Why Haitian Migrants Have Been Making The Trek From Chile To The U.S. Border : NPR

NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks with Professor Yvenet Dorsainvil and journalist Ignacio Gallegos, each in Santiago, concerning the Haitian migrants making their solution to the U.S. from Chile.


Some 20,000 extra Haitian migrants are making their solution to america. Many are in a seaside city in Colombia, ready for boats to ferry them on to the subsequent step of the harmful and costly journey north. A few of these Haitian migrants started their journey in Chile, the place they lived for years. So we will go to Santiago, Chile’s capital, to discover what this story appears like from there.

Yvenet Dorsainvil is a language professor in Santiago. He is Haitian and has been residing in Chile for a couple of decade. After we spoke with him in Spanish earlier in the present day, he stated he may really feel individuals’s absence within the streets.

YVENET DORSAINVIL: (By interpreter) The plazas the place Haitians go to speak, to debate politics or soccer, to speak about faith – now you simply do not see individuals there anymore. You do not see Haitians. We began noticing that about three or 4 months in the past.

SHAPIRO: Dorsainvil says it has been tough for Haitians to search out work and reside peacefully in Chile. There may be intense racial discrimination, and Chile’s immigration system has modified, pushing many individuals to go away. Those that arrived in Del Rio, Texas, earlier this month didn’t get the welcome they have been hoping for. The U.S. deported planeloads of individuals again to Haiti. Mexico despatched buses full of individuals to cities additional south. U.S. Border Patrol brokers are beneath investigation for his or her harsh remedy of migrants. Dorsainvil says Haitians in Chile heard about all of that.

DORSAINVIL: (By interpreter) The factor is that many instances, individuals do not have another choice, proper? They usually desire to go strive their luck as a substitute of staying right here, not doing something.

SHAPIRO: And so, he says, a whole lot of Haitians in Chile are nonetheless setting out on the journey north each day.

DORSAINVIL: (By interpreter) Lots of people simply wish to go wherever. However traditionally, the U.S. is the place Haitian migrants go. The bulk have no less than one relative there. Individuals additionally just like the U.S. as a result of it is protected.

SHAPIRO: That type of security and economic system are what initially drew Haitians to Chile after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

IGNACIO GALLEGOS: The Haitian group is among the first communities that Chile has obtained that do not communicate Spanish, that do not have the language.

SHAPIRO: Ignacio Gallegos is a journalist in Santiago, Chile, and he informed me Chileans had a tough time accepting Haitians after they first arrived a decade in the past.

GALLEGOS: We have been type of used to getting a variety of migrants from Peru, from Venezuela, from Argentina even. However on Haiti, we’ve got that problem, and it is type of grow to be a cultural shock for Chileans, I feel. So the primary couple of years had that cultural problem, however their lives have been significantly simpler by way of discovering a job or settling in than it’s proper now.

SHAPIRO: So what modified? What’s totally different proper now that despatched hundreds of individuals going north?

GALLEGOS: Effectively, one large change is coverage – the migration coverage by the federal government of Sebastian Pinera. So for the final couple of years, Pinera’s administration has been pushing for a more durable stance on migration, and the Venezuelans and Haitians have been the communities most affected by that. As an illustration, for the final couple of years, Haitians have needed to – they do want a visa to return in, which did not occur earlier than. They may simply are available with their passport. However since 2018, that modified and now they want a vacationer visa to get within the nation. And there is additionally a change in how the federal government speaks about immigration.

So when Sebastian Pinera first began, he was type of, you would say, even inviting some migrant communities, particularly Venezuelans, to return into the nation. And now, since that stance has modified and his rhetoric about immigration has modified a lot, that additionally type of pushes individuals to strive to return to Haiti. The federal government has been pushing a coverage of return dwelling, so that they have helped them to return to Haiti. And that is been occurring for the final yr or so. And on the similar time, they’ve been pursuing individuals who come into the nation illegally by means of raids and such.

SHAPIRO: And so what do you suppose the calculus is that these Haitians who’ve been residing in Chile for a few years are going through proper now?

GALLEGOS: One factor is a stronger sense of that the Chilean group now not desires so many immigrants, they usually’re in that stance. Haitians are those which are extra, you would say, ostracized from the remainder of the group or alienated from the remainder of the group as a result of they have been – the language barrier is one factor, and it is tougher for them to search out jobs, they usually’re extra discriminated in opposition to due to the colour of their pores and skin as effectively. And likewise the pandemic – the way it’s affected the Chilean economic system in a means that many formal or casual jobs have been closed. And most of the migrant communities are very a lot affected by that, particularly Haitians.

SHAPIRO: Dorsainvil, who we heard from earlier, says his group’s wrestle pains him.

DORSAINVIL: (By interpreter) Truthfully, I do not sleep a lot. A variety of Haitians right here do not. We spend all evening speaking about what we have to do to handle these issues.

SHAPIRO: For many who do keep in Chile, Dorsainvil has written a dictionary, Spanish to Creole, with the hopes of serving to Chileans and Haitians perceive one another – no less than the language. And he says, hopefully at some point, the tradition, too.


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Aila Slisco

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