Researching Haitian Migrants as a Haitian Researcher

By Tania Smith, under the supervision of Kim Wilson

By the time I received approval to research the integration strategies of Haitian migrants living in Tijuana, they had already been covered extensively by the media. As a Haitian–American who was raised in Haiti, I knew that I would be able to process and understand nuances that other researchers and journalists could not. I am a fluent French and Haitian Creole speaker with innate knowledge of Haitian culture. My expectations for myself were high. I assumed that I would arrive in Tijuana and immediately be able to fit in and connect with the migrants. I assumed that because I was a “compatriot,” Haitians would be ready and willing to interview with me and I would be welcomed into their community with open arms. I was wrong.

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