Following statements by the Haitian Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Idalbert Pierre-Jean, who said he had received complaints from Haitian citizens in the Santiago de los Caballeros region who had been deported, including students in good standing, without the Dominican authorities gave them time to identify themselves, Lieutenant-General Rubén Darío Paulino Sem, the Minister of Defense, had to react.
The Minister Paulino Sem, assured that the arrests of Haitians and other foreigners in an irregular migration situation by the Dominican Army were in accordance with a 1999 procedure of the Directorate General of Immigration and that he had received no reports concerning arrests not in accordance with this procedure.
He categorically denied that Haitians with documents and in a regular situation were handed over to the General Directorate of Immigration for deportation as affirmed by the Ambassador of Haiti. He pointed out that the army was supporting the Directorate General of Immigration by arresting foreigners and that the immigration authorities were responsible for the repatriations. Adding that the army “only does its duty” by ensuring the protection of Dominican land, sea and air borders.
Questioned by journalists, he was not able (or unwilling) to give the number of soldiers deployed along the border, nor the number of Haitians repatriated.
Various observers estimate that this massive repatriation may have already affected between 5,000 and 10,000 Haitians in the last 7 days… Note that the migratory control measures continue throughout the Dominican territory.