One cannot talk about the DR without addressing the proverbial elephant in the room, the situation with the Haitians. Now a good number of people from foreign countries who are of course, looking from the outside in have labeled the Dominican Republic as prejudiced and inhuman for the way they have treated Haitians. Allow me to clarify the matter.
First of all, what the Dominican government implemented was not a measure against the Haitian population, but an immigration reform that affected foreign nationals of ALL nationalities. The Haitian population seemed more affected because as a whole there are more Haitians in the DR then foreigners of other nationalities. Combined with the fact that Haiti is a third world country in dire economic straits, this group received more attention than the rest. However, the immigration reform was meant to regulate the status of all foreigners on Dominican soil and quite a few national groups were affected.
For years the Dominican Republic was very lax about enforcing immigration laws which lead to a large number of illegals in the country who would reside for years, set up businesses, purchase properties and in many cases become involved in illicit practices without being tracked by the government. This tendency unchecked lead to situations that forced the government to take serious measures. One of the measures was to tighten the grip on foreigners by requiring those who wished to remain in the country obtain residency, thereby creating a legal fingerprint that would allow the government to track down those who were involved in wrongdoing. A good number of foreigners, not of Haitian origin were deported for their practices and unwillingness to follow suit. The immigration reform has contributed to stabilizing the Dominican Republic and creating an environment that foreign investors and retirees feel safer in. After all, who would feel comfortable living and investing in a country that has no rules, where everything goes?
The other reason why the immigration reform was necessary is a matter of simple logic. The Dominican Republic is in the process of fortifying its own social and economic infrastructure. With so much being done in this country, the government is in no position to take on the problems of any other country, including Haiti. Simply said you cannot worry about your neighbor’s backyard if your own house is not in order. This being said, the Dominican Republic has been the country that has done the most to help its Haitian neighbors. The National Regularization Plan is one example. A two year grace period was provided to all foreigners that were already on Dominican soil to regulate their status without the need to leave the country in order to avoid deportations when the immigration reform was put into full force. Over 250,000 foreigners were able to regulate their status due to this grace period.
Bottom line you can’t blame a country for doing what is necessary in order to ensure the stability of its people.
Here is a question, why doesn’t the Haitian government take the same measures?