The Haitian Border Crisis
If you are expecting a political post, or for me to share my political thoughts on immigration and who is right/wrong, then you are looking in the wrong place. Today's blog is strictly about the harsh reality of life in a country like Haiti, and how many Haitians who love their country leave anyway.
The border crisis in Del Rio, Texas is deeper and more complicated than most people realize. At face value, it is a simple issue of people (Haitians in this case) who have left their country and are illegally trying to enter the United States. With limited understanding of the situation, a lot of us see that they are trying to enter the country illegally, and that is the end of the story. Well, here is some more of the story...
Most of the Haitians who are at the Del Rio border right now did not just leave Haiti and come straight there. Here are a few of the many ways they ended up in this situation:
- Many Haitians left Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people. They have been going from country to country trying to find work, food, safety, etc. after losing their home and families years ago. Returning to Haiti now will be returning to a place that they neither recognize nor want to face psychologically because their last memories in Haiti were pre-2010.
- After the earthquake, Haiti was not the same. Many Haitians left to go to places like Chile, Guayana, or Brazil (where they found some work around the 2016 Olympics). They were struggling to survive in a country with few jobs, little food, and no welfare system, and they hoped that they would land in a place full of opportunities.
- For the past 3 years, as many of you know, the political and social environment in Haiti has made many places in Port Au Prince virtually unlivable. Without getting into specifics, there are a lot of places in Haiti where everyday life is extremely dangerous. What would you do if you had young children and it was impossible to find work or food while simply walking down the street could get you shot or kidnapped?
So Haitians left. They traveled to Brazil when they could, Chile while their borders were open, and virtually any other country that would let them in. All Things New has firsthand experience with this as one of our house moms left, Julihomme left, Leyley (our first tutor) left, Gladine's Dad left, Tony's brother went to Brazil, one of our security guards tried to leave, Lener's Mom lives in another country, and countless other Haitians that we know would be there one day and trying to get on a plane the next.
Do you know what usually happens when they get to the next country...Nothing really changes. They are in a country with more opportunities, but they are not citizens, oftentimes they are not welcomed, and many of them end up living on the streets again...or worse.
So, they leave Brazil and Chile and make a dangerous and expensive trek through the Panamanian jungle, or they pay people to get them to the one place they think they can make it...America.
The vast majority of the Haitians that are in Texas right now have not been in Haiti for years. It is no longer their home. They are being sent back to a nation that just went through another devastating earthquake, where gangs control the capital city, and where their President was just assassinated in his own home.
They are being sent back with $100 and a Covid test to a country where they will likely not find work, they probably no longer have a home, and they most likely will not recognize much of what Haiti has become.
I am not saying we should open our borders. I understand the complexity of immigration and what it means to bring people from other countries to live here.
What I hope is that this blog opens up your eyes to the reality of what is happening at the border right now. It is not a simple "Send Them Home" scenario. This is a complicated situation where the lives of countless men, women, and children hang in the balance.
If you want to do something...Pray! Ask GOD to intervene in this situation, but do not pray for them to be sent home. Pray that whatever is best for the families who are there happens, whatever that looks like, and pray that GOD would protect His people.