Haitian families now living in South Florida describe harrowing journey to cross border in Del Rio, Texas

Thousands of mostly Haitian immigrants who crossed into Del Rio, Texas were either sent back to Haiti or allowed to stay in the U.S.

MIRAMAR, Fla. – Thousands of mostly Haitian immigrants who crossed into Del Rio, Texas were either sent back to Haiti or allowed to stay in the U.S.

Three of the families that were granted temporary asylum ended up in South Florida, and they shared their journey with Local 10 News.

They arrived strangers; Stephanie and her 4-year-old daughter, Jimmy and his young family and Yvonne.

They all described a similar, terrifying journey to the border.

“You see skeletons with clothes on them, or dead bodies,” Stephanie said. “You smell it, you have people that as they are walking up the mountain, they just give up.”

Said Jimmy: “At the moment we were under the bridge, all we pretty much cared about was to get out. To make it.”

They all had been there, under the bridge in Del Rio. The human crisis has riveted a nation.

Haitians, some living for years in Brazil and Chile trying to sustain their families, heard word of mouth last spring that the United States was ready to take them in.

They are among the families granted a prized chance at the asylum process.

Their rescues and resources now depend on relatives or non-profits like Giving Hearts With Love Foundation.

Much of the money they had to spend along the way was to the smugglers, so-called guides along the routes.

“The same people guiding are the same people robbing and raping,” Stephanie said.

Along the journey, relatives were raped and Jimmy was injured, implored to keep going for his family.

“You have to have real determination and you have to know the reason why you’re doing it,” Jimmy said.

Now required to check in electronically with immigration and wear GPS tracking devices as their asylum cases progress, they all share the same message, that faith brough them here, and that hope keeps them going.

“My God was with me,” said Yvonne. “I was not by myself.”

For more information on how to help these families or others who are struggling, visit Giving Hearts with Love’s official website by clicking here.


About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."