The History of Haitian Migration in the US and elsewhere

History of Haitian migration is pretty old. While millions cross the borders to become permanent residents of other countries, there are millions others who ride the same ferry but only to return after some time. Millions of Haitian people migrate and settle in Bahamas, Montreal in Canada, Cancun and Mexico City in Mexico, Cuba, United States and Dominican Republic. Other countries like French Guiana, French Antilles, France, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Chile, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos and Jamaica also have vast numbers of Haitian diaspora.


As of date, it is estimated that around 1.2 million Haitian people live in U.S. with proper documents while there are many others that have entered U.S. borders illegally. Canada is reported to have 200,000 Haitians while Dominican Republic is estimated to have 2 million Haitians. Bahamas accounts for 80,000 Haitians while the reported figure for France is 90,000.

However, studies have shown that before Papa Doc or François Duvalier became the dictator of Haiti in 1957, most of the Haitian people immigrated to those countries that had economic, political and cultural ties with Haiti. With the dictatorship regime of Papa Doc being established in Haiti, U.S. involvement in Haitian affairs increased. The U.S. Immigration Act of 1965 opened doors for mass immigration and it was reported that approximately 7,000 Haitian people permanently settled in U.S. every year with additional 20,000 entering U.S. with the aid of temporary Visa.

After the assassination of J. F. Kennedy, the Immigration Policy of U.S. was revised and Haitians were not allowed to enter America. But, François "Papa Doc" Duvalier's supports to U.S. against Fidel Castro's Cuba made Lyndon B. Johnson (J.F. Kennedy's successor) ignore the tyrannical regime of Papa Doc. This forced illegal immigration. Later after the death of Papa Doc, his son Jean-Claude Duvalier continued the dictatorship regime forcing Haitians to illegally immigrate. The condition of Haitian masses became worse with U.S. officials tightening their borders and immigration policies.

With fall of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haitian people were relieved by the thought of democracy and immigration to U.S. decline but the despotic political conditions in the following years, referred to as years of "Duvalierism without Duvalier", illegal immigration of Haitian people into U.S. soil inflated dramatically.

Migration of the Haitians into U.S. and other countries was not only because of political persecution. The abysmal poverty of the country, with a few people in power enjoying luxury and suppressing the poor, forced the Haitians to escape both political tyranny as well as economic despair.

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Read more: diaspora, canada, United States, immigration, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Montreal, France, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Ivory Coast, Migration, French Guiana, Senegal, Chile, International

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