I agree with Bill Easterly and Henderson that open borders are best for alleviating poverty on net. Emigrating to the U.S. will certainly be good for those Haitians that choose to leave. But I’m not sure that a mass immigration of Haitians to the U.S. will be good for Haiti.
I don’t think the lack of data showing that the richest Haitians are likeliest to leave challenges the idea that a large-scale emigration may have a negative impact on Haiti, as Easterly suggests.
From the standpoint of a wealthy Haitian, especially a politically well-connected one, the boom-times may be just around the corner. The U.S. and U.N. are as we speak negotiating plans for Haiti’s future with its political and economic leaders. Right now, despite the ubiquity of news stories about the difficulty of life in Haiti, it might be a good place to be for a wealthy and politically powerful Haitian.
Furthermore, those Haitians brave enough to try something like this
may be those Haitians most likely to succeed in bettering their lives in the U.S.; in other words, those Haitians endowed with a greater amount of entrepreneurial spirit than those they leave behind.
Where would the desperately poor of Haiti be then?