Immigration is a major issue among Haitian. It is estimated that over 4 million Haitians are currently living outside of Haiti
On May 31, 2015, nearly 500 people assembled and marched from the St. Michel metro station in Montreal to Jarry Park to protest against the possible deportation of thousands of Haitian migrants who were so far protected by a moratorium that prevented their deportation and were allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds. A Circular dated June1, 2015, issued by the Canadian government revoked their current status as 'refugee'. Although, the Canadian government had earlier facilitated an application process to continue with their current status, most could not afford the prescribed application fees of $550. Without any identification document, they are devoid of all basic amenities, health services, education facilities or authorized employment opportunities. The critics of the moratorium lift are of opinion that the government should find proper ways to integrate undocumented migrants into Canadian society.
Major General Rubén Darío Paulino Sem, the new Dominican Director of Immigration has confirmed that from Wednesday, June 18, 2015, there would be forced deportation of hundreds of thousands of Haitians and several Dominicans of Haitian descent, including many children, from the Dominican Republic who are not registered under the National Plan of Regularization of Foreigners (PNRE) before the date that expired on June 17, 2015, at 7:00 pm. They will be subject for repatriation to their countries of origin as per the Dominican constitution and laws governing its migration policy. The process of repatriation will take place between 6:00 am and 5:00 pm from Monday to Saturday, excluding Sundays and public holidays. Primarily the operation will be controlled from the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) with necessary supports from the post at the Joint Operations Center (COC) of the Dominican Ministry of Defence (MIDE).
As per the Dominican government's recent announcement on June 17, 2015, tens of thousands of Haitians and several Dominicans of Haitian descent could be forced to leave the Dominican Republic. As per a controversial court ruling on October 2013, it was held that the children born to undocumented immigrants or who are not born of at least one parent with "Dominican blood" would be retroactively stripped of their citizenship since 1929. The decision left around a quarter of a million people effectively stateless. Haitians are 90% of the Dominican Republic's immigrants and 5.4% of the country's total population of whom only 10% have legal status.
A controversial ruling by the Dominican court, almost 200,000 Dominican-born people of Haitian descent are facing the risk deportation from the Dominican Republic. The new law that came into effect since the May 22, last year, had provided the scope for re-issuance of nationality documents for some Haitian individuals born in the Dominican Republic and gave others the possibility of eventual citizenship. However, a very small number of residents have been able to meet the eligibility criteria. The Haitians are 90% of the Dominican Republic's immigrants and 5.4% of the country's total population of whom only 10% have legal status. Over the last century, countless Haitians have crossed the border and went to the Dominican Republic in search of earning opportunity or to escape political violence. As per Interior Ministry's estimate, there could be about 500,000 prospective applicants for residency of whom about 50,000 people would have a fair chance of granting citizenship. However, as of the deadline on Wednesday, June 17, about 250,000 people have been registered and as per the officials, only about 10,000 have submitted required documents successfully. Many fearful migrants have waited in the queues and have spent as long as four sleepless nights outside the government offices in the capital of Santo Domingo to submit residency applications as the deadline for registration looms. Because, the Minister of the Interior and Police, Monchy Fadul had assured that those who had remained in the queue within the specified area and time will still be attended after the deadline.
Although President Martelly has declared that Haiti has prepared itself "to stand up and welcome the return of its deported brothers from the Dominican Republic with dignity," but there is little evidence of this determination on this side of Haitian border; there is little infrastructure on the ground in Haiti to welcome the 200,000 destitute refugees. After a week of the deadline, two reception centers at Ouanaminthe and Malpasse in Haiti are still under construction to welcome 200,000 compatriots who could not regularize their immigration status.
On Thursday, June 18th, Marie Yolène Gilles, the Programme Manager of the National Network Defenses of Human Rights (RNDDH) has revealed that no structure has yet been built on the Haitian side of Dominican border other than a poster notifying the areas of proposed shelters. The GAAR (Groupe d'Appui aux Rapatriés & Réfugiés) has only traced two trucks, one tractor, two generators and two guards and a placard indicating : Welcome" on the 3 project sites located in Malpasse reserved for the reception of future returnees. Even in Last May, the Haitian government had continued its assurance that there would be two buildings to welcome our compatriot.
