A Year After Being Chased By Border Patrol, Haitian Migrants Are Still Traumatized

6 days ago

Samuel remembers the scorching heat against his skin and the cries of his two young children, who were tired, hungry and sick.

They were in Del Rio, Texas, after a grueling two-month journey from Chile that took them through several countries, including Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.

At the southern U.S. border, Samuel remembers seeing people passed out on the ground as well as pregnant women and babies who had made similar journeys and were stuck in the same precarious situation as he and his family.

His children, who were 8 and 1 at the time, were vomiting and had diarrhea. He thought they would die of hunger if he couldn’t find food quickly.

“In my culture, as a man you’re not supposed to cry. You’re supposed to be the strong one. My children were crying. My wife was crying. I didn’t know what to do,” Samuel told HuffPost via an interpreter.

Samuel, who is being referred to by a pseudonym due to his work in Haitian politics and because he is seeking asylum in the U.S., decided to take his son to a river, where he had heard that local organizations were passing out food. On his way there, he suddenly saw scores of people running in his direction, being chased by Americans.

His son began screaming and tried to run away. In his panic, the young boy fell and injured his eye before Samuel could scoop him up. It has been a year, and Samuel said his son still hasn’t been able to recover, physically and emotionally, from the incident.

In September 2021, U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback chased tens of thousands of Haitian migrants and asylum seekers as they crossed the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, into Del Rio. Photos and videos of the incident went viral, particularly one photo showing a Border Patrol officer on horseback

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