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DomRep resumes deportations of Haitian migrants

A group of Haitian migrants sit handcuffed to each after detained by immigration officials in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Thursday Jan. 13, 2011. Authorities resumed mass deportations of Haitian migrants Thursday after a brief lull, and government officers began demanding passports at bus stations as the country deals with a cholera scare. A group of Haitian migrants sit handcuffed to each after detained by immigration officials in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Thursday Jan. 13, 2011. Authorities resumed mass deportations of Haitian migrants Thursday after a brief lull, and government officers began demanding passports at bus stations as the country deals with a cholera scare. (AP Photo/Manuel Diaz)
By Ezequiel Abiu Lopez
Associated Press / January 13, 2011

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic—Authorities resumed mass deportations of Haitian migrants Thursday after a brief lull, and government officers began demanding passports at bus stations as the country deals with a cholera scare.

Immigration agents in the capital of Santo Domingo targeted buses arriving from other cities, fining at least 30 drivers for allowing illegal migrants aboard.

Advocates for migrants accused officials of targeting people with darker skin and of sending teenagers across the border into Haiti by themselves. At least 900 Haitians were deported last week.

"They tie their hands to the hands of others. It's humiliating," said Sonia Pierre, director for the Dominican-Haitian Women Movement. "They send them off without anything, without money, and their communication is cut off."

She also said some people who were born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents had been wrongly deported because they didn't have documents with them.

Migration Director Sigfrido Pared said agents are targeting only migrants arriving in the Dominican Republic for the first time, not those who already live here.

Pierre disputed that, saying she had heard testimony showing otherwise.

Government officials said the deportations are needed to control the spread of cholera, which has sickened 162 people in the Dominican Republic while it has killed more than 3,600 in Haiti. No deaths have been reported in the Dominican Republic.

The deportations were temporarily halted over the weekend and during a holiday in accordance with a 1999 protocol with neighboring Haiti. They also were stopped Wednesday out of respect for the one-year anniversary of Haiti's earthquake that killed a government-estimated 316,000 people.

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