Buses full of Haitian migrants from Del Rio expected to arrive at Houston center

Thursday, September 23, 2021
Haitian migrants from Del Rio expected to arrive to center in Houston
Inside look: Migrant families are being processed in the Houston Family Transfer Center after being transported from the border town of Del Rio.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Family Transfer Center in north Houston anticipates more busloads of migrants from the border town of Del Rio to arrive in the city daily until further notice.

Volunteers from a coalition of churches and Houston-area nonprofits are providing food, a resting area, showers and clothing to help Haitian families who are being transported to the temporary center.

Zulma Aristeo with NACC Disaster Services said most families are not staying in the city overnight and are processed within hours of arriving. They will then be taken to a bus station or to the airport to get to their final destination.

According to the Family Transfer Center's website, migrants "will only spend 24 hours [at the center] before making travel arrangements to unite with family and sponsors."

SEE ALSO: Buses bring Haitian migrants to Houston: 'We are different than other parts of the US'

"We're getting at least 200 families a day," Aristeo said. "Most of them are going towards Miami or New York."

Founder and executive director of Judith Loving Arms, Judith Stevenson, volunteered at the center on Thursday.

Stevenson said she understands what the families are going through.

She said she's originally from Haiti and was once a refugee. She said she often returns to Haiti to help with disaster response.

"I know right now Haiti has a bad situation going on," Stevenson said. "Insecurity. It's like a hell right now, and I understand why they wanted to flee their country."

Stevenson speaks Creole and helped translate the story of Marcklin Meme, his wife Johanne Blam and their 2-year-old daughter.

SEE ALSO: ABC13 Exclusive: Migrants in Del Rio shuffle onto evacuating US aircraft

In exclusive video, several of the Haitian migrants who had sought temporary refuge at the Del Rio border bridge were captured on camera being shuffled onto U.S. aircraft.

Meme said he and his family traveled from Haiti to Brazil where they stayed for a while before making the trek across the Texas-Mexico border. Meme was hopeful to be reunited with other family members by late Thursday evening.

"I think that people that haven't been an immigrant or a refugee, it would be hard for them to understand why they are here and what they are looking for," Stevenson said. "I would tell people to tolerate, love and support."

The National Association of Christian Churches (NACC) Disaster Services and Houston Haitians United is in need of volunteers including those who speak Creole. They're also seeking donations to continue to provide resources to the migrant families transported from Del Rio.

For more on refugees in the Houston area, follow Roxie Bustamante on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram