Haitian Illegal Aliens Facing Deportation in Two Countries

By Kausha Luna on July 14, 2017

On Tuesday, the mayor of Santiago in the Dominican Republic, Abel Martínez Durán, confirmed that he is seeking to approve a resolution that declares illegal aliens in his municipality as "persona non grata".

Mayor Martínez said that foreigners, mostly Haitians, are taking over neighborhoods in Santiago. As a result, hospitals are investing much of their budgets in attending these Haitians and neglecting to assist Dominicans who pay taxes. Additionally, the Dominican mayor expressed discontent with the "uncontrolled" immigration of Venezuelan illegal aliens who have moved to various parts of the Dominican Republic, including Santiago.

Martínez also recalled that the mayoralty does not permit illegal aliens to trade in public spaces in the city. He added that these same illegal aliens are responsible for the rise of slums in the city of Santiago, which is considered one of the most important urban hubs in the country. Moreover, the mayor asked the General Directorate of Migration (the Dominican immigration agency) to proceed immediately to apprehend and repatriate illegal aliens living in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic has been dealing with Haitian illegal immigration for many years. Many of its policy responses, like "Operation Shield" and constitutional changes to end birthright citizenship, have received severe criticism.

Most recently, the United States government received its own wave of criticisms given its decision to extend Haiti's Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for only six months, rather than the typical 18 months. There are approximately 46,000 current Haiti TPS beneficiaries who are expected to file for re-registration under the extension. Last month, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said that Haitians on TPS need to start thinking about returning. On Wednesday, while meeting with members of the Hispanic caucus, Secretary Kelly reiterated this sentiment as he commented that the conditions for which TPS was granted have largely been resolved.