Three Haitian families were granted asylum after crossing into Del Rio, Texas following a devastating earthquake and political upheaval in their home country. Now that they're settled in South Florida, they are sharing their harrowing experiences.
“You see skeletons with clothes on them, or dead bodies,” Stephanie, the mother of a 4-year-old girl, told reporters. “You smell it, you have people that as they are walking up the mountain, they just give up.”
They said they were all there under the bridge in Del Rio, a humanitarian crisis shaking the country and testing the Biden administration.
When they were asylum seekers, their journey started with help from relatives or non-profit groups like Giving Hearts With Love Foundation. Then, they encountered smugglers along the way who promised to show them the way in exchange for money.
“The same people guiding are the same people robbing and raping,” Stephanie says. Some of their own family members were sexually assaulted during the journey, reporters say. Jimmy even got injured during the trip but kept going for his family.
“You have to have real determination and you have to know the reason why you’re doing it,” he says.
Now that they are in South Florida, they're required to check in electronically with immigration and wear GPS tracking devices. In the end, they say it's faith that brought them to safety and keeps them hopeful.
If you want to help Haitian immigrants seeking refuge, click here for a list of resources.
Reading about Black trauma can have an impact on your mental health. If you or someone you know need immediate mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor. These additional resources are also available:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
For more mental health resources, click HERE.