For the ultimate leg of his journey from Chile to the United States, Haitian migrant Fabricio Jean adopted detailed directions despatched to him through WhatsApp from his brother in New Jersey who had lately taken the path to the Texas border.

His brother wired him 20,000 pesos (about $1,000 U.S. {dollars}) for the journey, then meticulously mapped it out, warning him of areas heavy with Mexican immigration officers.

What Jean didn’t anticipate was to search out hundreds of Haitian migrants like himself crossing on the similar distant spot. 

The 38-year-old, his spouse and two younger youngsters earlier this month joined as many as 14,000 principally Haitian migrants camped beneath a Del Rio bridge, lots of whom left their homeland after its devastating 2010 earthquake and have been dwelling in Latin America, drawn by Brazil and Chile’s once-booming economies.


Migrants use platforms like Facebook,YouTube WhatsApp to share data, with the latter being the most well-liked.

Online messages touting the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuña, throughout from Del Rio, began after President Joe Biden took workplace and started reversing a few of the Trump administration’s immigration insurance policies.

Facebook Inc., which owns WhatsApp, permits folks to alternate details about crossing borders, even illegally, however its coverage bars posts that ask for cash for providers that facilitate human smuggling.

Haitians started crossing there this yr, however their numbers ballooned after a Biden administration program that briefly opened the door to some asylum seekers ended, mentioned Nicole Phillips, of the San Diego-based Haitian Bridge Alliance, which advocates for Haitian migrants. 

Once it ceased in August, folks panicked, and the messages recommending Ciudad Acuña “went viral,” Phillips mentioned.

Interviews with dozens of Haitian migrants, immigration attorneys and advocates reveal a phenomenon produced partly by confusion over the Biden administration’s insurance policies after authorities lately prolonged protections for the greater than 100,000 Haitians dwelling within the United States.

CIUDAD ACUNA, MEXICO - SEPTEMBER 20: Mounted U.S. Border Patrol agents watch Haitian immigrants on the bank of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021 as seen from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. As U.S. immigration authorities began deporting immigrants back to Haiti from Del Rio, thousands more waited in a camp under an international bridge in Del Rio while others crossed the river back into Mexico to avoid deportation. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) 

CIUDAD ACUNA, MEXICO – SEPTEMBER 20: Mounted U.S. Border Patrol brokers watch Haitian immigrants on the financial institution of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas on September 20, 2021 as seen from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. As U.S. immigration authorities started deporting immigrants again to Haiti from Del Rio, hundreds extra waited in a camp beneath a world bridge in Del Rio whereas others crossed the river again into Mexico to keep away from deportation. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) 
((Photo by John Moore/Getty Images))


In extending protections for Haitians this spring, the Biden administration cited security concerns and social unrest in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation.

Robins Exile mentioned he and his pregnant spouse, who left Brazil after he misplaced his job amid the pandemic-wracked financial system, headed to Tijuana, Mexico, as a substitute after seeing warnings through YouTube and WhatsApp from fellow Haitian migrants.

“A lot of Haitians are advising now not to come to Acuña. They say it’s no longer a good place,” he mentioned.

“The U.S. is releasing some but just a few,” he mentioned, referring to U.S. officials who told the AP on Tuesday that hundreds of Haitians in custody had been being let go and ordered to report back to an immigration workplace, contradicting the Biden administration’s announcement that each one Haitians camped within the city can be expelled to Haiti.

Despite Biden’s announcement to show Haitian immigrants round, many households proceed to be launched into the US.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas mentioned the non permanent protections had been restricted to these residing within the U.S. earlier than July 29 — however that situation was typically lacking in posts, main Haitians outdoors the United States to imagine they, too, had been eligible.

Mayorkas acknowledged that this week, saying “we are very concerned that Haitians who are taking the irregular migration path are receiving misinformation that the border is open,” or that they qualify for protected standing regardless of the expired deadline.

“I want to make sure it is known that this is not the way to come to the United States,” he mentioned.

Thousands of Haitians have been caught in Mexican border cities since 2016, when the Obama administration abruptly halted a coverage that originally allowed them in on humanitarian grounds.