To contact our media team, please email info@haitianbridge.org with [Media] in the subject line. We can facilitate country-expert interviews as well as interviews with directly impacted migrants in some cases. 

Biden Administration Publishes Federal Registration Notice Allowing Haitians in US on or Before Nov. 6 2022 to Apply For TPS

Dated: 1.27.2023

Contact:

Taisha Saintil : tsaintil@haitianbridge.org
Paola Luisipluisi@haitianbridge.org, 202-264-9546

Biden Administration Publishes the Long-Awaited Federal Registration Notice Allowing Haitians in the U.S. on or Before November 6, 2022 to Apply For Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

San Diego, California — The Haitian Bridge Alliance applauds the Biden Administration’s publication of the Federal Register Notice (FRN) yesterday, which allows eligible Haitians who are already in the United States on or before November 6, 2022, to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). 

Guerline Jozef, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, stated the following:

“We welcome the administration’s support for Haitian immigrants through the TPS program that will provide them protection from deportation. In addition, they will be able to obtain employment authorization to provide for themselves and their families with dignity, pay taxes and give back to their community. On behalf of our community members, we send a strong mèsi anpil (thank you) to all of our partners who have been working hand-in-hand with us from the beginning to provide the Haitian community with TPS protection. This is undeniable proof that many hands make the load lighter! We are looking forward to continuing to work in collaboration to make sure that all immigrants are protected, particularly vulnerable Black migrants who remain stuck at the U.S.-Mexico border. In the same respect, we continuously call for the designation of all other countries that warrant it, such as Mauritania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

The Haitian Bridge Alliance calls on Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden to push the eligibility date for Haitians who are already in the United from November 6 2022 to January 26, 2023, to reflect the date of the Federal Register Notice.

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Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), also known as “the Bridge”, is a grassroots community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provide migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, legal, and social services, with a particular focus on Black migrants, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. HBA also seeks to elevate the issues unique to Black migrants and build solidarity and collective movement toward policy change. Anpil men, chay pa lou (“Many hands make the load light”). 

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @haitianbridge  

Compassion in Action: Welcome.US and Haitian Bridge Alliance Team Up to Mobilize Sponsors

Haitians have a new pathway to seek refuge in U.S. through support of a sponsor

Wednesday, January 11, 2022

CONTACT 
info@haitianbridge.org

Washington, D.C.—Following the recent announcement from the Biden-Harris Administration that Haitians are eligible for humanitarian sponsorship through the Processes for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans (CHNV), Welcome.US and the Haitian Bridge Alliance are partnering to mobilize sponsors interested in helping Haitians fleeing danger and seeking refuge in the United States. 

Since April 2022, nearly 200,000 Americans have stepped up to sponsor Ukrainians through the successful Uniting for Ukraine program, which was used as a model for the CHNV process. American citizens and lawful permanent residents now have the same opportunity to extend such compassion to Haitians fleeing gang violence, abject poverty, political instability, and gender based violence. Those interested in sponsoring a newcomer should visit welcome.us/uscis-sponsorship to learn more on eligibility and sign up for more information.

Statements from Welcome.US and Haitian Bridge Alliance: 

“The inspiring results of the humanitarian sponsorship programs for Ukrainians and Venezuelans speak for themselves: We know that our society is eager to get involved in welcoming newcomers. Everyday people can now serve as the bridge to safety for Haitian children and families who have been forced to flee their homes, and we at Haitian Bridge Alliance are proud to partner with Welcome.US to demystify and facilitate this process.” – Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance 

“Sponsors across the country have already stepped up to show the world who we are as Americans: people who welcome those seeking refuge, self-determination, and the fulfillment of their human potential. We are honored to work with the Haitian Bridge Alliance, who has worked tirelessly and effectively to advocate for the Haitian people and support a thriving community in the United States, to extend this new humanitarian sponsorship program to as many people as possible.” – Nazanin Ash, CEO of Welcome.US

The humanitarian and political crisis in Haiti is dire. More than 1.5 million children in Haiti, nearly one-third of the country’s youth, are in urgent need of emergency relief due to shortages of food and water amid political and economic turmoil and escalating gang violence, according to UNICEF. The United Nations Security Council continues to consider an international intervention in the country as key political leaders, including a former president, are sanctioned for drug trafficking, abusing their power, and financing gang violence. 

