North Miami, FL — After completing an arduous, 5,000-mile trek from Brazil to the U.S. and being among those first released to family members, one asylum seeker found himself fretting at the offices of Sant La - the Haitian Neighborhood Center on a recent Tuesday afternoon. In the young man’s mind, he had made a mistake that could potentially make his journey be for nothing. He had missed a court date.
“That doesn’t make me feel good,” said the asylum seeker, a soft-spoken 20-year-old, in Creole while sitting in the Sant La office speaking with The Haitian Times. “If I spoke English, this mistake wouldn’t have happened.”
The asylum seeker, who preferred not to give his name, was referring to all his immigration documents being in English. At 20 years of age, the asylum seeker still carries himself more like an adolescent, smiling and laughing nervously at times. After leaving Brazil six months ago on his own, the formal legal stages of the asylum process proved to be beyond the youngster’s capabilities. And he’s not the only one feeling overwhelmed with the legal proceedings ahead.
When you join The Haitian Times family, you’ll get unlimited digital access to high-quality journalism about Haiti and Haitians you won’t get anywhere else. We’ve been at this for 20 years and pride ourselves on representing you, our diaspora experience and a holistic view of Haiti that larger media doesn’t show you.
Join now or renew to get:
— Instant access to one-of-kind stories and special reports
— Local news from our communities (especially New York and Florida)
— Profiles of Haitians at the top of their fields
— Downloadable lists and resources about Haitian culture
— Membership merch, perks and special invitations
First-time subscribers also receive a special welcome gift handmade in Haiti by expert artisans! Do it for the culture and support Black-owned businesses.
If you’re seeing this message but you’re already a subscriber, you can log in for immediate access to this story.