Hurricane Matthew has left unimaginable devastation behind in Haiti, with every single building in some cities suffering damage. The death toll is quickly approaching 1,000 people, with the worst yet to come as a deadly cholera outbreak threatens to worsen the lives of the more than 10 million residents of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Before the harsh winds had even stopped battering the impoverished Caribbean nation, migrants were using the hurricane as cover to enter the Dominican Republic, with the influx escalating to unparalleled proportions over the past few days.
|Soon to be the majority in the Dominican Republic. El Nacional|
The digital portal Diario Cristal is reporting that only 1 in 4 individuals trying to illegally enter Dominican territory is successfully apprehended, with 1,000 entering daily.
There are already over 1 million undocumented immigrants residing in the Dominican Republic, and the prospect of 400,000 entering over the next two years promises to further strain already tense tensions between the two peoples.
According to reports, the task of apprehending Haitian nationals trying to enter Dominican soil illegally is compounded by the fact that many migrants carry documents belonging to other individuals, documents which were handed out freely after 2014 to anyone who could prove birth on Dominican soil, even if their parents were undocumented.
Ramona Rodríguez Quezada, governor of a Dominican border region, told El Nacional that the speed of new arrivals had far outpaced the ability of the government to process them.
Ms. Rodríguez decried central government inaction in apprehending those entering illegally, claiming that new arrivals felt almost certain that they would not be deported, owing to the government's "Regularization Plan" which made it easy for almost anyone to acquire a residence permit.
Border agents don't have the equipment to verify the authenticity of the documents carried by those trying to enter, being forced to allow them entry.
Dominican border agents are underpaid, understaffed, and under-equipped; the central government's unwillingness to provide them with the ability and the mandate to prevent the illegal entry of 1,000 individuals per day will lead to the death of the Republic as we know it, with the prospect that it'll be a violent death being very high.