San Diego County

Local Haitian Pastors Helping Migrants Get From Texas to San Diego

The Biden Administration said at least 1,000 migrants gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas, have been deported to Haiti, but thousands more remain

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Pastors from Haitian churches in San Diego are working around the clock to bring Haitian migrants who crossed the border in Texas to San Diego.

Pastor Johny Oxeda from the First Haitian Baptist Church Ebenezer of San Diego said in the last week he has helped approximately 50 Haitian get from Del Rio, Texas, to San Diego. He said he has 15 people sleeping in his own home.

The newest migrants will add to San Diego's large Haitian community. Just last year, approximately 1,500 refugees resettled in San Diego County and more than 1,000 of them were from Haiti.

"I feel like, myself, also I’m an immigrant, I came here 10 years ago seeking asylum ... and after that I promised that I’m going to be using myself to help anyone who maybe needs something like that," Pastor Oxeda said.

Nebienson Martel, Chantal Appollon and their 1-year-old son stood outside Oxeda's church Wednesday and reflected on their three-month journey across 11 countries that led them to Del Rio.

Oxeda translated their thoughts from Creole.

"We left Haiti because of the way the country is going right now -- insecurity," Appollon said.

"When we get to El Paso, to the bridge, the things were very, very difficult. We didn’t have food, we didn't have a drink. My son couldn’t get anything to eat," the couple said.

Oxeda hopes to travel to Del Rio soon to see how he can be of assistance to the migrants there. A pastor from another Haitian church in San Diego has also gone to Texas with an immigration attorney to see how they can help.

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