Friday, June 21, 2013

Two Videos on the Plight of Haitian Immigrants in the Dominican Republic

On Thursday, we posted a guest piece by Hank Bruce and Tomi Jill Folk related to the impact of deforestation on Haiti.  Deforestation is one of the factors affecting the Haitian population.  A broken economy, a major earthquake in 2010, and hurricanes have made life even more difficult for the Haitian population. To escape those conditions, many Haitians emigrate. The journey to the US is difficult because they must cross a treacherous stretch of water to try to reach Florida or Puerto Rico.

The other option is crossing into the neighboring Dominican Republic to take jobs in sugarcane fields or to work in other menial jobs. The life of a Haitian immigrant in the Dominican Republic is no picnic.  Here are a couple of videos, one from Catholic Relief Services and the other from UNESCO, about the types of challenges that Haitians face in their neighboring country.

Haitian Cane Workers from David Rochkind on Vimeo.

CRS: Driven by high unemployment at home, tens of thousands of Haitians cross the border into the Dominican Republic each year to look for work in the sugarcane industry. There, living and working conditions are often dismal. Laborers put in an average of 12 hours per day, but their employers often cheat them out of pay, deny them benefits or fire them without cause.

UNESCO: Haitian migrants toil under the hot sun on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic. But the majority of them are stateless; even those who are born here, have neither a Haitian nor Dominican passport. Now the UN Refugee Agency and a local non-governmental organization are helping undocumented Haitians become legal citizens.

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