Official pledges US aid to Haiti for migration and stability

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The number of Haitian migrants to the United States temporarily stranded in northern Colombia has risen to around 20,000, a senior US official said Thursday, echoing reports from a local human rights organization.

“It forms a human bottleneck,” said the official, who informed reporters on condition that he was not named.

Earlier this week, the Colombian People’s Defense Office said 15,000 to 20,000 migrants – the vast majority Haitians, were stuck in the Colombian town of Necocli while waiting for ferries that would take them across the Gulf of Uraba to a point where they could start the perilous jungle. Cross the Darien Gap without a road to Panama.

Colombian and Panamanian authorities have tried to limit the number of migrants to 500 per day on ferries, but more than that happens daily, on average.

Yet their chances of entering the United States are also limited, even if they manage to make their way through Central America and Mexico, where thousands of other Haitians are now stranded, waiting for many months. to get some kind of permission to live and work.

The United States deported more than 7,000 Haitian migrants to Haiti on 65 flights from September 19 to October 3, according to the US Department of Homeland Security. Deportations to a nation devastated many years ago have come under heavy criticism and have resulted in the resignation of Daniel Foote, the Biden administration’s special envoy to Haiti.

“The challenges on the migration front are very important,” said the administration official. “These are very difficult decisions.” The official said the US government would like to have regional conversations with countries affected by ongoing migration in hopes of creating a collaborative approach.

The official did not specify what that might imply. The Trump and Biden administrations have discussed with governments in the region how to discourage migration – especially after last month’s crises in Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of Haitians massed under a bridge before the encampment is demolished.

Mexico has cooperated with the United States in trying to contain migrants in the south of the country and deport migrants from other countries to Guatemala. On Wednesday, it transported 129 Haitian migrants from Tapachula in southern Mexico to Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.

The administration has been criticized from the right for not taking a tougher stance on the border and from the other for repatriating Haitians to a homeland now facing a deep economic crisis, an outbreak of violence linked to the gangs and great political instability following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

The hemisphere’s poorest country is also trying to recover from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in mid-August that killed more than 2,200 people while destroying or damaging tens of thousands of homes.

Years of political stalemate have left the country with a barely functioning government, legislature and courts – a situation that makes next year’s presidential and legislative elections particularly crucial.

The official said the United States wanted to help create the conditions for Haitians to vote freely, fairly and safely, and said it would support a “broad dialogue” to reach a political agreement to avoid further instability.

But he said the future should be determined by Haitians: “There will be no political solution that will be prescribed by Washington. “

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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