My Cousin, the Fake Refugee

On the return ferry from the Greek island of Kos, they checked my bookbag. I was pissed off, I felt I had been profiled, and I most likely was, but the truth is that on the day I took a ferry back to the Turkish resort area of Bodrum, a large group of Dominicans had coincidentally landed in Greece. 

Maria* is the daughter of one of my father's cousins, and I believe we're so distantly related that it would be legal and perhaps acceptable for us to get married. I previously met her in the United States, where we had lunch at my family's restaurant in Brooklyn. 

Maria was deported from the United States to the Dominican Republic for trafficking narcotics across state lines, but she is not a violent criminal and in the decade since her deportation, even managed to build a legal business on the island that was doing well. But the ambition for more meant she wasn't satisfied, she's convinced that Europe is "doing better."
Criminal migrants make way to Europe. © Abreu Report

And there I was, a random tourist walking around Kos when I hear a Dominican voice shout "primo!" I had even forgotten her name, I hadn't seen her in over a decade, but we were able to quickly catch up. 

As soon as Russia gave Dominicans visa-free entry into the Russian Federation, Dominican citizens used the opportunity to fly to Moscow, and from there to Turkey, where Dominicans are also allowed visa-free entry.

From Turkey the Italian-Dominican mafia provides old Italian documents for a fee of a few thousand euros. Italian IDs are basically old, crumpled pieces of paper and my cousin wouldn't stand out anywhere in Southern Italy, with her tanned skin, green eyes, and flowing brown hair; it was easy for her to board a ferry from Kos to Greece.

Maria is now settled in Europe, and it's going to be pretty much impossible to get her out. 

I didn't write this article because I need hits from the European far-right, this is the biggest Dominican-owned English website. The truth is that refugees who are really desperate and fleeing war and have lost everything generally can't afford plane tickets around the world and fake Italian documents: it is the most cunning that make it to Europe. 

Closing up the borders didn't fully seal them, it only increased the price of crossing, meaning that only the very lucky, extremely wealthy or criminally-connected will now come to Europe. 

*Names and exact details have been changed to protect sources.