Welcome.US provides resources to potential sponsors so that they have the information they need to use these safe, orderly, and designated pathways to help welcome displaced people in need of refuge into their communities and support newcomers as they rebuild their lives. These include informational materials, educational training, resources, tools, and guides to navigate the application process and the entire sponsorship journey. 

Welcome.US is also working with community organizations and diaspora groups to recruit Cubans and Nicaraguans who are also included in the CHVN process, in addition to continuing the work to find sponsors for Ukrainians and Venezuelans. 

About Welcome.US

At Welcome.US, our mission is to unleash the desire and capacity of Americans to welcome newcomers and help them thrive. We operate on the evidence that direct participation with newcomers transforms both the welcomer and those being welcomed. By making it easier for Americans from all walks of life to participate in the work of welcoming — and telling their stories — we are building a movement that celebrates America’s welcoming spirit by providing an opportunity to serve for all who seek to welcome. Our diverse community of Welcomers reaches across real and perceived divides to meet the needs of newcomers more effectively. In partnership with local and national resettlement agencies, diaspora organizations and leaders, refugees, community sponsorship groups, nonprofits, businesses, faith-based institutions, veterans, universities, four former Presidents and four former First Ladies, Welcome.US is a single point of entry for Americans who want to get involved and support those who are starting new lives in the United States. To learn more about Welcome.US, please visiwelcome.us. 

 

About Haitian Bridge Alliance

Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), also known as “the Bridge”, is a community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provides migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, legal, and social services, with a particular focus on Black migrants, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. HBA also seeks to elevate the issues unique to Black migrants and builds solidarity and collective movement toward policy change. Anpil men, chay pa lou (“Many hands make the load light”). Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @haitianbridge

 

Haitian Bridge Alliance Condemns the Biden-Harris Administration Expansion of Title 42

Taisha Saintil – tsaintil@haitianbridge.org 
Paola Luisi – pluisi@haitianbridge.org
Dated: 1.6.2023


San Diego, California
– Today, the Biden-Harris administration announced a parole program allowing some migrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Venezuela with U.S.-based sponsors to seek shelter in the United States. President Biden also announced that migrants from the same countries will face immediate expulsion to Mexico under Title 42 if they enter irregularly to the U.S.-Mexico border seeking asylum. 

Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, the only Black-led non-governmental organization at the U.S.-Mexico border, said the following: 

“While today’s announcement that the administration is opening more pathways for Haitians, Venezuelans, Cubans, and Nicaraguans to come to the United States is a step in the right direction, this announcement does not bring closer to restoring our broken immigration system. The right for all – regardless of national origin – to seek asylum should be fully restored. The creation of the parole program should not have come at the expense of barring others from exercising their rights to asylum. We are extremely concerned the administration is returning to some of Trump’s era practice of expelling asylum seekers to Mexico without the opportunity to seek protection and re-introducing an asylum transit ban” said Guerline Jozef, co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “We are also extremely concerned that the new parole program will be inaccessible to the most vulnerable amongst us, particularly those en route to the US border who will be ineligible for this program. We see firsthand the negative consequences and disproportionate impact on Black migrants that the current state of our immigration system brings. We can have a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system that welcomes all with respect and dignity.”

