can be found on a flight back to Haiti.