TIJUANA (Border Report) — On June 11, Jean Stanley was found dead behind a counter where he worked; he had been shot several times.
He is one of several Haitian migrants to be murdered in Tijuana in recent weeks.
The city, across the border from San Diego, has become a popular destination for Haitian refugees who hope to immigrate to the U.S., something Stanley’s family said he wanted to do.
It’s also a place where many Haitians end up after being expelled from the U.S. under Title 42.
The rash of homicides is the result of street violence and not hate or racism, says Enrique Lucero, the head of the migrant affairs office in Tijuana.
“The insecurity that persists in the city is the reason, not persecution of these migrants,” Lucero said.
Lucero stressed that Haitians are welcome in the city and that employers seek them out because they are “very responsible and hardworking.”
“There is no discrimination of any kind against this community,” said Lucero. “They are simply victims of delinquency just like any other Tijuana resident.”
Lucero is urging all residents to take precautions, something that is done in all major cities around the world.
“Just like in Chicago or New York there are zones where you should not frequent at certain times of the day,” he said. “What we’re going to do is warn the Haitian community in these areas to be careful to avoid exposure to danger.”
As for Stanley’s murder, Lucero said he was not singled out for any reason.
“It wasn’t a direct attack on him, we need to make this clear,” he said.
On June 5, another Haitian migrant, Joselyn Anselme, was shot and killed during a robbery after he had withdrawn money from an ATM. He was 30 years old.
Caloy Archange was also found dead under suspicious circumstances in recent days, although his death was caused by a medical condition, according to Lucero.
Leaders within the Haitian community in Tijuana say they are living in constant fear.
“It’s not just in Tijuana, it’s in all of Mexico,” Vivianne Petit-frère told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I can say it’s a systemic racism, at every level of social life Haitians face danger.”
Petit-frère is with Haitian Bridge Alliance, a non-profit with offices in San Diego and Tijuana, which has paid for the funerals of several Haitian migrants, including Anselme and Archange.
According to Customs and Border Protection statistics, almost 18,000 Haitian migrants were expelled from the United States between January 2021 through April 2022.