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Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), also known as “the Bridge”, is a grassroots community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provides migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, legal, and social services, with a particular focus on Black migrants, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. HBA also seeks to elevate the issues unique to Black migrants and builds solidarity and collective movement toward policy change. Anpil men, chay pa lou (“Many hands make the load light”)

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @haitianbridge

Haitian Bridge Alliance Responds to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Extension and Redesignation for Haiti

Contact: tsaintil@haitianbridge.org
Pluisi@haitianbridge.org 

San Diego, CA, December 5, 2022 Haitian Bridge Alliance is pleased with the Biden-Harris administration’s decision to extend and redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). As the UN Security Council is considering an international intervention in Haiti to open aid corridors and resolve what the UN Secretary-General calls an “absolutely nightmarish situation” caused by gang violence, the dire situation in Haiti is only exacerbated by the cholera pandemic and the crippling economy with an inflation rate of 30 percent. According to a recent report by the UN, 4.7 million people in Haitian Nationals are facing acute hunger, including 19,000 in catastrophic famine conditions for the first time. It is also estimated that nearly 50 percent of the capital’s population is directly affected by gang violence, and 4.5 million need humanitarian assistance.

Guerline Jozef, Co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance, the Black Immigrants Bail Fund, and founding member of Cameroon Advocacy Network, said “We welcome this much-needed announcement from the Biden administration. We rejoice and celebrate with our Haitian siblings and stand undeterred, in solidarity as we continue to work with and for the Haitian and Haitian-American communities. We are grateful for all our partner organizations, many of whom supported the letter led by the Haitian Bridge Alliance calling for the extension and redesignation of TPS for Haiti. This is another example of ‘Anpil men, chay pa lou.’ We acknowledge that there is much work to be done to welcome all people in need of protection with dignity and center the voices and narratives of Black migrants and immigrants. As we celebrate, we urge for the swift release of the Federal Register Notice as well as the release of all Haitians currently in immigration detention centers. We also call for the same protection for all deserving of safety, such as Nationals from Mauritania, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and others.” 

Taisha Saintil, Advocacy, and Communications Associate and Founding Member of Cameroon Advocacy Network, said “ Today’s decision secures protection for thousands of Haitians in the United States living in fear and uncertainty. Although we are elated, we do acknowledge that this decision came after much advocacy, and inspired fear in the hearts and minds of Haitians all across the country. It is without a doubt that the Biden Administration not only made the morally right decision but also the one that makes the most sense for the United States. As highlighted by a report by FWD.us, Haitians who are living in the U.S. and are currently eligible for TPS contribute $2.6 billion to our economy each year, and 81% of them are in the labor force, providing essential services at a time of worker shortages and high inflation. This redesignation of TPS allows more Haitians in the U.S. to enroll in the program and contribute their skills and talents to American communities and the American workforce. As we continue to fight with our allies to ensure the total eradication of anti-Blackness within the immigration system, we take this moment today to thank the administration for this decision.”

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 Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA), also known as “the Bridge”, is a grassroots community organization that advocates for fair and humane immigration policies and provides migrants and immigrants with humanitarian, legal, and social services, with a particular focus on Black migrants, the Haitian community, women and girls, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and survivors of torture and other human rights abuses. HBA also seeks to elevate the issues unique to Black migrants and builds solidarity and collective movement toward policy change. Anpil men, chay pa lou (“Many hands make the load light”).

 

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @haitianbridge

Haitian Bridge Alliance leads Delegation to Panama to Investigate Impacts of Regional Immigration Policies and Abuses Suffered by People Seeking Refuge

Contact: 

Taisha Saintil, Haitian Bridge Alliance, tsaintil@haitianbridge.org
Blaine Bookey, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, bookeybl@uchastings.edu | (415) 703-8202
Anthony Enriquez, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, enriquez@rfkhumanrights.org | (917) 941-9141
Carolyn Tran, Communities United for Status and Protection, carolyn@wearecusp.org | (415) 377-4711

November 10, 2022 – The Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) led a delegation of human rights defenders—composed of thirteen representatives from HBA, the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS), Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP), Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and Panamanian advocates —to Panama from October 21 through October 29, 2022, to investigate the migration process and reception and treatment of people seeking refuge. The delegation traveled across the country, observing migrant reception centers in Panama’s Darién Province along the southern border with Colombia and in Panama’s Chiriquí Province along its northern border with Costa Rica. In these regions and in Panama City, the delegation spoke with dozens of refugees and met with government officials, civil society representatives, and international organizations. 

