Mexico is a beacon of hope for the nearly 300 Haitian immigrants who remained at the US border after the country’s government refused to take them in.
“The truth is that we want to thank the Mexican government for everything they have done,” said Elfred Alcide, 26, who, like other Haitians, wants to take advantage of the opportunity to stay in Mexico.
The dream of arriving in the United States is over, but now they are energized and even smiling as they clean and organize their things at the shelter provided by the government of Ciudad Acuña (Coahuila, North) where they will spend the next few days as they resolve their immigration status.
The spectacle is the finale of a week that caught the world’s attention on the international bridge linking Ciudad Acuña with Del Rio, in the United States, where some 15,000 Haitians reside on both sides of the border with Mexico desperately seeking asylum in it. North country.
Repression and subsequent mass deportations led hundreds of them to take refuge on the Mexican side, in a park on the banks of the Rio Grande, where they were exposed to sweltering heat of the day, cold nights, and other hardships.
“Most of us were really sick because of the conditions we were in there,” says Alcide, who has leadership skills within the group. He was one of the strictest when he asked Mexican authorities to provide guarantees when they offered to move them, a day after telling them they had to return to Tapachula, on Mexico’s southern border.
“[Sentí] So scared (…) the authorities had a different word for it,” he recalls. “We didn’t want to believe any of them, so we doubted it very much.”
The crisis came to a head on Friday when Haitians on both sides of the border withdrew.
Following the result, Mexican authorities reopened the pass across the international bridge between Acuña and Del Rio on Saturday afternoon.
Tapachula, 2,500 kilometers south of Ciudad Acuña, has been described by Haitians as “hell,” saturated with tens of thousands of Central Americans and their compatriots, who are barely surviving amid a lack of work and stagnant immigration procedures.
Once inside the Ciudad Acuña sanctuary, many Haitians are seen sweeping and pouring water into the complex’s large courtyard, to mend the dusty environment.
On the sides of the patio, many gather around tables where they can grab donated clothes, canned food, and cleaning products such as deodorant or shampoo. Many children are running and playing.
There is a line for the Medicare area, where at least a number of specialists offer consultations and provide various items, from pain relievers and other essential medications, to condoms or toothbrushes.
The core issue of Caribbean residents continues to organize their stay in Mexico, a process that could begin yesterday or Monday with the arrival of staff from immigration and the Mexican Commission to assist refugees.