Pastor Dieufort “Kiki” Fleurissaint welcomes migrants into Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI-USA), a community center located in Boston.

Over the summer, as immigration political rhetoric increased in volume, Pastor Dieufort “Kiki” Fleurissaint found himself welcoming to Boston groups of Haitian families and sole travelers to the sanctuary city. Months later, he is still trying to find homes for dozens of them and some others who went to local hospitals for sanctuary. 

“When the families go to Children's Hospital to seek medical care for their children, they also bring their luggage with them,” Fleurissaint said.

Haitians commonly choose to go to Boston because of a provision called “Haitian Entrants” that provides access to food stamps, cash assistance and health insurance. 

Overview:

As Haitians arrive in the US, they face challenges new and old to immigrants. With the increase, service organizations are often overwhelmed trying to help the new arrivals secure work permits, find housing and assist with asylum legal battles. All in an environment that’s becoming more overtly unfriendly to Haitians, as shown by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ migrant “hunting.”

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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.