(CNN) – Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Dominican Republic — the vast majority Haitians — face deportation as a deadline to apply for legal status looms.
The problem of what to do with thousands of workers who entered illegally from a neighboring country is not an unfamiliar one in the hemisphere. The plight of undocumented immigrants in the United States and lawmakers’ failed attempts at reform come to mind.
The Dominican government tackled the issue with a “regularization plan” that offered a path to legal status for the undocumented. But critics say it was designed to fail the migrant workers.
Wednesday is the deadline for undocumented immigrants in the Dominican Republic to register under the regularization plan or face deportation.
“Those who do not have documentation will have to return to their country,” Dominican Foreign Minister Andres Navarro said.
According to the government, more than 200,000 undocumented immigrants living in the Dominican Republic have registered, but at least that many others will not meet the deadline.