Congolese asylum-seekers given taste of home

Local Congolese couple knows plight of asylum-seekers

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter, Misael Gomez - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Congolese asylum seekers at both of the city’s Migrant Resource Centers are being treated to home-cooked meals provided by the local Congolese, including Dr. Patience Miller, an OB-GYN, and her husband, Bosco Miller, an adjunct professor of religion at the University of the Incarnate Word.

As she prepared the food, Patience Miller said she hoped it would give the asylum-seekers “some comfort, just knowing somebody cares that they’re here.”

Her husband said many of the nearly 1,000 other Congolese in San Antonio are helping, as well.

Bosco Miller said he and his wife know the plight in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“I just got back from the Congo and I saw the misery,” he said. “Millions have died over the years.”

“We’re probably the richest country on the planet, and we’re among the poorest," Patience Miller said.

She said the nation’s natural resources leave the country without jobs or opportunities for its citizens and that everything from gold and diamonds to tantalum, a metal found in cellphones and computer tablets, has been the source of long-running, bloody conflicts in Congo and surrounding countries.

Bosco Miller said he was shocked to see so many leaving the country because, he said, “The Congolese are a proud people.”

He is active in the church, including the Congolese Catholic Choir of San Antonio, and said he’s visited many of the asylum-seekers in the city. He said he’s been told they go from the Congo to Angola and then then to Brazil or Cuba and on to Ecuador, where their journey to the border then takes them through Central America and Mexico.

He said he has heard that more asylum-seekers are on their way or waiting in Mexico in large numbers.

“This is the consequence of not having a democratic country in the Congo,” he said.

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