The Jesuit group Servicio Jesuita a Refugiados/as y Migrantes-SJRM rejects the recent mass repatriations carried out in various parts of the Dominican Republic by the General Direction of Migration [Dirección General de Migración] on the grounds of preventing cholera. They point out that these actions are not effective to prevent the epidemic, but rather they undermine the rule of law, they give way to violations of migrants’ human rights of, promote racism, and generated economic losses.
The Jesuit group reminds immigration authorities that raids and other violations of rights to personal freedom are prohibited by the Dominican Republic’ code of criminal procedure and the Constitution. It also points out that the Migration Act does not grant the Migration Office the power to inspect the national public transportation vehicles or to force drivers and conductors of these vehicles to serve as migration agents, not allowing foreign persons without the proper migration documentation to get on board. They explain that in these processes of repatriation, the authorities are clearly performing racial profiling to decide who should be held in custody and, in many cases they do not even verify the migration documentation before acting on their suspicions.
The group also points out that the detention center does not guarantee adequate food, nor is there a register of immigrants entering the premises, nor of those who are repatriated. They cite as an example the region of Cibao, where it has been confirmed that immigrant prisoners are repatriated immediately, bypassing a retention center and without having the opportunity to certify whether they are in the process of regularization, as has happened in some cases.
The Jesuits urge immigration authorities to design and implement a clear migration policy, consistent with the reality of migration flows in the country and to integrate the practices and procedures of the responsible institutions. Above all, they exhort the authorities to uphold the basic criteria established to protect human dignity.
See more on SJRM at http://www.sjrdom.org/spip/
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(Unrelated) photo by Richard Perry from http://www.wehaitians.com/a%20global%20trek%20to%20poor%20nations%20from%20poorer%20ones.html