 “Given this spiraling situation in Haiti, many Haitians may be harmed or even killed if they stay in Haiti. They are forced to migrate in search of safety, often making this long and dangerous journey through the Americas to the U.S. Mexico border, where they hope to seek protection and join their family in the United States,” says Guerline Jozef, co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “Instead of receiving access to their right of protection, many Haitian asylum seekers along the border are dying of violence and medical neglect as they wait for months and even years for the chance to enter the United States – blocked by Title 42 policies that have closed the border to asylum seekers since March 2020.” 

 The delegation will release a report on its findings as part of a push for a comprehensive assessment of the human impacts of States’ migration policy in the Americas and State compliance with commitments made in the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. The delegation was first organized in response to reports the organizations received from Haitian migrants of violence and a lack of protection in Panama’s Darién Gap, including gruesome stories of sexual and gender-based violence. The investigation also sought to understand the key role Panama’s Darién Gap plays for people in migration through the Americas and to document the human impacts of the United States and other States’ immigration policies on people exercising their right to human mobility and seeking protection throughout the region and (non)access to justice where their rights are violated. Along with meeting and interviewing Haitians in migration, the delegation spoke with people in mobility from Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa, and witnessed the cruelty inflicted by the United States October 12 policy change towards Venezuelan refugees.  

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Haitian Bridge Alliance, National Immigration Law Center, and 287 Organizations Call on Biden Administration to Reject Plans to House Haitian Refugees in Guantánamo Bay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2022

CONTACT
Taisha Saintil, tsaintil@haitianbridge.org
Emily Morris, media@nilc.org, 213-457-7458

Haitian Bridge Alliance, National Immigration Law Center, and 287 Organizations Call on Biden Administration to Reject Plans to House Haitian Refugees in Guantánamo Bay

WASHINGTON — Haitian Bridge Alliance, the National Immigration Law Center, and over 280 civil and human rights organizations sent a letter calling on President Biden to protect Haitian asylum seekers. The administration must not send Haitians seeking safety back to Haiti, third countries, or detain them in Guantánamo Bay.

The letter, published today by the Haitian Bridge Alliance and NILC, outlines the United States’ pattern of disparate and discriminatory treatment towards Haitian refugees seeking protection and the prior human rights abuses that Haitians previously suffered from while detained at Guantánamo Bay. The letter also details concrete steps the Biden administration can take to protect Haitian asylum seekers, uphold human rights, and follow through on commitments to advance racial equity.

“It is past time for the United States, and the Biden administration, to pursue these rights-respecting actions, and end the pattern of discriminatory and disparate treatment inflicted on Haitians seeking U.S. protection,” the letter states. “During your administration, Haitians have been met with summary push-backs at the hands of the U.S. Coast Guard. People have died and continue to die at sea while seeking protection at U.S. shores. Rather than protecting them, the United States further victimizes these individuals by returning them to danger.”

The letter continues, “Your administration has the power to turn the page on these harmful and discriminatory policies. We urge you to do right by Haitian people seeking protection, whether by land or at sea, to live up to our humanitarian obligations, and build an equitable humanitarian protection system that welcomes those seeking refuge.”

A PDF of the full letter and signatories can be found here.

 

On International Day for People of African Descent, Haitian Bridge Alliance honors Toussaint Louverture

San Diego, California, August 31, 2022 – On International Day for People of African Descent, the Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) honored the contributions of Toussaint Louverture, the leader of Haiti’s revolution that ended slavery and started the fight for Black liberation, and calls on all people and organizations to use every forum available to advance the human rights of people of African descent.  

On August 18, 2022, Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance visited and honored the gravesite of Toussaint Louverture in Fort de Joux, France. She stood in Mr. Louverture’s prison cell in Château de Joux where Mr. Louverture was imprisoned after he led the successful revolutionary war against France, and she contemplated his life and legacy. 

Before traveling to Fort de Joux and Mr. Louverture’s final resting place, Ms. Jozef had presented and advocated before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva, Switzerland. HBA led a coalition report to the CERD about the U.S. laws, policies, and practices that result in racist and xenophobic treatment against Black non-citizens—migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. 

