IMMIGRATION VIA PUERTO RICO

ACROSS PUERTO RICO BORDERS: 

A CARIBBEAN SMUGGLING EXPRESSWAY

PUBLIC DOMAIN/ US GOVERNMENT
MONA PASSAGE   /   CANAL DE LA MONA
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.






The immigration arriving from the Caribbean into Puerto Rico in transit to continental U.S., has some very peculiar characteristics. A recent immigration pattern finds Cubans and Haitians migrating into the Dominican Republic as a stepping stone to Puerto Rico, and is eventually headed to the U.S. (for the most part). Migrants pay traffickers up to $6000 to be smuggled into Puerto Rico, and usually the Caribbean island is only a stop on the route to U.S. mainland. For once migrants are in this Caribbean island, they can travel to any U.S. destination freely. The human traffic bring Dominicans, Haitian, and Cubans into Puerto Rico from across the waters of the Mona Channel, navigating extremely fragile boats or “YOLAS”. The Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, is the place where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet. It is located south to the Puerto Rico Trench, the deepest point in the Atlantic Ocean.The currents are extremely dangerous, waves average over 12 feet high all year around, and the sea is infested by sharks.
Some observations about this migration phenomena:


> Haitians who migrate to Dominican Republic are victims of racist stereotyping. They are subjected to all kinds of racial discrimination, suffer housing and education discrimination, and are mostly employed in low-income jobs. Meanwhile, they try to assimilate Dominican looks and customs, hoping to pass as Dominicans. Dominicans who migrate to Puerto Rico  are subjected to all kinds of  racist stereotyping, suffer housing and education discrimination, and are mostly employed in low-income jobs. Meanwhile, they try to assimilate Puertorican looks and customs, hoping to pass as Puertoricans. Unskilled Puertoricans who migrate to the U.S. are subjected to all kinds of  racist stereotyping, suffer housing and education discrimination, and are mostly employed in low-income jobs.  
It appears that Dominicans are perceived in Puerto Rico in a very similar manner to the way Haitians are viewed in the Dominican Republic and ultimately how Puerto Ricans themselves are viewed in the United States. 

> The Mona Passage is one of the main sea routes leading to the Panama Canal, and it is by no means a serene waterway. The passage, 80 miles wide, is where two major bodies of water meet and their currents collide. Waves average over 12 feet all year around. Sharks populate the waters. Navigating without instruments in this channel can cause boats to get lost. The frightening seas and terrifying waves can make people lose their reason quickly. Many die from starvation or dehydration, and many fall into the water. Some survivors have reportedly had to resort to cannibalism, so often dead bodies are not discarded but kept on-board.

> It is not known -maybe we’ll never know - how many people have perished crossing the passage. A few years ago, 500 people perished in a single instance, leaving the Dominican Republic.

> It has been reported that around a town like Nagua on the Dominican Republic east coast, you’ll find the smuggling activity is pretty open, and town people are generally aware of departure schedules.

> If caught, a Dominican migrant is returned to his country and does not face charges from either country. Traffickers caught by the authorities in Puerto Rico do face charges and jail time. 

> Immigrating through the Mona Passage is so risky, the unwritten rule is do not travel with relatives nor friends. The extreme situation out there can be so severe that there will be no mercy among passengers in order to survive.

> Smuggling is very much a business run by criminal organizations, and traffickers survive by acting accordingly. These are reputed to be extremely dangerous folks, who may make this suicidal voyage a few times a week. Smugglers are the final authority out in the seas.  First person accounts by survivors say these fragile boats are overloaded with migrants, in order to maximize profits. The yolas tend to travel without lights or navigation devices, in order not to attract attention. Passengers may be thrown aboard by traffickers, or may be forced to jump off boats in danger of capsizing. Menstruating women have been thrown overboard for fear of attracting sharks. Upon arrival to Puerto Rico coasts, traffickers prefer to drop passengers and have them swim into the island’s beaches. 

> The number of Dominican illegal immigrants residing in Puerto Rico is not known. It is known that in a period of three decades, Dominicans nationals have grown to be the largest immigrant group. The 2010 census estimated Dominicans nationals account for of almost 2% of the island’s population. San Juan, Puerto Rico now has the second largest number of migrant Dominicans after New York City.

> The number of Haitian illegal immigrants residing in Dominican Republic is not known.  Some sources estimate a figure of around a million. The anti-Haitian migrant sentiment in the Dominican Republic is not only racist, it is also a nationalistic sentiment. To sympathize with the plight of Haitians can be considered anti-Dominican. Black Dominicans do not think of themselves as blacks, and make a strong distinction between Haitian and themselves. Therefore, there have been waves of Haitian mass expulsions, and today it is common to deport people rounded up by the color of their skin according to human rights groups. 

> Puerto Rico is a territory of the U.S., and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has no jurisdiction over immigration matters. waters are patrolled by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Border Patrol. Relations with the Dominican Republic government are conducted by the U.S. government, without Puertorican representation.

