Migration and the Children of Haiti



In the current setting, migration has been occurring due to a variety of reasons, some of these being personal life choices, and other reasons based on economic necessity. Regardless of reasons however, its impact on the migrants has always been considered significant, bringing forth both negative and the positive impacts on these migrants. Among children, such impact has even been more significant because of their vulnerabilities and adjustment requirements. This paper shall discuss the impact of migration on the children of Haiti, including the social, economic, psychological, and educational burdens and benefits which migration has brought to these children. Body Throughout the years, millions of Haitians have migrated to other countries, mostly in North America, including the Dominican Republic, United States, Cuba, Mexico, Canada, and the Bahamas, France, Turkey, Jamaica, Venezuela, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. There are about 1.2 million Haitians in the US, about 200,000 in Canada, and one million in the Dominican Republic (Wassem, 2003, p. 1). Some of these Haitians have left their children in Haiti while they have left their home country to seek better fortunes. Their reasons for migrating have mostly revolved around political oppression, economic difficulties, limited opportunities, and similar socio-economic issues. Last year’s January 7.0 magnitude earthquake which devastated the country sent even more Haitians out of their homeland. In the US, the Department of Homeland Security was prompted to extend the Temporary Protected Status for Haitians arriving in the US prior to the earthquake (Zissis, 2010). After this declaration, the DHS also declared humanitarian parole to Haitian orphans, allowing them to enter the US under emergency conditions for the administration of medical care (Zissis, 2010). About 500 of these orphans were granted refuge in the US because of this parole. those with appropriate papers issued by the Haitian government were allowed to be put up for adoption. The disaster in Haiti has caused the widespread migration of many Haitians including their children. Such migration has impacted in various ways on these children. The impact of migration on children is seen in a variety of ways. It is seen in Haitian children migrating to another country or region, and it is also seen in children left behind. This paper shall consider both types of children. Among Haitian children migrating to other countries, most of the effects of migration is seen in terms of psychosocial issues, including education, health, birth registration, and risk for child labor and child trafficking (Bakker, Elings-Pels and Reis, 2009, p. 10). In relation to psychosocial issues, there is a risk for migrant Haitian children to feel alienated from other children, including adult children due to their migrant status. Moreover, the risk of insecurity and depression is also significant among these children. Social workers in Haiti express how the children migrants often feel psychological distress due to their status as migrants in other countries (Bakker, et.al., 2009, p. 10). Their comparative conditions in relation to their deplorable economic conditions impact negatively on their overall wellbeing as children. Haitian children represent “a significant vulnerable group, in fact 8% of Haitian immigrants are under the age of 14 and 21% between 15 and 24” (Bakker, et.al., 2009, p. 10). In effect, they are in the age where they have not fully developed adequate means of independent living. as such, they are prompted to endure even more deplorable economic conditions. In relation to education, migrant children in Haiti are often made to face hardships due to language barriers, stigmatization, and ridicule among other native children, leading to