In addition to the CERD report in July 2022, HBA has been focusing more on international accountability mechanisms, including a report in August 2021 to the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism and Xenophobia, a report in January 2022 to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, where it then spoke up on behalf of Black people and others being subject to rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence in Panama’s Darien Gap. 

The Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Human Rights First (HRF), The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights (RFK Human Rights) co-authored the report to CERD, and both BAJI and RFK Human Rights presented before CERD. The report and advocacy were endorsed by the Communities United for Status and Protection (CUSP) and Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). On Tuesday, the Committee issued Concluding Observations that took up many of the concerns and recommendations that this coalition raised to it. 

“HBA continues to fight for Mr. Louverture’s legacy every day through our work with Black migrants stuck along the U.S.-Mexico border or locked in immigrant detention centers, and we know many great people and organizations do the same,” said Ms. Jozef. “It is up to us, with the knowledge we gain through this work, to ensure that global governance systems know the truth about what is happening to Black people and to assert our inalienable human rights in the face of States that trample upon them–just like Toussaint Louverture and our ancestors did before us. We ask for all willing to join us in making the record on the international stage about State abuses to use the international human rights governance and monitoring structure to ensure States fulfill their duties to Black people and other groups harmed by the legacies of slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonial imperialism.”  

“As someone who has lived through all the issues that Black people face in the Americas through my own journey to the States,” said Daniel Tse, HBA staff member and founder of the Cameroonian Advocacy Network. “It is powerful to see these issues addressed on the international stage and to see the clear calls for accountability for State abuses against People of African Descent.” 

“Though it can be hard to see sometimes, the struggles of People of African Descent all across the world are interconnected,” said Erik Crew, the Staff Attorney at the Haitian Bridge Alliance who has spearheaded HBA’s international advocacy. “My African ancestors came up through slavery in the United States, and people helping them when they were fleeing State-sanctioned violence in the South is one of the reasons I am here today. We honor them and those that stepped up to help them every day with our work at HBA.” 

The Bridge celebrates this collaboration and is inspired by the heroes of the Haitian Revolution, who had to find ways to make bonds and forge alliances out of African nations that had been thrown together as a monolith in slavery, speaking different languages, practicing different religions, having different customs, but who could unite to be the first to end slavery in the Americas. 

The Haitian Bridge Alliance Addressed the UN on anti-Black discrimination and mistreatment in the US asylum and immigration system

Geneva, Switzerland, August 8 2022 – Today, the Haitian Bridge Alliance, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Human Rights First, The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services  submitted a Shadow Report to the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) during its 107th session, denouncing anti-Black discrimination against non-citizens and ongoing violations of international protections for migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers of African descent in and at the border of the United States. The report was also endorsed by Communities United for Status and Protection and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. 

The report argues that the US immigration and refugee laws, regulations, policies and practices are in violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The link to the full report can be found here

Guerline Jozef, Founder and Executive Director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, shared the following from Geneva:  

“I will never forget the horrors I witnessed the United States commit against Black toddlers in Del Rio, Texas. The viral photo of the officer on horseback chasing and whipping a Black man getting his family food is only the tip of the iceberg: It is the product of a systemically racist approach to treating Black women, men, children—even babies—with cruelty. We submit this report alongside our partners in an effort to document these atrocities and demand the United States do all withing its reach to fully rescind Title 42, do a complete wind down of the Migrant Protection Protocols, and treat people with basic human dignity.”  

One Year After the Assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Haitians Continue to Flee Haiti, But Are Dying of Violence and Medical Neglect at the U.S. Mexico Border

San Diego, California, July 7, 2022 – A year ago today, we woke in shock to the terrible news of the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse. As writer Edwidge Danticat states, “A year after Moïse’s assassination, his murder remains unsolved, like those of so many other Haitians before and since.” Many close to Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s government are suspected of being involved in the assassination, including Mr. Henry himself. 

Meanwhile, gangs are brutalizing Haitians with kidnappings, sexual assault, arson, and mass kidnappings, rendering Haiti uninhabitable for many. Entire neighborhoods such as Martissant have been internally displaced and forced to flee, while the U.S. government is fumbling any chance at a sustainable Haitian-led solution to the crisis by supporting Henry.

