Members of the Tapachula Haitian Refugee Association during a press conference on December 15, 2021

Haitians in Tapachula, a state in Mexico, demanded a solution to the immigration problems they face, during a Dec. 16 news conference organized by the Tapachula Haitian Refugees Association, or Asociación de Refugiados Hatianos en Tapachula in Spanish.

“We demand respect for our dignity and human rights,” said Yuderqui Jules, member of the Tapachula Haitian Refugee Association. “Similarly, we demand in-depth solutions to the obstacles in achieving refugee status, legalization, and human rights violations.”

Thousands of Haitians currently live in Tapachula, most of them waiting for asylum applications in Mexico to be approved. The majority of those living in the state had arrived from Chile or Brazil in the last few years.

As of Dec. 1 2021, 47,494 Haitians have requested asylum in Mexico, plus 6,413 Chilean citizens, considered the children of Haitians, according to The Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance. Most of the applications have been made in Tapachula, Mexico.

During the conference, held at Center for Human Rights Fray Matías de Córdova A.C., in Tapachula THRA denounced the “rejection, harassment and criminalization” Haitians face from immigration authorities.

“Most of us live in a room with 5 or 6 people,” said Wesly Luc, from THRA. “Many of us don’t have any help, nor relatives who could send us money. Many of us are sleeping on the streets with our children, our cousins. That’s why we are here to denounce that situation,” he added 

Tapachula Haitian Refugee Association has 3,000 members, according to their members. 

Leonardo March is Brooklyn-based visual journalist from Puerto Rico. In a previous life Leonardo was a photographer and graphic designer, skills he’s refocusing to cover the Haitian Diaspora in the US. Leonardo can be reached at Leonardo@haitiantimes.com

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