guerline jozef haitian bridge alliance
Guerline Jozef of Haitian Bridge Alliance at an Oct. 13 rally in Washington, D.C. to support legalization for temporary protected status holders. (Photo: Getty Images for Communities Uni)

It was late 2015 when Guerline Jozef received a phone call about a group of Haitians seeking asylum at the United States border, which seemed strange to her at the time. A leader in Southern California’s small Haitian community, Jozef had never worked with migrant populations, she recalled. 

Curious, she drove more than 100 miles from her Orange County, California, home to Tijuana, Mexico. There, she spoke with 12 Haitian youth and learned about their journeys.

“They all told me the same story, they were all survivors of the earthquake that happened in Haiti in 2010,” said Jozef, who worked in audio-visual entertainment at the time. “They left from Haiti to Brazil. And then unfortunately when the economy collapsed, political instability started, the work that they were brought into the country to do for the World Cup and the Olympics started to fade.” 

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at or on Twitter @sambojarski.