Haitians scramble to avoid deportation from Dominican Republic
stood outside the interior ministry.
“In the morning, I got through the entrance. But the police kicked me out and I couldn’t fight them. I gave a man 500 pesos (US$10) to get me in, but I never saw him again,” said Jodias, a construction worker who has lived in Santo Domingo, the Dominican capital, for the past 10 years.
An estimated 458,000 Haitians live in the Dominican Republic, often laboring in the sugar cane fields or as domestic workers.
They make up nearly 90 percent of the country’s immigrants and 5.4 percent of the total population. Just one in 10 has legal status.
As the deadline approaches, Haitian men, women and children have been lining up outside the interior ministry’s gates day and night, through drizzling rain, morning chill and midday heat of 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).
Similar scenes have played out at registration centers across the country, where the immigrants have until 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to turn in their paperwork.
Haitians line up at night to legalize their status at the Interior Ministry in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Tuesday, June 16.