Since April, thousands Haitian migrants are putting down roots in the Costa Rican border as part of their pilgrimage to the United States in search of the American dream. They travel overland from South America, mainly from Brazil. | MAYELA LOPEZ
Since April, thousands Haitian migrants began putting down roots at the Costa Rican border with Nicaragua as part of their pilgrimage to the United States in search of the American dream. They travel overland from South America, mainly from Brazil.  Photo Mayela Lopez, La Nacion

QCOSTARICA – The announcement last week by the United States to deport migrants who enter their country illegally could see a reduction in the flow of Haitian migrants to Costa Rica.

According to Communications Minister, Mauricio Herrera, the announcement by the U.S. last Thursday could be a disincentive for migrants to travel to South America (mainly Brazil), then make their to Costa Rica, Central America and Mexico and to the U.S. in search for a better quality of life.

“We think it is a good step to discourage an extremely dangerous and inhuman irregular migration (…). Being a discouraged one would expect that in the near future there will be fewer people of Haitian descent trying to reach the United States by this dangerous path,” said Herrera.

The decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security toughened immigration measures against the islanders, eliminating a series of special guarantees put in place that prevented the deportation of Haitians after the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Since 2011, U.S. authorities expelled from their country only Haitians who were convicted of a serious crime or posed a threat to national security. Now, they will be treated like any other migrant reaching their borders, according to the AP news agency.

In the last five months more almost 11,000 Haitians and other migrants from Africa and Asia reached Costa Rica, with almost 5,000 still in the country, unable to cross into Nicaragua on their path north through Central America and the U.S. border in Mexico.

Herrera said that Costa Rica will continue with their immigration policy, that is, continue to extent temporary permits for transit up to 25 days, in order to maintain a record of the migrant population and to provide them with legal status so as not to become victims of traffickers (coyotes in Spanish) and organized crime.

In his opinion, Herrera said it is unlikely that the Haitians will decide to stay in Costa Rica following the U.S. announcement.

“These migrants don’t want to stay in Costa Rica that it is very clear that they want to leave the country as soon as possible, none have shown so far that intention,” said Herrera.

Source La Nacion

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