“Given this spiraling situation in Haiti, many Haitians may be harmed or even killed if they stay in Haiti. They are forced to migrate to ‘CHECHE LAVI’ in search of safety, often making the long and dangerous journey through the Americas to the U.S. Mexico border, where they hope to seek protection and join their family in the United States,” says Guerline Jozef, co-founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “Instead, many Haitian migrants along the border are dying of violence and medical neglect as they wait for months and even years for the chance to enter the United States – blocked by Title 42 policies that have closed the border to asylum seekers since March 2020.” 

In Tijuana, Mexico, Haitian Bridge Alliance spoke with family members of those who have died this year, including the father of 18-year-old “J.L.” who spent two days in the hospital with stomach pains but was released with little more than prescriptions for medications. Three days later she died of medical neglect; she should never have been released from the hospital. “C.A.” died a few days after he was released from the hospital and told to come back another day despite feeling ill. An ambulance took him to the morgue ostensibly for an autopsy, but when his brother picked up his body, he had been disfigured, cut up, and mutilated – a likely victim of organ trafficking in the Mexican state-run morgue. 35-year-old “A.J.” was robbed and severely beaten outside a bank, and died several days later after a hospital refused to treat him. (For more stories like these, please see the Seven Case Profiles of Medical Neglect and Violence Against Haitian Migrants in Tijuana attached below)

“The Haitian Bridge Alliance primarily consists of directly-impacted individuals that work with the community that they represent. These stories of abuse are personal and painful to us. I’m tired of having to bury my brothers and sisters who die off the shores of Puerto Rico, in Panama’s Darien Gap, or at the U.S. Mexico border,” said Ms. Jozef. “Given President’s Biden campaign promises to immigrants, we demand that he reinstate safe access to asylum protection. It’s time for the Biden-Harris administration to recommit to ending cruel policies such as Title 42, MPP, and Operation Lone Star, which force people fleeing danger to wait for months or years in peril at the border or put them in the hands of smugglers and traffickers. At the same time, the U.S. government must address the root causes of Haitian migration and commit to real, strategic, and sustainable Haitian-led solutions so Haitians may thrive at home.

Seven Case Profiles of Medical Neglect and Violence Against Haitian Migrants in Tijuana

“This is the life of migrants here, we are treated like animals”

San Diego, California, July 7, 2022 – As we hear stories of migrants all around the world suffering from neglect and abuse, leading to much pain and suffering and sometimes death, Haitian Bridge Alliance mourns those Haitian men and women who died so far this year in Tijuana, Mexico. We mourn alongside the five families for whom we organized the funerals for their loved ones and for the others that we accompanied on their journey, and for all those who lost their lives unbeknownst to us in Mexico. We also mourn the countless lives lost at sea, including the forty Haitians who died off the coast of Puerto Rico in May 2022, for whom we have only been able to recover eleven bodies. 

Below are profiles of seven tragic deaths in Tijuana. From medical negligence to targeted violence, their lives will not be forgotten in their tragic journey from Haiti to foreign lands in the hopes of reaching safety in the United States. 

