Dominican Republic Swiftly Deporting Haitian Illegal Immigrants

Thousands of Haitians illegally living in the Dominican Republic have been deported in recent weeks due to the cholera scare, sowing fear among Haitians living in the country and prompting accusations its government is using a cholera outbreak as a pretext for a crackdown. Dominican officials have upped deportation efforts with the most intensity the country has seen in years. See excerpts with a link to two related articles below:

After last year’s Haitian earthquake, Dominican officials softened their border patrol and documentation stops. They cited humanitarian reasons for the halt of tough immigration regulations. The mass removal of Haitians from the Dominican Republic raises old wounds among Haitians who have long fled to the Dominican Republic only to find a home that does not welcome them.

The removal of Haitians from the Dominican is the largest illegal immigration campaign the island has conducted since 2005. Dominican immigration agents have set up checkpoints and have conducted neighborhood sweeps. Haitians without proper documentation are detained and deported. [. . .] Dominican Immigration officials have detained and deported more than 3,000 people in three weeks, including legal residents who didn’t have their papers when they were stopped by authorities. [Many] live in fear of being discriminated against and being deported. Haiti’s cholera epidemic, which has killed at least 4,000 and made some 200,000 Haitians ill, is being cited by the Dominican government as the primary reason for the increase in deportation efforts.

[. . .] “They grab them from the streets,” said Gustavo Toribio of Border Solidarity, an organization that provides assistance to migrant workers. “They don’t care if they have children, if they have property. They only ask them for their documents.” [Meanwhile] Dominican Immigration Chief Sigfrido Pared defended the deportations, saying his country cannot be an escape valve for Haitians fleeing extreme poverty and political instability.

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