Haiti - Migration

Emigration from Haiti has been mainly to Cuba, other Caribbean states, Canada, and the US; illegal emigration to the US has been substantial since the 1960s. Between 1972 and 1981 more than 55,000 Haitian "boat people"—and perhaps over 100,000—arrived in Florida. During 1981–85, 43,312 Haitians were admitted legally to the US. In September 1981, the US and Haitian governments agreed to work together to halt the flow of refugees, and these efforts apparently met with success. Over the next 10 years only 28 of the 22,716 Haitians intercepted at sea were admitted to the US.

Several thousand Haitian migratory workers travel to the Dominican Republic each year during the cane-harvest season; many more change their residences permanently.

Following the 1991 coup, which overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, many Haitians left for the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Suriname, Cuba, Panama, Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, and Mexico. Between 1991–93, 43,000 Haitians tried to reach the US by boat, but were interdicted and held at Guantanamo Bay, the US naval base in Cuba. In October 1994, President Aristide was returned to power thanks to a US-led multinational force into Haiti that entered in September of 1994. Soon after Aristide's return to power, Haitians began repatriating, and the UNHCR helped repatriate 8,052 persons from various countries. From the US, 16,500 repatriated voluntarily. The UNHCR office in Haiti was closed in April 1996. In 2000, the net migration rate was -2.7 migrants per 1,000 population. The total number of migrants living in Haiti that year was 26,000. The government views the emigration level as too high.

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