> Since Dominicans in Puerto Rico are mostly in transit and do not intend to stay, and possibly because of the discrimination they endure, they tend not to develop social-cultural-political roots. Their influence in popular music is huge, however.

7 comments:

  1. POROUS "border": armed Cubans cigarette boat into Key West, search for someone to surrender to; Bahamian mule-smugglers cigarette boat into Islamorada, steal another boat to pickup illegals overnight,Then RETURN the next morning into Little Duck Key during the 7-Mile Bridege Run as the INS chief running in the race arrives to their illegal entry under His NOSE! Any terrorists desiring to light a cigarette boat filled with explosives beneath the runner-crowded bridge could have done the same! Helluva JOB, Border Patrol and USCG!

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  2. Apparently this blog entry is as full of half-truths as your profile absent of any clues as to who you really are (but which makes your motives very clear, second-generation US-born ethnic Haitian perhaps?). The internet may be a blank canvas for anything and anyone, but please don't insult the intelligence -or exploit the unawareness- of your readers. Educate yourself first with FACTS; and as you do it, use reputable sources, too.
    So here are the FACTS: There are WAY over 1.5 million Haitians in the Dominican Republic, most of them residing illegally; they take advantage of a long porous border and lax controls, for the most part. The influx of illegal Haitian migrants has managed to sink and freeze wages in certain low-skilled occupations, thus creating a dragging effect on salaries overall; they do not generate new jobs, increase any form of tax collection, or promote growth benefiting the general population, only managing to further enrich the bottom line of those very few who employ them -or exploit them, depending on one's point of view-. The flow of illegal Haitians in the DR strains even more already stretched public hospitals and a many other government services. It is perhaps the worst form of immigration -a reductive one-, one that only takes and never gives. No wonder the poorest Dominicans still see illegal immigration as a way out from a country where the job market is besieged and stagnated by foreigners. BUT don't take my word for all of the above, there are formal studies and research who already pointed these FACTS for all to see.







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    1. Anonymus must be Dominican with all that anti haitian retoric. In no way did this article not state the facts or half truths aappearantly there is a palpable hatred for Haitians since the reign of Trujillo and if the "FACT" that you stated rationalise why its ok to treat people as sub human something is wrong.

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  3. Additionally, As for your remarks on racism, discrimination, and some veiled suggestions of "self-hate", let's look at the REAL evidence. If the intolerant, unwelcoming atmosphere you describe did exist in a developing country like the DR, then the illegal masses of Haitians roaming freely in cities and towns in huge -and I mean HUGE numbers-, would simply not be there, or would fight any efforts for deportation. PERIOD. And please, do also apply a dose of reality on the thousands of Haitian college students and graduates who are infiltrating the Dominican job market, creating further tensions there.
    Haitians DO NOT want, nor would, want to "pass" as Dominicans. Haitians DO NOT make efforts to integrate -as the numerous conflict with locals wherever they try to settle demonstrates-. Haitian history -which they tend to glorify only when convenient- reveals well over of half-a-century of invasions, mass murder, pillage, a costly/bloody fight for freedom, and overall ethnic cleansing measures of Haitians upon Dominicans and their ancestors, including a grueling 22-year-long occupation that is very well-ingrained and remembered in Dominicans' collective memory. Only when the tables have turned on Haitians as a result of their self-inflicted social and economic failures, they play "victim cards" for all to see.

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    1. Are you retarded? I'm not even Haitian but have read enough about the reign of Trullijo to know that that alone renders the other crap you read as completely idiotic. The bottom line is the conquerors did their job. You cannot corrupt and distroy people that rally together to fight against the oppressor. Dominicans are too caught up in wishing they were from Spain like the people who conquered and brainwashed them.

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  4. Finally, Dominicans know well what others simply do not care about, particularly the fact that hate toward Dominicans is actively promoted in schools, social and intellectual circles in and outside of Haiti, plus a vision of a pan-island Haitian nation where the Dominican Republic would eventually be dissolved. You reap what you sow, I guess. Don't ask for respect and tolerance, when you are unable to give any.
    Yes, it's an ethnic "thing". It is an ethnic "thing", for survival and self-preservation.
    Of all your claims, the ones that I find most disturbing ones, are the ones on race. If Haitians have had a perpetual black-versus-mulatto social conflict -95% of population versus the rest-, the same does not apply in the DR. The DR is mostly mulatto, 17% white, and has a 10% of black nationals; those Dominican blacks ARE VERY clear about who they are, Dominican above all, and do not sell out to other agendas or tolerate being called "Haitian". They are not, pure and simple. Dominicans know who they are, because if they didn't, they would have been wiped out as a people a long time ago.
    I'd suggest you scour the news and discover now that, if not the majority already, many of the illegal immigrants crossing the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico are in fact, HAITIAN nationals. Knock yourself out!

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