Surge of Haitian refugees at San Ysidro Border Crossing

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — Most San Diegans are unaware of what’s going on at the border these days.

But local immigration rights activists are calling it a humanitarian crisis.

A recent surge in Haitians are appearing at the San Ysidro Crossing, seeking asylum in the United States.

With all of Donald Trump’s polarizing rhetoric on Mexico and the border wall, it’s easy to forget or overlook that the makeup of immigrants trying to get into the U.S. also includes Central and South Americans, Chinese and Haitians.

Jean Roy is 25 years old and he and his girlfriend are among some 40 Haitians currently living in cramped conditions at the Christ Unified Methodist Ministry Center in Normal Heights.

It’s reported that over 600 Haitian refugees have suddenly appeared at the San Ysidro Border Crossing in recent weeks. They’re not coming from Haiti, but from Brazil, which took in large numbers of Haitians after Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010.

But Brazil is in the midst of a deep recession.

Much like what happened two years go here with the unprecedented surge in Central American refugees, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement processes the Haitians, gives them a court date and then releases them.

And while the Haitians braved danger and unfriendly governments during their two month, 10 country journey to reach America, local attorney, Jan Ronis, has some sobering news for them.

" … people were escaping for many reasons including poverty, but the fact is they’re deportable and they were deported shortly thereafter," Ronis said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for a local immigration rights organization said as many as 1,000 Haitians are in Mexico right now, making their way to the border.

Categories: Local San Diego News