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Asylum seeker looking for a new life

A truck outside the Roxbury shelter. (Shiara Naveen/YJI)

Roxbury, Massachusetts, U.S.A. – The number of asylum seekers arriving in Massachusetts has been skyrocketing, especially since Massachusetts is one of the few states in America that guarantees a right to shelter.

Boston Logan Airport was sheltering many of them, but eventually reached a capacity, relocating them to the Melnea A. Cass Recreational Complex in Roxbury, a neighborhood within the city of Boston.

The faint aroma of coffee enveloped the air as people bustled in and out of the building. 

Greetings were exchanged, hugs were freely given, and kisses were shared between the migrants and their relatives and friends when a reporter visited.

One of the migrants, Peter, originally from Haiti, was staying at the shelter but planned to meet up with his friend who lives in the Boston area. He spoke briefly with Youth Journalism International while staying in Roxbury.

“I am going to see if he has a life here because I just got here and I don’t know how things will work out,” said Peter, who wasn’t willing to give his full name.

The U.S. has complex rules about who can seek asylum here and how to do it.

Peter – who left Haiti six years ago – had been living in Mexico before he came to the U.S.

Peter sought refuge due to political turmoil at home.

“I left Haiti because my country had a lot of political problems and there were many policies that were installed, so my friend thought it was necessary for me to come here,” he said.

Peter also mentioned his struggle of leaving behind his family, emphasizing how difficult it was for him to leave them.

“Back in Haiti, I have two children, and one is eight years old and the other is 12 years old,” he said. “There is still a long way to go, but I came here to look for jobs and more opportunities, and to make the most of my situation.”

Shiara Naveen is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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