By Ty Russell

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Another effect of so many job losses is that many people in South Florida no longer have money to send to their families in other countries.

Ernst Virgil moved to South Florida from Haiti eight years ago to live the American dream. He and his wife even bought a house in Sunrise a little less than two years ago. Like many, the last several weeks have not been that dream.

“We have five in the family without a job. My wife lost her job. I lost my job,” Virgil said. “It looks like everything fell apart.”

He and his wife worked as cashiers at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

Virgil thankfully received unemployment benefits from the state Tuesday morning. Nothing from the feds.

But the little money is still tough to help his family here and anyone back in his native country still struggling and trying to recover from natural disasters.

“I never filed for unemployment before but I was surprised it was only $275 a week,” Virgil said.

Virgil is thankful for people who have recently launched the Haitian Campaign for Reemployment Assistance. It’s meant to help the immigrant community with people who often take the low level hotel and airport jobs apply for unemployment.

Another group that’s helping Haitian and Latin communities has sent a letter to President Trump encouraging him to press the pause button on deportations.

“We cannot knowingly put them through what we are experiencing here in the US. We cannot. It’ll be criminal,” said Bastien, the executive director of the Family Action Network Movement.

She says a group of 68 that was deported to Haiti this month from South Florida had three people who tested positive for COVID-19.

“We know that Haiti does not have the capacity and it lacks the infrastructure to handle a pandemic,” Bastien said.

As advocacy groups help those in South Florida and their families far away, Virgil says he’s keeping his spirits high that he and his native country will make it through this tough time.

“I’m a positive person. I hope everything will get back to normal,” Virgil said.

This weekend, volunteers be helping Haitians virtually apply for unemployment. They’re still seeking more people who speak creole to help out. To help out, visit THELARManagementGroup.com or call (786) 565-8515.

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Ty Russell

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