Haitians arrive at Immigrant Family Services Institute, non-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts. Illustration by The Haitian Times

While images of Haitians in a Del Rio encampment riveted the world about this time last year, a Haitian man living in Brazil finalized plans to make the same 5,000-mile journey to the U.S. southern border.

“I decided I should still come anyway and not let the chance to go to the U.S pass,” Williams, a Gonaïves native, said. “I did it because I didn’t realize what I was getting into, what was going to happen, but never would do it again,”

Now, Wiliams, who requested to be identified by his last name only out of fear of deportation, is in the Boston area after completing the yearlong voyage. His story — starting with first leaving Haiti in 2013 and living in three different other countries before landing in the U.S. —  in many ways illustrates the same factors that brought 15,000 Haitians to Texas in 2021 and that continue to draw more of them to the US. Namely, Haiti’s failures pushing him out, the need to earn a living, and other countries not offering much better.

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Ashley Miznazi is a Report for America corps member covering the Haitian community in the South Florida/Miami area for The Haitian Times. Her work will heavily feature photography, video and other multimedia storytelling. Previously, Ashley was a multimedia fellow at The Texas Tribune, where she reported on DACA, Afghan resettlement and the foster care system.