  • At 18 years old, a young Haitian woman named J.L. had just arrived in Tijuana to join her father, who was waiting for her before attempting to seek asylum in the United States. She was taken to the hospital when she complained of severe stomach pains. She spent two days in the hospital and was then released with prescriptions for medications. Three days later she died due to medical neglect. She should have never been released from the hospital.
  • M.I., a 35-year-old Haitian man, was vomiting blood. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance. He was released soon after and subsequently died at his home due to medical neglect. He should never have never been released from the hospital.
  • C.A., a 29-year-old Haitian man, was not feeling well and went to the hospital. The hospital employees did not consider his case to be serious and told him to return another day. He died later in his home. It was another case of medical neglect because he should never have been released from the hospital, yet, the tragedy did not end there. His sister called an ambulance. After much waiting, the ambulance arrived and took him to the morgue for an autopsy. When the family picked him up from the morgue, C.A. was unrecognizable. He had been completely disfigured, cut up, and mutilated. His eyes had been gouged out, there was a big hole in the side of his head and it looked as if his side had been ripped open. The injuries resembled a victim of organ trafficking in Mexican state-run morgues. Why? Because his life, just like his death, was thought to have no value. As his sister mourned his death due to medical negligence turned into the most grotesque of tragedies, she said, “This is the life of migrants here, we are treated like animals.”
  • Indeed this was the reality for A.J., a 35-year-old Haitian man who was also a victim of violence and medical negligence, but in the opposite order. He was leaving the bank after having made a withdrawal. He was followed by uniformed men, then beaten and robbed. He was left on the ground and was taken to the hospital the following day by people who found him. The hospital refused to keep him even though he was so severely injured that he could not walk. He quickly deteriorated at home: internal bleeding, swelling around the eyes, and he could not eat, sleep, or sit. When his friends saw he was getting worse, they took him elsewhere to get examined but were only given an appointment to return in eight days for his results. He died four days later, before he received his results. 
  • At 36 years old, E.A. completes the list of those Haitians who died from medical negligence in Mexico. He also should never have been released from the hospital.

And then there are those Haitians who were victims of outright violence in Mexico.

  • C.F., a 30-year-old Haitian man who had been living in Mexico for a few years, was targeted in broad daylight. On January 1, 2022, he was on the bridge in Tijuana with other Haitians when a car slowed down and gunned him down. He died on the spot.
  • J.M. was a 28-year-old Haitian man who worked at a casino in Tijuana. Men came to his work, fired give bullets into him, and waited until he was dead before leaving.

This is the fate of more and more Haitian men, women, and children at the border in Mexico. A.J.’s friend summarizes the reality that Haitians face on their journey to the United States, “It is frightening because the same type of violence that we are leaving our country for is the same violence we are finding on our path to what we imagined was comfort.” 

Yet, we as Haitians, as we have always done, will continue to fight for what is right, as attested by C.A.’s sister’s vow: “We are poor now, but when God gives me the opportunity, I will find out what happened to my brother’s organs so that it may never happen again.”

Haitian Bridge Alliance Calls on the Biden-Harris Administration and Other Governments to Stop the War Against Migrants and Ensure Safe Access to Asylum Protections

San Diego, California, June 29, 2022 — Haitian Bridge Alliance (HBA) mourns with the survivors and families of migrants who lost their lives in San Antonio on June 27, as they sought safety and protection in the United States. “My heart is heavy as we grieve the loss of precious lives, but I am also angry,” said Guerline Jozef, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Haitian Bridge Alliance. “These vulnerable people seeking refuge died because the United States continues to impose barriers to people in search of protection, creating a system for smugglers and traffickers to thrive, rather than protecting these vulnerable people at our border. We must come together and make sure that the U.S. government ends its cruel, inhumane and ineffective deterrence policies and restores access to asylum so people don’t fall prey to smugglers and human traffickers.”

HBA also mourns the death and torture of as many as 37 African migrants attempting to cross from Morocco to the Spanish enclave of Melilla on June 24. Shocking videos circulated of hundreds of young Black men piled on top of each other on the ground like corpses (unclear who was dead or alive), while Spanish law enforcement beat them with batons. The abuse of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers is a global atrocity and must be stopped. 

Ms. Jozef, “The tragic death of the migrants in San Antonio and Morocco, as well as the 42 young Haitians including eleven women who lost their lives off the coast of Puerto Rico, is a painful reminder of the violence against the 15,000 Haitian and other asylum seekers who tried to seek protection in Del Rio, Texas last September and were met with armed resistance by the U.S. We witnessed people die from lack of access to water, food, and medical care. Almost one year later, and despite President Biden and Vice President Harris’s promises of accountability, no one has received justice. This war against migrants must stop. We implore President Biden to reinstate safe access to asylum protection. It’s time to end Title 42, MMP, Operation Lone Star, and to stop putting people fleeing danger in the hands of smugglers and traffickers.”