South Florida's Haitian Community Reacts to Deportation Threat in D.R.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are facing expulsion from the Dominican Republic. Wednesday was the deadline for undocumented migrants to obtain legal status, and that means thousands of migrant workers are in limbo and hoping to be allowed to stay.

This is just the latest in a series of actions by the Dominican Republic government that has cast a light on the country’s long-troubled relationship with its Haitian neighbors.

For decades, thousands of Haitians fled to the Dominican Republic for a better life.

Now, even their children must prove they were born in the D.R. for a chance to stay in the only country they've ever known. The uncertainty is clear among the Haitian community here in South Florida.

It's all over Haitian-American radio in Miami in English, Creole and French. Callers were showing disappointment and disgust with the laws in the Dominican Republic that would force hundreds of thousands of people, many of them Haitian, out of the D.R.

"The way we're being treated in Santo Domingo now is despicable," said Herntz Phamord, who is a radio host at 1580 AM.

Wednesday night was the deadline for undocumented immigrants to apply for legal status.

Cell phone video showed hundreds there running to try and register on time. The Dominican government claims is it offering people a path to legal status but critics say it's designed to fail Haitians.

"We are basically brothers and to be treated that way is ready upsetting to most Haitians. That's what most people have been calling to complain about," Phamord said.

Reports out of Santo Domingo say some have waited in line for two weeks and still haven't been able to get the documents they need.

Human rights groups have asked the government to stall plans to deport those who miss the deadline. So far the country's foreign relations leader says there will be no mass roundups to deport people but Phamord says friends in the D.R. tell him the government is ready to move people out.

"The D.R. got 36 big buses to bus people out of the D.R. in the coming days. The natural instinct of the D.R. is to send everybody back home," he said.

According to the Dominican government more than 200,000 undocumented migrants have registered in the D.R. but at least that many others will not meet the deadline.

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