|A small number of Haitians began
arriving in upstate New York in the late '70s. By the mid 1980's, 50% of
the migrant work force was Haitian. This represented a significant
change from the earlier predominantly African-American population.
Services and programs were adapted to accommodate the new population.
Haitian "boat people" came to the US between
1978 and 1986 as refugees looking for political stability and better
economic opportunities for themselves and their relatives at home. Travay
jadin, migrant labor, provided Haitians a safe niche where they
could make a living, support relatives at home and maintain ritual
obligations while waiting for the legalization of their immigration