little haiti
In a warehouse in Hialeah, Miami, used shoes and clothing are sorted and nested before being sent to...

New Haitian migrants in Little Haiti (Miami) face integration problems in the labor market. Because of their lack of knowledge in the English language; they are forced to work at the lowest paid jobs.  According to a Haitian sociologist and lawyer, Clifford Cherry, who lives in Miami, the non-mastery of English is a real constraint to find a job.

What makes the speciality of Little Haiti?

Little Haiti is a suburban neighborhood of the city of Miami inhabited mostly by Haitian immigrants. It is one of the rarest places you can hear Haitian Creole speaks everywhere. It is also a pool of unemployed people.  According to the 2010 survey, this neighborhood has the highest unemployment rate in the city.

Indeed, you should know that the labor market is very competitive. An employer is always looking for added value in an employee. Let’s take the case of two people looking for work in Miami, one speaks English, and the other does not. With equal skills, the employer will keep the one with whom, he or she can communicate since speaking the language of the host country is a plus towards the socialization of a new migrant.

What are the profiles of these Haitians?

They are young, middle-aged, and older people.  Also,  immigrants from family reunification, asylum seekers, or those seeking a temporary protection status (TPS). In fact, we might say that this category is from Haiti and has limited instructions, they depend only on their physical strength to make a living

What kinds of jobs are accessible to them?

Agriculture is the most accessible job opportunity in Little Haiti.  Furthermore, the agricultural job is mostly carried out by Haitians under the direction of Haitian supervisors. Another opportunity present for these Haitians is warehousing tasks. This is about places where second-hand clothes are prepared, before sending to Haiti. Under these conditions, the language problem does not arise since they would be working with themselves.

How should Haitian business leaders in Miami react to the exploitation of their compatriots?

Most of these Haitians in Miami are being exploited by supervisors in many ways. In many cases, the ladies are sexually harassed and exploited for material gains. When the business leaders were notified of these unpleasant occurrences, their reactions were somewhat indifferent. While the minimum wage in Florida was US$ 8 an hour, there are places, in Haitian warehouse people earn less than $US 30 for 10 hours a day. The figures speak for themselves.

Are other migrant communities trapped with the same problem?

Not at all!  After the Latinos, Haitians are the second largest migrant community in Miami. However, according to statistics, 66% of Miami residents speak Spanish at home. It is no secret that the vast majority of companies in Miami are Spanish-speaking Cubans. The problem of integration into the labor market, linked to communication, does not arise for them.

Read also: A Journey with Pauline* a Haitian Agricultural Worker of Little Haiti