- Mariana Sanches – mariana_sanches
- From BBC News Brazil in Washington
Thirty Brazilian children have already been deported by the United States to Haiti amid a serious immigration crisis that has brought about 15,000 Haitians to the city of Del Rio in Texas, on the border with Mexico, in recent days. The information was provided to BBC News Brasil by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an arm of the United Nations (UN) dedicated to monitoring the flow of migration around the world.
Most Brazilian children are up to three years old and are accompanied by their parents from Haiti, who made the journey with them from Brazil and across South and Central America until they reached the border between Mexico and the United States a week later.
since to Crisis broke outAbout 3,500 people have already taken US flights to the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Upon discovering where they had been flown, some Haitians reacted with indignation and anger and tried to return to the American planes. In addition to the 30 Brazilians who were deported, there are 182 Chilean children in the same condition.
“Brazilian children did not present any major problems, otherwise they would be referred for specific assistance,” said Giuseppe Loprete, head of mission for the International Organization for Migration in the territory of Haiti, which monitors the conditions of the deportees. According to Lupret, since they have Haitian parents, the children are also considered Haitian citizens under the laws of the Caribbean country, even though they do not have documentation to prove that citizenship.
“They can get Haitian documents here, birth certificates and ID cards. The local authorities have already said they will facilitate this. But while they are outside the country, it is difficult for them to get these documents,” Lopret explained.
According to the Federal Constitution, since they were born on the territory of Brazil, even to foreign parents, the children of Haitians are also considered Brazilian citizens. That is why they kept Brazilian documents only when the Americans found them and deported them.
Departure from Brazil
As of 2010, when an earthquake devastated Haiti and killed hundreds of thousands of people, Brazil became an immigration destination for Haitians. Between 2010 and 2018, federal police data show that about 130,000 Haitians came to Brazil, where they settled and raised a family. The Brazilian government created a humanitarian visa to meet the needs of these migrants – it was later also extended to Syrians and Afghans.
But in recent years, the Brazilian recession and the devaluation of the exchange rate, which settled the income that Haitians send to family members in their country of origin, have led to emigration to Chile or other countries in the region.
Last year, in a new chapter in this migration journey, Many groups have moved to the United States, which they tried to reach by crossing over a dozen countries on foot. In March, BBC News Brasil showed that the flow was already forming and sacrificing people like the Haitian Manette Dorlein, who was pregnant with twins, who drowned in the waters of the Rio Grande in January 2021 after leaving Brazil in 2019.
This year, with data still incomplete, the number of Haitians identified by US agents at the border (29,600) is already 6.5 times higher than the 2020 total.
“They say they were instructed by other Haitians who had already moved to the United States and that’s why they went there as well. Unfortunately, that’s how it goes,” Loprett said.
In 2021, Haiti faced the assassination of the country’s president, Jovenel Moise, which deepened political instability, and a new and powerful earthquake, which left more than two thousand people dead. In this context, the Haitian diaspora, both from the same country and from other countries in Latin America, moved to the United States. The perception that the new Democratic administration of Joe Biden would have a more sympathetic approach to immigrants contributed to the influx.
American political crisis
However, the arrival of large numbers of Haitians sparked a political crisis in the United States after the Biden government, which promised a “humane” approach to immigrants, resorted to the same tools that former President Donald Trump used to quickly deport as many units as possible. without giving them the opportunity to seek asylum or asylum in the United States.
US Special Envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote has submitted his resignation in protest of the treatment of Haitians. In a public letter to the White House, he said it “would not be related to the inhuman and reversible decision taken by the United States to deport thousands of Haitian refugees,” referring to the successive humanitarian crises in the Caribbean nation.
In addition, images of border guards threatening to ride horses on Haitian immigrants roamed the world and drew further criticism of the US government. Biden stated that he was personally responsible for what happened and ordered a halt to the use of cavalry among immigration agents.
Amid the turmoil, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken asked Brazilian Chancellor Carlos Franca, at a meeting in New York, last week, that Brazil welcomes part of the Haitians who have been on the US border. The Brazilian government, according to an Itamaraty member who attended the meeting, rejected the request. In the report, the diplomat described the content of Brazil’s response to the Americans, “Let everyone take care of Haiti.”
Under Brazilian law, migrants who obtained a humanitarian visa and left the country lose the right to re-apply for this special status.
The Brazilian Embassy in Port-au-Prince has already been notified by the International Organization for Migration about the presence of Brazilian children who have been deported in the country, but so far they have not been contacted directly by their families.
“We are asking for solidarity in the region. I spoke with my ambassador to Brazil and she said the Brazilians are ready to accept them with their families,” Haiti’s foreign minister, Claude Joseph, said on CNN. The BBC tried to contact the Haitian embassy in Brasilia on Monday (27/9), but could not find a spokesperson.
By law, Brazil is required to return vulnerable citizens abroad who lack the resources to reach Brazil – including covering travel costs. In particular, given the sensitivity of the topic, a Brazilian ambassador told BBC News Brasil that if the families of these 30 Brazilian children expressed their desire for this to happen, they would be able to leave Haiti and return to Brazil.
The number of Brazilian minors in this situation is likely to increase over the coming days, as more US planes carrying hundreds of deportees land in Port-au-Prince.
You have seen our new videos on Youtube? Subscribe to our channel!
“Gamers. Unfortunate Twitter teachers. Zombie pioneers. Internet fans. Hardcore thinkers.”