In Chile, Haitians grow weary of waiting, eye journey to US

Oct 14, 2021, 9:02 AM | Updated: 9:32 am
A Chilean flag hangs inside a camp where migrants from Haiti, Peru and Colombia, set up a homes and...

A Chilean flag hangs inside a camp where migrants from Haiti, Peru and Colombia, set up a homes and call "Dignidad," or Dignity, in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. There are 180,000 Haitians in Chile, of whom “almost 70,000 reside in the country permanently,” said deputy interior minister Juan Francisco Galli. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The 37-year-old Haitian says not a day goes by in which he doesn’t think of leaving Chile, like the multitudes who have grown frustrated and headed north toward the United States.

He feels caught in a vicious circle: He was laid off three months ago and can’t get a new job without a valid identity card, but he can’t get his card renewed without an employment contract.

The government of President Sebastián Piñera has been tightening laws on migrants and Pierre — who declined to give his last name because he didn’t want to put his residency bid at risk — said it seems to be acting “so that we Haitians get tired of the country.”

Tens of thousands of Haitians came to Chile in recent years, fleeing disasters and poverty while taking advantage of relaxed visa rules and a booming economy in Chile. But a tighter job market and newly imposed bureaucratic barriers have led many to seek better opportunities in the U.S., despite a crackdown that followed the appearance of a border camp holding more than 14,000 people in Del Rio, Texas.

Few appear inclined to head back to Haiti itself, where poverty and violence have grown even worse since they left.

More than 10,000 Haitians have been expelled from several countries to their homeland since Sept. 19 — more than 7,600 of those from the United States alone — according to the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration.

Thousands are still on the long road north — many stuck at migration bottlenecks in northern Colombia and southern Mexico.

Chile’s government has granted permanent residence to almost 70,000 Haitians, but another 110,000 now lack official documents, according to Deputy Interior Minister Juan Francisco Galli.

Many had arrived on tourist visas before 2018, when Chile’s center-right government issued a decree requiring that Haitians to get a visa before traveling to Chile. In April, it enacted a new law that seeks to prevent the irregular entry of foreigners and makes expulsions easier.

“We are putting our house in order,” Piñera said.

The government has set a Monday deadline for them to regularize their status or face potential expulsion — though it hasn’t specified what steps it will take. It already expelled several hundred migrants — including dozens of Haitians — on flights to their homelands.

Many, like Pierre, say it’s impossible to comply. For example, Chile requires them to provide a document certifying a Haitian government background check — but it can take months at best to get such papers from the Caribbean nation’s government.

Pierre, who is married and whose locally born daughter is a Chilean citizen, said he has been trying to update his residency permission for two years and is only about halfway through the process.

“I spent about four years working in a company and I am still irregular in the country,” he said.

Pierre lives in the Dignidad camp, southeast of the capital of Santiago, in a cluster of small wooden houses along dirt streets devoid of greenery. He rarely leaves his tiny house, hoping someone he knows will come by to offer him temporary work.

He has a motorcycle parked outside, but can’t use it because he does not have a driver’s license, which he cannot get without an identity card.

Magdaline Afred, a Haitian with permanent residence, says many of her compatriots left Chile because “they cannot work because they do not have papers.”

“It makes me very sad because many left (for the U.S.) with their children who were born here … and now they are deporting Haitians with Chilean children,” she said.

Lyné Francois, a Haitian social worker and community leader, said, “There are people who have had their papers rejected two or three times and they are bored, desperate, exhausted and they are leaving.”

“We think the government could make things easier, especially because of the earthquake, people don’t know what to do,” she added, referring to a major earthquake that hit Haiti in August, causing further hardships there.

Carlo Richard, a Haitian auto mechanic who has resided in Chile since 2017, is one of thousands who live in fear of being expelled because his papers have been rejected several times. He said he has received four emails from immigration authorities telling him he faces expulsion and has 15 days to leave the country.

