Dominican Republic swiftly deporting Haitian illegals

Anissa Ford's picture

Thousands of Haitians illegally living in the Dominican Republic have been deported in recent weeks. The Dominican Republic says the cholera outbreak has prompted the oust.

Exactly one year after the January 12, 2010 Haitian earthquake, Dominican officials have upped deportation efforts with the most intensity the country has seen in years.

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. Some Haitians reported being ousted by Dominican officials only to sneak back in at the border with help from friends who work for border patrol.

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.

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.

Haitians living in Dominican have told media that they live in fear of being discriminated against and being deported.

The United Nations estimates that more than 1 million Haitians are living illegally in the Dominican Republic. Before the earthquake, it is estimated that 600,000 Haitians illegally occupied the Dominican.

300 Dominicans have been treated for cholera and one death has been reported. Although the CDC is not certain that deportation of Haitians will contain the cholera outbreak, the CDC did praise Dominican Health officials for reporting quickly the cholera incidents on the island.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti share east and western borders.

The US has also stepped up its deportation of Haitian illegals after last year's earthquake. Attorneys and groups opposed to the deportations say both governments return of Haitians back to Haiti increases the person's risk for cholera exposure.

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