After exodus, an estimated 11,000 will be allowed to stay in the country after crimes in the United States
‘You are free, you are home’: Haitian migrants to be offered residency, permits by Mexico
The Mexican government has sent out invitations to tens of thousands of Haitian migrants who have fled to the US to return home, as Mexico launched a three-pronged strategy to deal with what it calls a crisis it is powerless to solve.
More than 11,000 Haitians are believed to have fled to the US in recent months, many after President Donald Trump threatened to cut funds to a humanitarian disaster response fund, then revoked temporary protected status for Haitians in the US.
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The head of Mexico’s foreign ministry, Marcelo Ebrard, said on Sunday he has personally assured Haitian leaders that authorities are going to reach out to those seeking shelter from the deportation.
“We are saying ‘you are free, you are home,'” he said.
Ebrard said he discussed the matter with the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, during a meeting on Friday.
The US decision to end temporary protected status for Haitians in November has swelled the ranks of newly arrived migrants who have no possibility of finding work in the US.
Mexican officials say a new procedure has been put in place to allow them to return to their home country. At least 22,000 Haitian migrants are expected to apply for temporary residency and work permits within 30 days of receiving formal invitations from the government of Mexico.
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Ebrard said they would be allowed to leave in one year and an amnesty would be granted for everyone else in three years if they meet criteria. If they don’t return after that, the Mexican government will deport them.
He said those migrants who remain will be offered citizenship once they return to Haiti, something Mexico’s government agreed to do in a similar case last year.
Mexican officials also told Haitian leaders that all those granted protected status after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti are now able to return safely, and told those who wish to return home that they will be welcome.