Haitian priest and local churches come together to help and accommodate migrants

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – As hundreds of migrants continue to arrive in El Paso for treatment, local churches in Borderland are opening their doors to receive them.

Mark Chatterton, a volunteer with the El Paso Baptist Association, said that with the help of volunteers and donations, they were able to receive migrants at a local church.

“We received donations to make it a living environment, it wasn’t always easy, but it was definitely worth carrying that cross,” Chatterton said.

On Monday, the House of the Annunciation told reporters it had received around 1,203 migrants from the camp under a bridge in Del Rio. Executive Director Ruben Garcia said around 798 were from Haiti.

Chatterton said on Tuesday they initially received around 50 migrants at their church, but around 20 stayed there that afternoon. However, he said it is difficult to determine how many may come on any given day.

“We had over 100 at a time so it depends on what is brought to us, we’re going to do whatever we can to make sure we’re showing Christian love,” Chatterton said.

He said they were testing all migrants for COVID-19 and those who tested positive went to a hotel for quarantine. Those in attendance at church are provided with food, clothing, showers, and other items they may need before visiting their sponsors across the United States by typically staying 24 to 48 hours at the church.

“We recognized that there was a need given what was going on at the border, so the El Paso Baptist Association gathered churches and decided on a facility that best suited us, at the same time. size and capacity for the volunteer load, ”Chatterton said.

Father Wilbert Colas, local priest of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, is from Haiti. He said he had spoken and met with migrants to see how he could help them.

“It’s very important for me to do my best and see what I can do,” said Father Wilbert. “Now that I’m in El Paso, I feel like it’s a blessing, that I’m here to see how I can support them because a lot of them are coming here, they’re sick, they need things. ”

He said they told him they were grateful to be in El Paso and appreciated the treatment they received at Borderland.

“Sometimes not all people who leave or flee the country are bad people, there is always a reason to leave the country,” said Father Wilbert.

He said his home country was experiencing dangerous issues such as gang violence, which he said many families were fleeing from.

“It hurts me a lot because I could have my sisters, my brothers, in the same situation or maybe myself if I was in Haiti at the moment, maybe I would do the same as them. Said Father Wilbert. “Whenever you see someone, not only immigrants from Haiti but from all over the world, receive them because we all belong to the same God. “

For anyone looking to help with donations, the groups encourage the public to contact the Baptist Association of El Paso or the Catholic Diocese of El Paso.

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