The Dominican Republic Cannot Afford Mass Expulsion Of Haitians

Viva

Human rights organizations were immediately prompted to issue warnings when an alleged mass deportation of Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic made news. Fears of such a purge was soon equated to an “ethnic cleansing” as international observers prepared for the worst.

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As previously reported, the deadline for procuring the documents necessary to prove citizenship if you were born in the Dominican Republic lapsed back in February for the undocumented, while Wednesday (June 17) was the deadline for migrants to “regularize” their statuses. Yet no such expulsion has occurred since those deadlines, at least not in the public eye.

According to The New York Times, Cy Winter, the chief of the International Organization for Migration mission in the Dominican Republic, cautioned the government cannot afford a mass expulsion of Haitian immigrants, especially when the majority of them work anywhere from the sugar cane plantations to the construction industry.

“In the end, money talks, and there is a lot of money involved,” said Winter. “This is a supply and demand issue, and there is simply no way to remove those who are essential to the Dominican economy.”

Winter also noted that his organization had been training the Dominican authorities to prevent arbitrary deportation. “Police officers, soldiers and others involved in deportations should know to look for a half-page document that indicates that an individual has been registered and therefore has a 45-day grace period to submit all of the necessary documents to stay in the country.”

Will deportations occur in coming months? Winter claims they’re pretty likely as the government targets Haitians who serve the least essential roles in the economy.

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