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Common immigration terms used in the Haitian crisis, explained


Haitian migrants cross the Rio Grande river into Ciudad Acuna from Del Rio, TX, on Sept. 20, 2021. Omar Ornelas/El Paso Times

New York, Sep. 24, 2021 — Terms like refugee, asylee and migrant are often used interchangeably. In light of the crisis on the border in Del Rio, Texas, The Haitian Times has compiled a list of terms to help clarify these frequently misused terms.

  1. Asylum seeker: A person who has arrived in a new country for the same reasons as a refugee, but hasn’t been granted refugee status yet. Asylum rules differ by country, but generally many asylum seekers, particularly if they are part of a large group, do not have their requests processed. 

Asylum seekers from countries like Iran and Syria recently traveled to start new lives in the Eastern European country, Bosnia and Herzegovina. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 07/30/2021. 

  1. Deportation: In the U.S., an individual is deported when they are considered to “have violated an immigration law,” according to USA.gov. Grounds for deportation range from lack of travel documents to committing a crime to being considered a public safety threat, among other reasons. 

This week, scores of Haitian migrants hastily attempted to re-board planes that deported them from the U.S. to Toussaint Louverture airport. BBC, 09/22/2021.  

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