“What can I do? I can’t do anything, (just) hold on until there is a change in our country so that we can return,” he said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Haitian Edanold Delva, who has permanent residency in Chile, plays with his Chilean-born son Moises, 2, outside their home they share with Delva wife, Moises' mother, Jacqueline Michel, who also has residency, in the Bosque Hermoso camp settled by migrants in Lampa, Chile, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Most Haitians are fleeing earthquakes, hurricanes, political turbulence and poverty in their homeland. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Chilean-born Moises holds the Chilean, government-issued identification card of his dad Edanold Delva, next to his mother Jaqueline Michel, who also has permanent residency, outside their home in the Bosque Hermoso camp settled by migrants in Lampa, Chile, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Despite having a permanent residency visa, she says that in Immigration they ask for “a bank certificate and a proof of residence” which she cannot get because she lives in an illegal land occupation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              A Haitian migrant carries the coils of a mattress to sell near his house in the Bosque Hermoso camp settled by migrants in Lampa, Chile, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. Many of the wave of Haitians migrants who reached the U.S. border city of Del Rio, Texas in September began their long journey north from Chile, frustrated by the long waits, bureaucratic barriers and rejected applications here. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Haitian Carlo Richard, whose Chilean identity card expired and has been rejected for renewal, repairs a car outside his home in the Dignidad camp in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. “What can I do? I can’t do anything, (just) hold on until there is a change in our country so that we can return,” he said, referring to returning Haiti. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Haitian migrant Carlo Richard shows his expired Chilean identity card, which was good for six months then rejected for renewal, at home in a camp named "Bosque Hermoso," or Beautiful Forest in Lampa, Chile, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. The auto mechanic who has resided in Chile since 2017 is one of thousands who live in fear of being expelled. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Homes stand on the side of a hill in an unpaved area named "Bosque Hermoso," or Beautiful Forest, where migrants from Haiti, Peru and Colombian settled in Lampa, Chile, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. The situation of the migrants became more difficult in 2018 when Chile’s government issued a decree requiring that Haitians obtain a consular visa before traveling to Chile, then last April enacted a new migration law that seeks to prevent the irregular entry of foreigners. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Toys and clothing lay in the home of Haitian migrants in the Dignidad camp where migrants set up homes in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Most Haitian migrants are fleeing earthquakes, hurricanes, political turbulence and poverty in their homeland. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Develine, born in the Republic Dominican to Haitian parents, holds her two-year-old, Chilean-born sister Cataleya, outside their home where they live with their mother Magdaline Afred, who has permanent Chilean residency, in Santiago's Dignidad camp set up by migrants in Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. There are 180,000 Haitians in Chile, of whom “almost 70,000 reside in the country permanently,” said deputy interior minister Juan Francisco Galli. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Magdaline Alfred, a Haitian with permanent residence in Chile, carries her Chilean-born, two-year-old daughter Cataleya next to her other daughter Develine, born in the Dominican Republic, inside their home in Santiago's Dignidad camp, in Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. “It makes me very sad because many left (for the U.S.) with their children who were born here ... and now they are deporting (to Haiti) Haitians with Chilean children,” she said of other Haitian migrants in Chile. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Chilean-born, three-year-old Benita, whose parents are Haitian, peers from her home's front door, in the Dignidad camp set up by migrants in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Benita's parents have not been able to renew their Chilean identity cards, which keeps them from being able to work legally. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Develine, born to Haitian parents in the Dominican Republic, plays with her Chilean-born sister Cataleya, 2, and neighbor Benita, 3, inside the home of Benita's parents in Santiago's Dignidad camp set up by migrants in Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Many of the wave of Haitians migrants who reached the U.S. border city of Del Rio, Texas in September began their long journey north from Chile, frustrated by the long waits, bureaucratic barriers and rejected applications here. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              Married Haitian couple Pierre and Benita and their three-year-old, Chilean-born daughter Benita pose for a portrait inside their home in Santiago's Dignidad camp set up by migrants in Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Pierre, 37, says he feels caught in a vicious circle: he is unemployed and cannot get a job without a valid identity card, but he can’t get his card renewed without an employment contract. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
            
              A Chilean flag hangs inside a camp where migrants from Haiti, Peru and Colombia, set up a homes and call "Dignidad," or Dignity, in Santiago, Chile, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. There are 180,000 Haitians in Chile, of whom “almost 70,000 reside in the country permanently,” said deputy interior minister Juan Francisco Galli. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

AP

FILE - Oranges rot on the ground on Oct. 12, 2022, at Roy Petteway's Citrus and Cattle Farm after t...
Associated Press

USDA: Florida orange crop down 36% after twin hurricanes

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Production of oranges in Florida this season is forecast to be down 36% from earlier estimates, in part a reflection of twin hurricanes that battered growing regions, according to U.S. Agriculture Department figures released Friday. The latest forecast calls for about 18 million boxes of oranges to be produced in […]
20 hours ago
FILE - A JetBlue Airbus A320 taxis to a gate on Oct. 26, 2016, after landing, as an American Airlin...
Associated Press

American, JetBlue expand deal that US is trying to kill

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are pushing ahead with an expansion of their partnership in the Northeast, even as a federal judge considers the government’s attempt to kill the deal. The airlines said Friday that American will add six new routes from New York City while dropping one. JetBlue will […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Uber rider fatally stabs New Orleans driver, authorities say

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans Police Department employee who was moonlighting as an Uber driver was stabbed to death by a passenger in what a sheriff said was a random act of deadly violence. Yolanda Dillion, 54, was a fiscal analyst with the police department, New Orleans police chief Shaun Ferguson said Friday. […]
20 hours ago
FILE - People wait in front of a pharmacy to get a COVID-19 test in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 9, ...
Associated Press

France to make condoms free for anyone under 25, Macron says

PARIS (AP) — France will make condoms free in pharmacies for anyone up to age 25 in the new year, President Emmanuel Macron announced Friday. The move comes as the government says sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise among young people, and as this year’s exceptional inflation is cutting especially deeply into the budgets […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Connecticut’s first retail cannabis sales to begin Jan. 10

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s first retail recreational cannabis sales will begin as soon as Jan. 10, state regulators announced Friday, with about half of the state’s medical marijuana operators expanding their businesses to include the new market for all adults 21 and over. As many as 40 more retailers, along with dozens of other […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Friday 12/9/2022

Wall Street closed lower after a report showed inflation is slowing, though not by as much as hoped. The S&P 500 fell 0.7% Friday, marking its first losing week in the last three. The weakness came after the U.S. government reported that prices at the wholesale level were 7.4% higher in November than a year […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
In Chile, Haitians grow weary of waiting, eye journey to US