Lack of Public Safety in Haiti Pushes Illegal Immigration to the U.S.

The Lack of Public Safety in Haiti Pushes Illegal Immigration to the U.S.

Jose Cruz, Fall 2022

The flood of undocumented migration from Haiti to United States cannot be resolved unless the United States implements and engages in a consistent, long term foreign policy toward Haiti. The cost of not working towards a solution to the security crisis in Haiti has already cost the United States, with more than 15,000 immigrants in Del Rio Camp. This has forced the U.S to fly most undocumented immigrants back to Haiti by plane [1]. The inconsistency of U.S policy in Haiti has exacerbated the condition of insecurity and instability making it harder for the nation of Haiti to recover [2]. Collaboration with other nations is paramount for the U.S to stop the flow of illegal immigration and towards the continuation of the stability and growth of the Latin American region [3].

Haiti over the last two decades had to confront, battle and struggle to overcome a string of challenges in public health, natural disaster, and political turmoil. For example, in 2010 an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude destroyed the capital of Port-au-Prince bringing down homes, business, infrastructure, and even the President’s palace and with it the whole system of government in the country [4]. The deadly earthquake cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and displaced countless families out of their homes. In the wake of the disaster an overwhelming respond from the international community to help the Haitian people ensued. The good will of the international community was overshadowed with the introduction of cholera from international collaborators to Haiti [5]. In 2017 the election of Jovenel Moïse created a political upheaval from his political opponent contesting the election result. The power struggle, civilian unrest and the lack of international oversight allowed gangs to flourish and grow their influence in the country [6]. By 2021 the political tension had grown out of control; the president dissolved the Congress and continued to rule by emergency decree. On July 7, 2021, President Moïse was killed in the Presidential home while he was sleep and this effectively submerged Haiti into chaotic anarchy [7]. The gangs in Haiti have successfully taken control over the county to the point where the police cannot stand a chance against the well-armed gangs.

The situation in Haiti, as of December 2022, is so dire that the people in Haiti do not have free access to basic services like schools or hospitals. The food prices have rocketed, and the gangs have the control of much of the flow of goods like fuel which the whole country depends on for electricity and production of food. The lack of safety and security has forced many Haitians to migrate out of the country by droves. The impact of the current crises is spilling over to the south border of United States with thousands of Haitian immigrants camping in Del Rio, Texas, searching for a speck of hope for their families [8].

The nation of Haiti will not solve the security crisis by themselves and the longer the United States and the international partners defer their response to the security crisis, the worse the crisis will be for the whole continent. The turmoil caused by the assassination of the Haitian President and struggle for power between gangs has created tension between neighboring Dominican Republic and Haiti to the point that it threatens the stability of the region which will make it harder and more expensive to resolve.

The United States should focus on a long-term mission in Haiti because it is in the United States interest to maintain stability and security in Haiti to prevent mass migration to come to its own southern border. The inconsistency from US policies towards Haiti has make it even harder for Haiti to solve their own problems. For example, a 1990s policy from Bill Clinton looking to help Haiti receive cheap subsided rice overwhelmed the markets in Haiti causing considerable damage to the agriculture industries in Haiti which could not compete with the prices [9]. The policy meant well just as the response to the earthquake, but both brought undesired consequences. The worse part was the response to the consequences which justified disengagement from Haiti, leaving the Haitian people vulnerable to corruption and exploitation. Consistency is a must even when facing failures along the way. A renewed international mission should focus on transparency to build a true partnership with the civil society of Haiti.

The first step should be the understanding and acknowledgement between United States and Haiti that there is not such a thing as perfect person therefore there is not a perfect nation but, the United States is a well-intended nation because it is in the United States’ interest to maintain peace and stability in Haiti. The interest of United States is to have a country of Haiti that can offer its people peace, liberty, and justice. Let the Haitian people know that democracy is an essential pillar for the Haitian people to prosper and to allow their children to go to school and able to reach their dream without the necessity to leave the country.  This would show the Haitian people that the interest of United States aligns with the interest of Haiti, and allow the development of the country in a true long-term partnership. Finally United States must make very clear to the Haitian people that the interest of the United States is to have a contributing partner in commerce, trade, and democratic values. Haitian security and stability can only be accomplished with  substantial and constant help from the international community. The Haitian people deserve the partnership of the international community until Haiti has strong democratic institutions self-sufficient to carry out the urgent public safety requirement to achieve their hopes and dreams.


[1] Gearan, Anne, et al. “Resignation of U.S. envoy to Haiti spotlights a growing migration crisis for Biden.” Washington Post, 23 Sept. 2021, p. NA. Gale In Context: Global Issues, Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.

[2] Carey, Henry F. (Chip). “U.S. Policy in Haiti: The Failure to Help Despite the Rhetoric to Please.” Journal of Haitian Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, 2002, pp. 86–111. JSTOR, Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.

[3] “Tripartite call for the US and allies to intervene in Haiti.” Economist Intelligence Unit: Country ViewsWire, 4 Nov. 2021, p. NA. Gale In Context: Global Issues, Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.

[4] – [5] Farmer, Paul and Louise C. Ivers. “Cholera in Haiti: The Equity Agenda and the Future of Tropical Medicine.” American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 86.1 (2012): 7-8. 18 11 2022.

[6] Vice World News: Haiti’s Political Crisis Plunges Its Capital Into Chaos. Jun 6, 2021.

[7] Vice World News: Haiti’s Gangs Call for Violence After the President’s Assassination. Jul 20, 2021.

[8] Gearan, “Resignation of US envoy to Haiti,” (2021).

[9] Carey, “U.S. Policy in Haiti” (2002).


Further Reading

Maguire, Robert. “US policy toward Haiti: engagement or estrangement?” Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, vol. 5, no. 3, spring-summer 2004, pp. 190+. Gale Literature Resource Center, Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.

“Exploitative and ineffective international engagement created Haiti’s migration crisis.” New Humanitarian, 31 Oct. 2021, p. NA. Gale In Context: Global Issues, Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.






Worcester State University Fall 2022