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Record number of African migrants at U.S.-Mexico border

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THE LOS ANGELES TIMES:

The number of African migrants heading to the U.S. through Mexico has more than doubled this year — from roughly 2,700 in 2018 to 5,800 today, according to data from the federal government.

That figure has been steadily rising since 2007 — the year the Mexican government began including migrants from African countries who have contact with immigration officials in their annual migration reports — when the number was 460.

And that dramatic increase has been mostly left out of U.S. immigration conversations, activists say.

“Even within the immigration movement, you see a lack of visibility of black narratives with what is happening at the border,” said Guerline Jozef, director and co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an organization that helps black migrants from all over the world.

Jozef was initially caught off-guard by the number of black migrants south of the border.

In 2016 she didn’t know how to respond to a call she got about a group of Haitian migrants in Tijuana. She couldn’t understand why they were in Tijuana instead of Florida, the more traditional migration route for Caribbean migrants.

“At the time, honestly, I did not believe it,” she said.

But she went anyway and met with 12 Haitian migrants. She stayed a month and counted more than 400 black migrants from not just Haiti but Congo, Cameroon and Sierra Leone as well.

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