Haitians seen crushing into migration centers seeking passports to U.S.


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Haitians desperate for passports to apply for a U.S. migration program crowded local migration centers, according to videos shared on social media on Friday, crushing through small doorways and scaling the outside of stairways.

Videos from Haiti’s Lalue migration office and an improvised center at a sports facility in the capital Port-au-Prince show people climbing on railings of stairs and being crushed as they fight their way through crowds, clutching document envelopes.

The United States said in early January it would allow up to 30,000 people from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela to enter by air each month on a parole program, allowing migrants entry case-by-case for humanitarian reasons or public benefit.

The move comes as the country expands Trump-era restrictions to rapidly expel migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border on foot.

Hundreds of Haitian migrants have been stopped in boats looking to emigrate amid a surge in violence driven by armed gangs, which has left hundreds dead and internally displaced over 100,000, according to the U.N. migration agency.

Neighboring Dominican Republic and the Bahamas have stepped up their border security.
Reporting by Harold Isaac in Port-au-Prince and Sarah Morland in Mexico City; Editing by Sandra Maler

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