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Concerned about influx of Haitian asylum seekers, social services groups seek resources

North Miami, FL — After completing an arduous, 5,000-mile trek from Brazil to the U.S. and being among those first released to family members, one asylum seeker found himself fretting at the offices of Sant La – the Haitian Neighborhood Center on a recent Tuesday afternoon. In the young man’s mind, he had made a mistake that could potentially make his journey be for nothing. He had missed a court date. 

“That doesn’t make me feel good,” said the asylum seeker, a soft-spoken 20-year-old, in Creole while sitting in the Sant La office speaking with The Haitian Times. “If I spoke English, this mistake wouldn’t have happened.”

The asylum seeker, who preferred not to give his name, was referring to all his immigration documents being in English. At 20 years of age, the asylum seeker still carries himself more like an adolescent, smiling and laughing nervously at times. After leaving Brazil six months ago on his own, the formal legal stages of the asylum process proved to be beyond the youngster’s capabilities. And he’s not the only one feeling overwhelmed with the legal proceedings ahead.

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