Top Story — A deadline to register with the government expires today for migrant workers in the Dominican Republic — the vast majority of whom are Haitians — leaving hundreds of thousands at risk of deportation.
There are an estimated 524,000 migrant workers in the country, but according to the government less than half have begun the registration process. Many migrant advocates were hoping for an extension of today’s deadline, but the head of the Dominican Republic’s immigration agency has said the country will move forward with deportations beginning on Thursday.
The threat of deportation is also likely to affect many Dominicans of Haitian descent, who have no way to prove that they were born in the Dominican Republic.
Today’s deadline is the latest chapter in a historically poor relationship between the Dominican Republic and Haitian workers, who have been crossing the border between the two countries to find work for generations. In 1937, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo infamously ordered the killing of tens of thousands of Haitian migrant workers in the country.
Tensions escalated in recent years when, in 2013, the Dominican Republic passed a law that effectively stripped the citizenship of tens of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, leaving them stateless. After the decision prompted international criticism, the country passed a law allowing those born to undocumented parents to receive residency permits, though they are required to register as foreigners.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
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- U.S. real estate mogul and recently-announced presidential candidate Donald Trump provoked outrage and ridicule on Tuesday when he said Mexico was sending “rapists” across its border with the United States, which he said should be reinforced with a wall.
- An array of influential U.S. businesses are among the supporters of the “Engage Cuba” television advertising campaign, which seeks to ease restrictions on trade with the island and held a reception in Washington on Tuesday.
- The attorney general of the Dominican Republic said on Wednesday that the Vatican’s former ambassador to his country should be convicted on charges of child sex abuse, after the ambassador was accused of abusing Dominican boys.
- The dead bodies of five Ghanian nationals were recovered along the border between Colombia and Panama, and while the cause of their deaths remains unclear, Panama’s government said they appear to have been migrants who first arrived by plane in Brazil.
- Both the U.S. State Department and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro spoke positively about a recent meeting in Haiti attended by top U.S. and Venezuelan officials aimed at restoring relations between the two countries.
- Venezuelan Minister for Women Gladys Requena has spoken out against U.S.-based company Procter & Gamble for selling a range of sanitary towels at unreasonably high prices.
- A crack-down by the Paraguayan government on smuggling goods out of the country, as well as recent economic growth, is putting those who have long made a living as smugglers out of work.
- A tweet posted in “a fit of rage” by Argentine radio journalist Marcela Ojeda over the high rate of femicide in her country has given rise to #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less).