New York has its “Little Italy” and now Tijuana has its “Little Haiti”

As published on, the Central American migrant caravan moves to enter the United States, and those left behind in Mexico see no hope of ever getting past across the frontier border.

But one group, stuck in this no man’s land, have decided to make the best of the situation.

While many members of the Central American migrant caravan managed to cross the U.S. border, others in Tijuana haven’t been so fortunate.

Last year, a similar caravan of more than 3000 Haitian refugees arrived in Tijuana, hoping to cross into the United States.

But with many denied entry, and returning home an impossibility, a large number of Haitians have remained in Tijuana, Mexico.

Eline Dumelus fled Haiti with her husband last year, and has remained in Tijuana since she arrived, even giving birth to six-month-old Giovanni.

“Mexico is good. There is work here for us, and there is no work in Haiti. I miss my country, but I want a good future for my baby,” she told CGTN.

Eline and her newborn son are just two members of a large Haitian community now based in the hills around the city.

Living in an area of Tijuana known as Scorpion Canyon, today it’s better known as as Little Haiti. According to Mexican migration experts, it’s the region outside the country of Haiti itself with the highest density of Haitians anywhere in the world.

Tijuana’s government says the Haitians are welcome in a city where they estimate that, at any one time, 20 percent of the city’s population is transient, thanks to its location at the border line.

“We saw more than twenty-three thousand Haitians in Baja, California last year, and over three thousand have remained,” said Rodolfo Hernandez, Baja California Migration Official. “They are now incorporated into the city, and have found work in many different industries. Tijuana is a city which receives migrants seeking honest work and a better life with open arms.”

“When the Haitians first arrived here two years ago, they had nowhere to stay and no chance of finding work,” said Jon Perez, a Tijuana local, that has embraced the incoming community by opening a Haitian restaurant catering to those who now call the city home. “But they are very good people. Hard working and committed, and now they have become residents of Tijuana.”

While the Central American migrant caravan apply for political asylum at the border near San Diego, the residents of Little Haiti in Tijuana expect no such invitation.

Now, caught between a wall and a hard place, they are determined to make the best of it.


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