To deport or not to deport
While Haiti has accused the DR of forced deportations, the International Organization for Migration acknowledged there have not yet been deportations from the Dominican Republic as the country advances in its plan to document persons living in the country. Meanwhile, conservatives of the FNP political party say they will begin legal actions to force the government to start the deportations.
On July 14, 2015, the International Organization for Migration released a statement regarding the situation on the Haiti-Dominican Republic border. The IOM interviewed some 1,133 individuals who had crossed the border between June 16 and July 3, finding that “408 persons (or 36%) said that they had been deported by different entities, including the military, police, immigration officials and civilians.” These findings directly contradicted statements from the Dominican Republic and U.S. officials that no deportations had occurred.
However, on 16 July, this press release was reportedly pulled from the IOM website. On 21 July, the IOM issued a new press release making no reference of deportations.
US Special Coordinator for Haiti Thomas Adams, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 15 July 2015, stated, “They [the Dominican government]ohas assured us that there will be no mass deportations and none have begun yet.” He added: “There were reports from sources that forced deportations had begun, but when these cases were investigated, it was determined that these individuals were not considered to be forced deportees.” As a result, a day later, the IOM press release had been pulled from the website.
The deportations have not begun due to delays in the delivering of residence permits to around 239,000 foreigners that qualified to legalize their status under the National Foreigner Legalization Plan (PNRE). Decree 327-13 that created the PNRE bans involuntary repatriations while the plan is implemented which includes the delivery of identity cards to PNRE beneficiaries.
The Plan established that after the expiration of the application period on 17 June 2015, the government would have 45 days to issue the cards. But this term expired on 2 August and most of those who registered had not yet received their cards as the agency has been overwhelmed by the challenging logistics of the effort. Likewise, many Haitians have not yet picked up their cards, citing that they need more time to complete their paperwork given that many of the identity cards are only temporary permits. Many of these Haitians do not want to run the risk of not having their paperwork in order to complete the registration process.
It is known that the most undocumented foreigners are concentrated in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Higuey, San Cristobal, La Romana, San Pedro de Macoris and Valverde. In Santo Domingo some 800-1,000 permits are being delivered daily while in Santiago 600-900 cards are issued each working day, according to deputy Minister of Interior and Police Washington Gonzalez.
Conservative deputy Vinicio Castillo Seman says that the delay in the start of the deportations is because the government has a secret agreement with the Organization of American States and the international community to not deport Haitians, which he claims is a surrender to international pressure.
Castillo Seman claimed there is no possibility of deporting someone who has duly registered in the program because the facilities to process foreigners have fingerprint readers. “No person that has registered is at risk of being deported because their fingerprints have been recorded,” said the leader of the Fuerza Nacional Progresista (FNP) political party. He said his party would begin legal measures to obligate the government to implement the law. “The deportations are a legal obligation of the government. This is not a situation that depends on the will or lack thereof of President Danilo Medina, it is a constitutional obligation,” stated Castillo Seman.
Meanwhile, Gladys Feliz Pimentel of the civic movement Sons of Duarte said: “We are being totally invaded. The government seems to be directed by the Haitian neighbors. Those who are undocumented must leave. If they are legal they can stay n no problem. But we cannot sustain a million and a half Haitians in the country n we do not know their names or where they live,” she commented.
Source: DR1, DiarioLibre
August 10, 2015
Category: DR News |