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Haitian migrant describes months-long journey to border near Yuma

Haitian migrant Jugens Nelus waits to make contact with U.S. Border Patrol agents at the border fence near Morelos Dam near Yuma on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021.
Victor Calderón
Haitian migrant Jugens Nelus waits to make contact with U.S. Border Patrol agents at the border fence near Morelos Dam near Yuma on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021.

A small group of migrants from Haiti arrived Sunday morning at the U.S.-Mexico border near Yuma. KAWC’s Victor Calderón met up with them while they waited to make contact with U.S. Border Patrol agents.

The group of 11 Haitian migrants arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border early Sunday after a months-long journey through South and Central America.

The group- 10 adults, three of them pregnant women, and a young girl- arrived at the opening in the border fence near the Morelos Dam. There were no Border Patrol agents present when they arrived, but an agent had transported an earlier group of migrants for processing from that location earlier in the morning.

27-year-old Jugens Nelus said he has been traveling four months and is hoping to reunite with a relative in Florida.

“We simply want to make a living for ourselves,” Nelus told KAWC in Spanish.

Nelus said he fled violence and poverty and that his group was attacked in a jungle on the long journey.

"They took our belongings, they took our money, they hit us, they violated some women," he said. "I was able to protect (my girlfriend)."

The group is the latest in an influx of migrants at the Yuma Sector of the border in recent days. Border Patrol officials have said they are encountering more migrants from Haiti, Cuba and Brazil, among other non-Mexican countries.

Nelus said the only assistance they received on the trip was when some people in Honduras gave them food. On Sunday, Nelus' group was welcomed with food, water and clothes by two volunteers with a non-profit organization from Southern California.

Nelus said he was keeping in good spirits despite all he's been through and the unknown of what his future will bring.

"I want to see how I can help my Mrs.," he said. "I have to work to make a living for us and to support the baby on the way."

Victor is originally from West Sacramento, California and has lived in Arizona for more than five years. He began his print journalism career in 2004 following his graduation from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Victor has been a reporter for the following daily newspapers: The Monterey County Herald, The Salinas Californian and the Reno Gazette-Journal, where he covered stories including agriculture, education and Latino community news. Victor has also served as a local editor for Patch, a national news organization with hyperlocal websites, in Carmichael, California in the Sacramento area. He also served as the editor for The New Vision, the newspaper for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson, which includes Yuma and La Paz counties. Victor lives in Somerton. He enjoys spending time with his family and friends and following most sports.
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