New Mexico

Dozens of Haitian men held at Otero County Detention Center

Haitian men in New Mexico

Otero County, New Mexico - More than 100 undocumented Haitian men are being held at the Otero County Prison Facility, according to volunteers who worked with the immigrants.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed they are holding the men in partnership with the prison.

The 136 men crossed through California before being detained and sent to different facilities while they await deportation, the volunteers said.

El Paso residents have helped the immigrants overcome a large language barrier; the guards at the prison don't speak French. A few immigrants speak broken Spanish.

Volunteers are looking for extra help. "I don't want people's money. If people want to help in the situation, let's say you're a lawyer, an immigration lawyer, this is the time to serve your country, please help," said Fainot Pierre, one of the Haitian-Americans United volunteers.

Pierre said there are other ways you can help, "Offer counseling, any kind of help to help these people during this difficult time, please reach out and those people need your help; and they need your help right now."

Haitians have been fleeing the country since the 2011 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew earlier this month. The U.S. was allowing Haitians to stay in the country after the earthquake but the provision ended in September.

It appears husbands and wives have been separated, including one couple in their third trimester.

"One particular example, that wife, she's due pretty soon. She has no clue where her husband is being held. I had to share that information with her, I told her 'Don't panic, your husband is alive and well. He's in Otero County Jail.' And she explained to me she hasn't spoke to her husband since they got into California in early September, September 7," Pierre said.

We're told while some husbands and wives have been separated, immigration authorities typically don't separate mothers and their children.

If you would like to help the immigrants you can contact Pierre at fpierre@miners.utep.edu

It helps if you speak French but is not required.


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