ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County Commissioner, Victoria Siplin, a native of Haiti hopes to help Haitian migrants who have been released by U.S. Border patrol officials after they arrived in the small border town of Del Rio, Texas.
“When I land in San Antonio, Texas I’m going to visit — there’s a ministry that is housing hundreds of migrants,” Siplin said.
The Commissioner said her trip to Texas is also to assist with translations — a trip she said is personally funded with money that members of the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network gathered.
“We have poured in our personal funds. We have called on friends to just support our efforts. I am going to lend my financial support because some of them have to find a way to their final destination via a bus ticket, an airline ticket,” Siplin said. “When you see certain things happening to people and you know you have the ability to assist and you don’t do it, that’s very hard for me, just to sit by knowing that I can assist in some minute way.”
In recent days, images of Haitians crossing the southern U.S. border and being dispersed by U.S. border patrol agents on horseback have caused criticism and outrage.
“The treatment Haitians are receiving is just — it’s disgusting. We just cannot sit around and wait for the Biden administration to do something. This is unacceptable,” Nattacha Wyllie, a Haitian immigrant who has been living in Central Florida since 2006.
Wyllie traveled by car from Orlando to Del Rio to bring donations like water and PediaSure for children.
“I just couldn’t sit and do nothing about it. So, I had to leave and go see for myself to see how I can help; how I can assist them with translations with getting them transportation getting them a bottle of water, a sandwich, anything,” Wyllie said.
Anderson Dovilas, a Haitian business owner in Orlando is leading the efforts to help his people, too.
“We are trying to reach out to some elected officials from Washington D.C.,” Dovilas said. “We are currently working with Global Union 1803, the Haitian chamber of commerce.”
According to Dovilas, he plans on contacting the House Haitian Caucus created in May which representative Val Demings is a part of.
“We need to bring the integrity of the institutions back. So, these are things we are looking for. We are looking for something more long-term,” Doviasl said. “We want to tell them, they have a chance to make history; to change that U.S foreign policy towards Haiti because this is not working; because just like them, they want democracy. They want to have a country.”