A recent report dated April 9, 2015, on The Washington Post reveals that a record 3.8 million foreign-born blacks now live in the United States. The share of the black population, largely from Africa and Caribbean has grown up to 8.7% in 2013 from 3.1% of 1980. Out of that, the share of the Haitian immigrant population was 1.5% in 2014 and the number of the total Haitian immigrant population was computed at 606,000 in 2012.
At the earlier time, the immigrant population was very small, estimated at approximately 5,000 in 1960. The number started rising when they began arriving in large numbers following the collapse of the Duvalier dictatorship in the late 1980s. An estimate hints that by 2060, 16.5% of the U.S population will be foreign born. The tendency to concentrate with such population has been more in cities that already had higher numbers of black populations. In Miami, 34% of its black community was born elsewhere. Such figure is 28% in the case of New York metro. The influx of immigrants has started since 2000. Most of the 40 million U.S blacks have roots in Africa and many of their ancestors were brought in as slaves during the 18th century, and by the end of that century, the number of blacks was nearly 20% of total U.S population. Haitian immigrant population in the U.S, is the 4th largest immigrant group from the Caribbean, following Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. The higher number of Haitian immigrants can also be found in France (77,000), Canada (74,000) and Bahamas (40,000). As per the Center for Immigration Studies, 2008, the top states of Haitian immigrant settlement in the U.S are: Florida (251,963; 46%), New York (135,836; 25%) New Jersey (43,316; 8%), Massachusetts (36,779; 7%), Georgia (13,287; 2%), and Maryland (11,266; 2%). There are 310,000 U.S.-born Americans who have at least one parent born in Haiti.
Gabriel del Río, the President of the CASC (Autonomous Trade Union Confederation Class) has recently declared that the aloofness of the Haitian authority in providing identity documents to the irregular Haitian workers, necessary to enroll themselves in the National Plan for the Regularization of Foreigners (PNRE) in DR, is causing the biggest obstacle. Many Haitians living in the Dominican Republic did not have any document that would enable them to register. Those who went back to Haiti for procuring them, were returned mostly empty handed. Such situation creates opportunities for the counterfeiters and it is no wonder that many Haitians were found in possession of forged identity documents.
Mia Love, was born in Brooklyn to parents who came from Haiti in the mid-1970s. She has defeated Democrat candidate Doug Owens in the recent contest after a hard-fought competition in Utah's 4th Congressional District. She pulled away 50% of the votes, leaving 46% for Owens. Mia Love is not only the first Haitian-American elected to Congress, she is also the first black woman running as a Republican to be elected to Congress and the first Mormon woman in Congress. Mia Love is a Mormon Republican from Utah, she will be the Republican's first black female member of Congress when she visits Washington in the new year. However, despite her historic achievement, the Haitians are in dubious mind to support Mia Love on the ground of her contentious political views and religion. 'Mormonism' has a historic uneasy relationship with traditional Christianity as it differs on their status of God and their beliefs with the traditional branches of Christianity like Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and most branches of Protestantism.
The Dominican authority has made the decision to close all its consulates in Haiti following the incident that took place recently where some people entered one of their consulates in Port-au-Prince and removed their flag. The Dominican government wants that the Haitian government to give them full guarantee that similar incidents will not take place before they open their consulates.
On the other hand, Castillo Seman from Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), wants every single Dominican currently living in Haiti to pack their bags and return to the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) has become very influential in the current government. Their influence on the issue of immigration has strengthened in the administrations of former President Leonel Fernandez and in the current administration of President Danilo Medina.
An estimated 2.5 million Haitians are living outside of the country in other locales such as the U.S., Cuba, Canada, France, Africa, and other countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. The high rate of migration has much to do with the fact that some 80% of the Haitian population lives below the line of poverty and only half of these people are employed. In May 2014, the IOM put forward certain recommendations on the issue of migration towards helping to develop a policy for the phenomenon in the country.
The need for such a policy was outlined by Pier Rossi Longhi, the Immigration and Border Management Specialist for the Americas. He said that without a reform that was comprehensive, the factors that push people to leave the country in droves would continue. When these factors meet with lax border control and migration management, the economy of the country suffers as skilled, learned and able workers leave for better opportunities in other countries. The problem is also not helped because the economic system now in place doesn't know how to effectively harness the power of remittances to grow the economy.
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