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Refugees coming From Haiti are coming to San Antonio

We can expect many more refugees who are attempting to escape from the developing violence in Haiti to make their way to San Antonio. Recently, more Black faces have appeared at the border with Mexico. Presently, we are seeing more and more crossing the border, jumping over razor wire at the Mexican border. At least 40,000 individuals have escaped Haiti's capital as gangs control the streets, and the government is powerless to stop it. If the violence continues to increase, we can be sure that more will try to make it to Florida and Texas.  The government of Haiti has already declared a state of emergency and those leaving Haiti are mostly people attempting to leave the chaos and violence behind them. These people need help and should be treated as political refugees. We see Haitian refugees arriving by the dozens at the downtown San Antonio bus station, and people are willing to help them. The San Antonio Migrant Resource Center reports that almost 20,000 Haitians have already arrived, and the number is expected to grow at the San Pedro St. location. Unfortunately, as the number keeps growing, many have to sleep outside with their children. San Antonio has already served almost 200,000 migrants since 2021. The Migrant Resource Center is supported by Catholic Charities, the San Antonio Food Bank, Interfaith Welcome Coalition, Corazon (Heart) Ministries, and the nonprofit group Endeavors. San Antonio has made it known that it will not be bullied by Governor Greg Abbott and groups that …

We can expect many more refugees who are attempting to escape from the developing violence in Haiti to make their way to San Antonio. Recently, more Black faces have appeared at the border with Mexico. Presently, we are seeing more and more crossing the border, jumping over razor wire at the Mexican border. At least 40,000 individuals have escaped Haiti’s capital as gangs control the streets, and the government is powerless to stop it. If the violence continues to increase, we can be sure that more will try to make it to Florida and Texas. 

The government of Haiti has already declared a state of emergency and those leaving Haiti are mostly people attempting to leave the chaos and violence behind them. These people need help and should be treated as political refugees. We see Haitian refugees arriving by the dozens at the downtown San Antonio bus station, and people are willing to help them. The San Antonio Migrant Resource Center reports that almost 20,000 Haitians have already arrived, and the number is expected to grow at the San Pedro St. location. Unfortunately, as the number keeps growing, many have to sleep outside with their children. San Antonio has already served almost 200,000 migrants since 2021. The Migrant Resource Center is supported by Catholic Charities, the San Antonio Food Bank, Interfaith Welcome Coalition, Corazon (Heart) Ministries, and the nonprofit group Endeavors. San Antonio has made it known that it will not be bullied by Governor Greg Abbott and groups that have the nerve to call themselves “Patriots.” 

Various individuals and groups are organizing to help the Haitian refugees. Help increased after 2021 when Trump policies resulted in the largest expulsion of refugees in decades. Haitians often arrive at the bus station and get a taxi to the airport with little money, some of it still wet from crossing the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo). Many are crossing with small children or infants, carrying what little food and money they have. Those in fear for their lives from the political violence have vowed to travel again and again no matter how many times they are expelled from the U.S. border and sent back to Haiti. Not surprisingly, the hatred being generated against all migrants went from bad to worse as many of them were Afro-Honduran, Afro-Guatemalan, and others of African or mixed ancestry. This was evidenced by the horrific film footage of border agents using horses to plow into Haitians attempting to cross the border some months back. 

It is not surprising when attempts to help Haitians come with the usual propaganda that they are criminals. New 4 reports, “We’re going to see an increase of people from Haiti coming to the southern border. We’re also going to see an increase in criminal elements. Why? Because they have emptied their jails.” 

This racialized claim was presented by Ari Jimenez, a retired Homeland Security agent, who could not possibly know if these people were political prisoners in Haiti or gang members who would stay in Haiti with their established links to their gang membership. His ignorant remarks only fuel the Trump rhetoric about stereotyping refugees. After he said this, the rest of his comments could be taken with a grain of salt. Often, these so-called experts study the routes by which immigrants leave a country but are ignorant about the political history of the country in question. 

 Many want to welcome Haitian immigrants by celebrating their rich history. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, they defeated Napoleon to gain their freedom from France and celebrated their own Day of the Dead in November, called Gédé. 

“Gede are the family of Lwa, spirits of the African Diaspora that represent the powers of death and fertility. During the event, there is African drumming and dance called “Banda.” 

We should help those who want to become Americans just like Americans helped Europeans come here in the 1800s. Approximately 25,000 people who crossed the border in late 2023 are from Haiti, Columbia, and other areas that have significant numbers of people with African ancestry. Statistics show that Haitians at the U.S.-Mexico border were approximately 76,000 in 2023. Many Haitians go to Brazil, Canada, Chile, and the Dominican Republic, but the United States is the most popular destination. Haitians coming to San Antonio may have an advantage if they get to stay, as even though Haiti is more Caribbean in culture, many speak Spanish, English, French, and Creole. Interestingly, a number of Haitians relocated to Mexico in the 1970s are now Black Haitian Mexicans. 

San Antonio should welcome these Haitian immigrants and help them to settle here if possible. It is not just about “securing the border,” but a humanitarian effort for people who are not mostly criminals but honest people. Think about that the next time you hear someone ranting about the border and the criminals supposedly crossing over. The criminals that attacked the Capitol on January 6th were not from Haiti or any other foreign country but criminals from the United States!

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