Sunday, September 21, 2008

Backlash Against Haitians Continues In Dominican Republic

Port-au-Prince.- As the hemisphere's poorest nation and one grappling with political unrest so severe that UN peacekeepers have been deployed, Haiti has sent workers to the Dominican Republic for decades.

The migrant flow initially headed for the sugar cane fields but now is also drawn to the island's construction boom and vibrant tourism industry.

No accurate count exists, but non-governmental organizations estimate there are about 500,000 Haitian migrants in the country, more than 5 percent of the population. With growth has come a backlash.

The Dominican Constitution says anyone born in this country is a citizen except those whose parents are "in transit," or in the country temporarily. Under a new strict interpretation, Dominican officials call anyone without a legal ID card "in transit." Observers say that interpretation would include Haitian migrants living in the country illegally for decades.

Source: Dominican Today

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