News by VICE

What happens to migrants when the U.S. closes its borders

16,000 Haitians arrived to the Mexico-U.S. border seeking asylum over the past year.

by Jika Gonzalez and Brittany Ross
Apr 26 2017, 9:22am

Over the past year, 16,000 Haitians arrived at the Mexico-U.S. border seeking asylum. The majority of these Haitian migrants made a monthslong journey across Central and South America from Brazil, where they had settled after fleeing the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in their homeland. The journey north was not easy; it was long, expensive, and extremely dangerous. The trip meant crossing 10 countries by foot, bus and boat, dealing with human smugglers and corrupt police.

The U.S. had once welcomed Haitians, but with an estimated 40,000 of them en route, former President Barack Obama, and now President Donald Trump, refused to let them cross the border. Migrants were left waiting in Mexico for months before U.S. immigration officials would even look at their cases. Now, as Trump has further closed off America’s borders, thousands of them are stranded in Mexico, straining the country’s resources.

VICE News went to Tijuana to see how the city is adjusting and how the Haitians are adjusting.

Gabriela Córdova contributed to this report.