Some Haitians in Mexico find help from others

Some of the thousands who fled Haiti to establish a camp at the Texas border city of Del Rio found help in Mexico's Ciudad Acuna.

Some Haitians in Mexico find help from others

U.S. officials declared that the U.S. camp had been cleared. However, undetermined numbers of migrants remain in Ciudad Acuna and are afraid to venture out onto the streets. After Mexican immigration agents raided a small hotel, they ringed the Mexican camp with similar agents.

Many Ciudad Acuna residents volunteered to take in Haitian families and provide food and water. Virginia Salazar, a Mexican wife, and Mensah Montant (from the African nation Togo), were among those who helped the Haitians.

They brought rice and medicine from one place to another. Now they are looking for a mattress to provide comfort for one family in Haiti. Montant is a native of Mexico and has worked as a tailor since he arrived there nine years ago.

Salazar, a cleaner, said that she is from a family of immigrants. Salazar said that her husband and she have one sister with documents and another who is illegal. This is what I do naturally."

They've helped around a dozen Haitians, but they don't know how many are still hiding here after U.S. officials cleared the camp from the other side.

After an encampment of predominantly Haitian migrants built around the bridge span, U.S. officials shut down the crossing on September 17. On Friday, the camp was cleared completely of migrants.

Many of these migrants are at risk of being expelled because they aren't covered by recent protections extended by Biden to more than 100,000 Haitian migrants who have arrived in the U.S.

Around 2,000 Haitians were evacuated on 17 flights in the last week. More could be expelled in the coming days.

Many people fled to Mexico to avoid being sent back to Haiti. Thousands more were also believed to be traveling up from South America to try to get to the U.S. border. Mexico began busing Haitians to the southernmost region of its territory, and is preparing to send others to Haiti.

Residents of Ciudad Acuna know that helping them can be risky. Last week, thousands of Haitians walked across the Rio to Del Rio and then returned to Mexico to purchase food and other necessities.

Montant, 32, was about to deliver ice to Etlove Dorizcar when Mexican immigration agents arrived at his house. "What's going on? Wait! He showed them his Mexican residency papers and said "I have my papers."

Montant and Salazar met Dorsicar while they were handing food out earlier in the week to a smaller encampment on the Mexican side.

Agents arrived to surround the camp. Dorsicar's wife, Dorsicar and their 3-year old daughter ran for cover in the riverside brush, until they reached the couple.

Montant and Salazar found Montant and Salazar a place where they could rent a bedroom, a table, and a fan for $50 a month. It is a blessing for the family, and the Haitian woman who lives in the other room.

Dorsicar said, "For the first times in days I didn't need to sleep with one eye open."

Andrea Garcia, a 24-year old hairstylist has set up six Haitian families in different homes that her family owns in Ciudad Acuna.

Garcia recalls, "They came to my house alone with their children and asked for help. They said they couldn't go anywhere."

Garcia stated, "Yes, I am concerned, afraid because Mexican immigration agents go into people's homes and aren't giving them a chance to the process" for obtaining residency. It is sadder than frightening to see them pray when they see an immigrant van.

The Haitians must apply for asylum or refugee status in order to stay longer. This is done in Tapachula, a southern Mexican city. Many Haitians feel Tapachula is a trap and are trying to escape it by walking north. However, they have been stopped at checkpoints and National Guard troops.

Dorsicar stated that Tapachula is home to a lot of migrants.

Mexican officials have tried to persuade private bus companies to not transport Haitians north. Even taxi drivers in Ciudad Acuna feel the pressure to not transport them.

After being fined $900, Eliseo Ortiz, a taxi driver, no longer picks up Haitians from his vehicle. Ortiz stated that he was accused of being an immigrant trader and noted that other drivers had paid bribes for the privilege to transport them.

Manuel Casillas (65), owner of a Beatles-themed restaurant close to the border bridge has seen the Haitians move and come.

Castillas stated, "This all makes it feel bad. I'm not able to help or give them work." Castillas stated that although things are quiet now, he believes there will be another wave.

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