Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Haitians in the DR -- trouble brewing again

Haitians "take over Santiago streets"

A former Migration director in Santiago, Sabas Burgos, has warned about the mass migration of Haitians entering Dominican territory illegally at a greater rate since the 12 January earthquake. Burgos told El Nacional that in the past, the authorities used to pretend that they were doing something to curb illegal migration, but now Haitians are entering and leaving freely. He said that the streets, barrios and rural areas of the province are full of undocumented Haitians. "People, even the fruit and vegetable vendors, a local tradition, have been displaced by the Haitians", he complained. He said that in the past six months, Santiago has become another Haiti, with children, teenagers and women begging on street corners, selling merchandise on the streets and accumulating tons of garbage and no one is saying anything.

Santiago Historical Center Traders Association president, Carlos Lora denounced the massive presence of Haitian beggars who harass tourists and affect business in the area.

He complained that despite the fact that Santiago migration authorities are aware of the situation, their response is that deportations were suspended after the earthquake in Haiti.

One migration inspector said that Haitians used to run away if they saw a migration inspector, but now they just scoff at them. An inspector told El Nacional that he has received threats and insults from the Haitians who have been deported in the past and have returned. "One who had been deported three times, threatened to kill me and said that this country was theirs, and all they were doing was recovering it," he said.

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