Immigration and border policies are complex issues that have been impacting Arizona for decades.
Governor Doug Ducey is now calling a flood of Haitian migrants part of an ongoing catastrophe at the border. This comes as thousands of people are trying to come into the United States along the Texas border.
The Department of Homeland Security is now launching an investigation into images showing border patrol agents, on horses, confronting migrants. The union representing border patrol agents is defending the images saying what the agents did was part of their training.
Pastor Jean Coffy says it’s gotten to a point where people have gone from living in Haiti, to simply trying to survive there. “Making it to the U.S. is making it to the promised land,” he told ABC15.
Coffy came to the states 30 years ago. He says things in Haiti have only gotten worse since then. “Any people there have nowhere to sleep. Nothing to eat,” he added.
He says people there are being robbed at gunpoint almost daily. "It could cause someone’s life any time.”
Coffy’s 91-year-old mother came to the U.S. years ago but decided to go back to Haiti.
“I told her, based on what’s going on, even if you were to die, I would not go,” he said, adding this reality is causing him a lot of heartache.
He says it must be this way because going back would be a death sentence. “Kidnapping in Haiti, no one has control.”
Coffy tells ABC15 he has a cousin who fled Haiti and is now in México. “Just to put foot here in U.S. soil, there’s hope. But back home in Haiti, there’s no hope,” said Coffy.
He says, like most, his cousin’s goal is not to live in the U.S. but to simply to be safe. To get a job. To have food to eat.
“Some people, they don’t care, because they are so desperate. They say okay... if I make it, I make it. If I don’t, I don’t. Because there is no life for me here. They don’t care to die,” he told ABC15.
Here’s his message to the U.S. government. “They need to give people a chance and they need to be compassionate and be fair. These people just need to survive,” said Coffy.
As for those stuck in Haiti, he tells them it’s best to stay there and wait for help to come their way. “They need to think twice because most the time it costs their life,” he added.
Though he is hopeful safety will come for those who seek it. “There will be a way out if and only if they could be patient, and work hard, and have a dream,” Coffy told ABC15.