San Diego is home to thousands of Haitian refugees. In the last fiscal year, more than two-thirds of the refugees resettled in San Diego County came from Haiti. Now, several local Haitian pastors are working tirelessly to help migrants get to San Diego from Texas.
Pastor Jean Elise-Durandisse, who heads the largely Haitian congregation of the United Methodist Church of Christ in San Diego, visited Del Rio on Wednesday with immigration attorney Wismick Saint-Jean.
NBC 7’s Priya Sridhar spoke to a Haitian pastor in San Diego about how he helps migrants from his home country.
“It’s heartbreaking and inhumane to treat people like that and it’s really moving, so that’s one of the reasons we said we have to do something,” said Pastor Elise-Durandisse.
The top US diplomat in Haiti resigned Thursday, saying the US approach to the country was “deeply flawed”. The United States returned at least 4,000 Haitian migrants to Haiti on deportation flights or to other processing centers along the United States-Mexico border after the Del Rio camps reached over 12,000 migrants in the past week.
NBC News has confirmed that U.S. officials have said thousands of Haitian migrants are released in the United States with appearance notices at immigration offices within 60 days. It is not known which migrants are placed on deportation flights and which are allowed to remain in the United States.
“The Haitian president was assassinated not so long ago, maybe over a month ago, then a month later after the assassination, you had a terrible earthquake that destroyed a much of southern Haiti, so it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that people would start seeking refuge, ”said Wismick Saint-Jean, explaining the influx of Haitian migrants to the border.
Saint-Jean and Elise-Durandisse said they planned to stay in Texas for three days, but are ready to adjust their travel plans based on the help they think they can provide once they go to the migrant camps.
A local pastor told NBC 7 that he
Pastor Johny Oxeda of First Haitian Baptist Church Ebenezer in San Diego said he too hoped to travel to Texas soon to help Haitians there. He said he had already helped around 50 migrants to San Diego over the past week and had 15 refugees sleeping at his house.