LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Haitian couple carrying their 10-month old baby thousands of miles across Central and South America survived the desperate conditions at the U.S. border in Texas and now hopes to call Louisville home.
Watnive Supervil and his wife, Dercia Francois say they arrived in Louisville September 24.
"He was scared because there was a lot of dead people on the way, but he thanks God because he made it here," Supervil said through a translator. "He said they came here because they wanted a better life for them and their kid."
It was a harrowing journey that started in Chile. The couple left Haiti years prior as the country was torn apart from political and economic distress.
During the journey, Supervil struggled with sickness as the caravan of migrants moved toward the U.S.
"At the time they had two backpacks of clothes and he was holding the baby and after they climbed the mountain his whole body was swollen and they were lying there for a couple hours until a group of people came to help him," Supervil's translator said.
The couple and child ended up among the 14,000 people living in tents, tarps and sheets at Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Mexico to Texas.
"They were like under the bridge for a week and the living conditions were not good because they were on the ground," the translator explained. "When it was really hot and windy, the dirt would always get on the baby, so they had to put the baby under their clothes so the baby wouldn't get sick."
Thousands of migrants have been sent back to their former homes after reaching the U.S. border while seeking asylum in America. The Department of Homeland Security is denying entry and mass deportation has been underway since September.
"Us Haitians didn't do anything, we're just fleeing the country because we all want a better life," Francois said. "We just want equality for everyone."
Francois' brother and children were among thousands the U.S. sent back to Haiti but her husband, Supervil had a Haitian sister in Louisville who been granted refugee status in 1992.
Supervil said the couple was eventually released from jail to go through the immigration asylum process while in the U.S.
He called his sister. Guerda Tisoit who rushed to make arrangements to see him for the first time in 15 years.
"I found my credit card, I got a bunch of them, I know my husband going to get mad at me cause I got all those credit cards," Tisoit said. "I have no money and finally one of them worked and I called American Airlines the same night."
Supervil's experience places a personal account on the U.S. catch and release program at the center of much debate. Some politicians say it's creating a crisis at the border and encourages migrants to come to the country illegally.
"President Biden is actually empowering illegal aliens to come into this country," Republican Texas Congressman Randy Weber said in an interview last month.
While the country continues to figure out a balance between policy and humanity Supervil's family is trying to enjoy the time they have together in Louisville, unsure how long it will last.
"In Haiti, (I) have nothing, no home, no food, no water, nothing," Supervil said.
Horeb Haitian Seventh Day Adventist Church in Louisville is helping this family with donations of food, clothing and baby items. To donate, click here or call (502) 295-5149.
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