Haitians returned to Haiti from the Dominican Republic on Monday and said they had been mistreated by the Dominican government while in the United States, raising concerns the same unrest could return soon.
Nearly 1,000 Haitian-Americans took an eight-day bus trip to Puerto Plata, Santo Domingo, to lobby the Dominican government to return the Dominican Haitians — many of whom said they were detained by police, handcuffed and beaten on the border.
Haitians were granted temporary protected status in 2001 after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the island nation. Dominican authorities say the Haitians were allowed to return but have now been deported.
“We are keeping the pressure on to get the government to listen to us,” said the Rev. Thomas Cangemi, a leader of the group that accompanied the Haitians. “They are abusing us. We are left with no other choice.”
A human rights activist in Santo Domingo told The Washington Post that he had seen a woman who had been beaten by police. This week the Haitian-American group also organized a peaceful demonstration in Puerto Plata.