A gas station along Veterans Boulevard, Del Rio, Texas, serves several functions. While patrons buy gas, lottery tickets or have their cars serviced, hundreds of Haitians recently released from immigration authorities gather there trying to decipher the next step. 

The migrants arrive after completing asylum paperwork with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection or from the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition. The latter connects migrants with relatives who will send funds for airfare or bus fare to new locations. For many migrants, it’s a long day of trying to get answers, charging their smartphones or exchanging money or information. Eventually, many find their way to a Greyhound bus, which arrives twice daily to pick up whoever has a ticket. 

A greyhound bus arrives in the morning at the gas station to pick up anyone with a ticket, which costs $35 per person. Photo by Leonardo March
Outdoor electrical outlets allow migrants to charge their smartphones to contact relatives. Photo by Leonardo March
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents drop off migrants at a local gas station, after their asylum application is initiated and they are cleared to travel to relatives in other locations. Photo by Leonardo March
Valerie Rodriguez, left, from Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition, explains the challenges on Sep. 21 to the asylum seekers: No hotel rooms available in the area and no more buses for the day. Photo by Leonardo March
Volunteers discuss how to help migrants avoid spending the night at the gas station, because of the lack of accommodation or transportation. Photo by Leonardo March
Many wait hours without knowing when they will find their way to relatives’ homes in the U.S. Photo by Leonardo March
A couple enjoys a moment of warmth at the end of the day outside the gas station in Del Rio, Texas, on Sep. 21, 2021. Photo by Leonardo March
Volunteers find transportation for some migrants at the station on Sep. 21, 2021, in Del Rio, Texas. Families with children and pregnant women and their partners are given priority to board. Photo by Leonardo March
A man who made it into one of the vans driving to San Antonio looks at his smartphone before leaving. Photo by Leonardo March

Leonardo March

Leonardo March is Brooklyn-based visual journalist from Puerto Rico. In a previous life Leonardo was a photographer and graphic designer, skills he’s refocusing to cover the Haitian Diaspora in the US. Leonardo can be reached at Leonardo@haitiantimes.com

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