Tijuana's Little Haiti established by those rejected at the US Border
But one group, stuck in this no man’s land, have decided to make the best of the situation. CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock is our man on the ground. See the original story on CGTN America
While many members of the Central American migrant caravan managed to cross may have crossed the U.S. border, others in Tijuana haven’t been so fortunate.
Last year, a similar caravan of more than 3000 Haitian refugees arrived in Tijuana, hoping to cross into enter the United States.
But with many denied entry, and returning home an impossibility, many have remained in Mexico.
Eline Dumelus fled Haiti with her husband last year, and has remained in Tijuana since she arrived, even giving birth to six-month-old Giovanni.
“Mexico is good. There is work here for us, and there is no work in Haiti. I miss my country, but I want a good future for my baby,” she told CGTN.
Eline and her newborn son are just two members of a large Haitian community now based in the hills around the city.
Living in an area of Tijuana known as Scorpion Canyon, today it’s better known as as Little Haiti. Acording to Mexican migration experts, it’s the region outside the country of Haiti itself with the highest highest density of Haitians of anywhere in the world.
Tijuana’s government too says the Haitians are welcome in a city where they estimate that, at any one time, 20 percent of the city’s population is transient, thanks to its location at the border line.
“We saw more than twenty-three thousand Haitians in Baja, California last year, and over three thousand have remained,” said Rodolfo Hernandez, Baja California Migration Official. “They are now incorporated into the city, and have found work in many different industries. Tijuana is a city which receives migrants seeking honest work and a better life with open arms.”
“When the Haitians first arrived here two years ago, they had nowhere to stay and no chance of finding work,” said Jon Perez is a Tijuana local, and has embraced them the incoming community, and even opening a Haitian restaurant catering to those who now call the city home. “But they are very good people. Hard working and committed, and now they have become welcome in Tijuana.”
While the Central American migrant caravan apply for asylum at the border near San Diego, has entered US asylum, the residents of Little Haiti in Tijuana expects no such invitation.
Now, caught between a wall and a hard place, they are determined to make the best of it.